I have decided that shopping bags are absolutely FINE for transporting presents about for friends. After a nudge from my artistic sister, who suggested that Hello? Let's be a little more classy here and get some Christmas gift bags, I thought I might just go and see if any were on sale. That was until I looked out the door, and saw the amount of ice on the car and then I turned round, put the slippers back on and decided that too bad, the Tesco bags will do fine for delivery. It is not as if the parcels are not wrapped up! This plan may well change if the ice melts. I just took another look at the bags. Hmmm.
Yesterday's movies, by the way, were Santa Who? and I Saw Mummy Kissing Santa Claus. We are reaching new heights around here, and I love them all. Perfect accompaniment to the Tesco/Christmas Bag Dilemma.
It is a beautiful day here - sun and snow and blue skies and ice. Did I mention the ice? And I remembered that I need to make ice cream. This is getting to ridiculous proportions, you know. There is something about being in your own home at Christmas, and all the traditions from years gone by surface, and even if there is no great crowd to cater for, I feel the need (note that word) to re-create times gone by. And feed the 40, 000.
Thankfully, the mountain of cookies has diminished now that I have wrapped the gifts. They are packaged in cellophane bags with ribbons and bows, and we are in no danger of o-ding on biscuits any longer.
But back to the need to re-create things. It is in the bones. The heart. The genes. Whatever. We make new traditions over the years, but there is something about making Moregranny's gingerbread, baking the custies my babes grew up loving, Mum's home-made ice cream, and stuffing.... the scents and smells which are so familiar and trigger so many memories.....
Do you do this? Glynis and I were talking about the little knitted Father Christmasses which her aunt made. The thought of her family having a Christmas without them in place on the dresser is inconceivable. My kids notice things, even though they are adults now. Where is the Father Christmas face which sings Jingle Bells when you pull the cord? It is where it has been since Andrew was born - on the wall near the front door. Of course it is.
And dear old Kenny will be singing O Holy Night as we open our presents on Christmas morning. This is a standing joke in my family. I bought his Christmas LP (remember those days???) years ago because it was the only version of O Holy Night that I liked. Not a choral performance, but a man singing. And from the year dot, he has sung for us as we opened the presents. There was one year when SOMEONE in this family hid Kenny from sight, and Christmas morning suddenly developed a Dark Side. He was not the children's favourite. Especially when they were teenagers. But a couple of years ago, Diana found the old Christmas album on CD! Kenny had moved into the 21Century! So all is now back to normal, and Kenny will be in fine voice for Friday.
Traditions. Now, the kids grin as the music starts, instead of the moans, and all is well in the world. Memories, you see. Loads and loads of wonderful memories. On the subject of O Holy Night - it was voted the UK's favourite carol last week, and that surprised many. Not me. It has been my favourite carol for a very long time.
Christmas Eve in the village means the carol service down in the Square. Thousands of people walk down to the Square in the evening, to sing carols out in the open air, all wrapped up and warm. It is a wonderful tradition. The roads are closed off, and everyone goes. For some, it is the only time they will have the opportunity to sing carols. They may not go to church, but they do go to carols.
And which ever way you look at that, it is a reminder to everyone that Christmas is about the birth of a Baby. A Baby who was born to change the world. To save the world. The greatest gift ever given. How do we even begin to say thank you??