Nostalgia or something like that

It’s the day before the 1st of December.
Tomorrow the kids get their advent calendars (the German kind with chocolates behind each window, of course).
I almost bought a box of Xmas crackers this morning. I was supposed to be buying photo frames for the kids’ new school photos (surprisingly cute and natural of both of them) and all that shiny, glittering foil paper, those mysterious cylinders with their concealed explosive charges, distracted me and I came home with the wrong sized frames.
In the last few weeks I have bought chocolate oranges, Quality Street assorted candies and a carton of English shortbread.
Then this afternoon I lugged down the small fake tree from the attic. Displaying amazing strength of will, however, I will not be decorating it until tomorrow. Partly because you have to wait until December (it’s a rule) and also because both children will be at school so I can decorate it the way I’d like to. So that there are ornaments all the way around not just in one tiny area. Because, it’s in a window and I don’t want people who are cutting across my lawn or scoping the house out in the middle of the night to have to look at bare patches where there are no decorations. It’s just a thing with me.
For many years all we had was the fake tree. I hate the sight of all those dried up trees with wisps of tinsel clinging to their poor dessicated limbs and sometimes the stray shiny red or green ball, lying in piles out on the street on January 1st waiting for the garbage truck. They make me weep.
But this year we are having a live tree as well. My helpful Canadian friend looked at me very strangely when I said I was going to buy it because apparently people don’t do that here. Instead they trek into the woods with a sharp axe, like real men, and steal one. We are hoping to borrow their axe. I might have my husband do the hacking part because I am a vegetarian, however it is guaranteed that he will fall in love with the most Charley Brownish tree in the whole entire wood, and that will not be the one we get because for once we have room for a big one.

*So NOT this*

The great thing about having kids is that they give me an excuse to buy Xmas crackers and gingerbread house kits, and hang tinsel, and a reason to make cookies, cakes and mince pies.
I don’t even like mince pies or fruitcake or plum pudding but I find myself hankering for them at this time of year. I may force down a mince pie because no one else in my family will eat one (and after all that prep work I’ll have to bestow them on some ungrateful neighbor probably). So why you ask, why bother making them at all?
Because my sister 4 hours ahead and sitting in her comfy living room in England will be eating one, doused in triple cream or clotted cream or something thick and British. And so too will my mother probably, also sitting in her living room or at my Grandmother’s farmhouse in Oxfordshire. And at midnight we can all raise our glasses of flaming brandy and toast one another.
I’m a little peeved that they are already having snow because we haven’t had any yet. This is the extra edge of being 4 hours ahead of the Maritimes. Nothing makes me feel more Holidayish than fresh snow.
So the pies and puddings will have to do.
(Nothing says celebrate more than a dessert set alight with lots of booze, right?)
It makes me feel closer to the rest of the family if I am wolfing down the foods of their country. We can pretend we are sharing the same experience and not so very far away from each other after all.

2 thoughts on “Nostalgia or something like that

  1. I love Christmas. Everything from the decorations to the smells to the happy mood it invokes in people.

    I hope you have a fab festive season, Jo. 2011 is going to be a big year!

  2. Thanks Donna,
    Same to you! I think you're right about 2011.
    This town is xmassy in the best way. Sort of filled with childlike wonder, lots of decorations and people thinking of other people less fortunate than themselves. It does make me very happy.

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