Having just come back from the second school Christmas concert in as many evenings, I thought it was about time that I acknowledge it is that time of the year. Like the energy sapping heat that has come up on us, so has Christmas.
I am big on traditions. Most of the time I tell the kids that our rituals have been passed on from generation to generation and woe betide anyone if they are not carried out to the letter, but they are either ones I have made up or some variation on those I had as a child.
One such, of course, is the Christmas tree. And it has to go up on the 1st of December, come what may. Except it went up the 2nd of December this year as that’s when the kids got back from their dad’s. I can’t get hung up on the rigidity of traditions. So it went up as close to the first as possible, despite crushing humidity, sweaty faces, broken airconditioning and a very cranky mama.
Over the past 3 years the collection of handmade Christmas decorations brought home from kindy, etc has grown. Usually, I sort them into three piles: for the tree, family Christmas presents, and ‘filing’ (aka as the bin – how many pages of heavy green texta does one need?).
Apart from a few shop bought ones – just to polish the look – the majority of our decorations reflect the different stages of the kids’ artistry and creativity, and a special tradition invented last year was to go to the craft shop and select an ornament project to make, colour, glue.
These traditions are important in providing continuity for the kids. As I was putting up the tree, I mused to my daughter that this was the second year that we didn’t have to put the playpen around the tree to protect the bottom layers of lights from being mauled by destructive toddlers, and also the sixth year I had put up the tree. This is also the sixth home that it had lived in. And hopefully the last for quite a while.
Spending Christmas in a different place each year is not quite the thrill it once was. In my 20s I spent Christmas in Kathmandu, Dhaka, Bangkok, Casablanca, Canberra, Melbourne, Perth x 2, Warrnambool, and London. The only tradition was to be somewhere different each year, and to drunkenly phone my mother at 2 am no matter what time zone I was in.
While I loved travel for the experience of different cultures, it is having children which has taught me about interconnectedness.
I figure this photo from the concert tonight is blurry enough to protect everyone’s privacy.
So proud of my son for even getting on the stage in front of hundreds of parents, he is the one in the middle looking at me. This was the 4th concert I had seen on that stage.
And the first year of Christmas concerts at the local school. Santa has come early this year. This is what it is all about for them!