When I was a little girl, Christmas was a magical time. My favorite holiday of the year. My sister Tarnia, my brother Mark and me would hang pillow cases over our mantle that we’d decorated and covered with messages to Santa....hoping that the jolly old man would cram them full with what we’d wished for.
Mum was always the matriarch, waking early, tying her frilly apron on, ready to shove the fat turkey in the oven…..usually with a glass of bubbling champagne on the edge of the counter. And by mid afternoon we’d play with our new gifts and stuff ourselves with the turkey, then finish off with some delicious Christmas pudding my Nanna always made. It was tradition!
My beautiful Mum and Dad on Christmas day many moons ago.....I have some great memories.................................
As a kid, Nanna’s Christmas pudding's were always extra special because they were filled with pieces of silver…old fashioned Australian coins like sixpence’s that we’d exchange for modern currency. The pudding was always the best part…..blended with Nanna’s love and plump sherry soaked raisins, dried apricots, cherries and sultanas. How I loved her pudding!
However Christmas these days is different….and like Nanna’s pudding that was mixed and infiltrated with different flavors, my Christmas has assorted emotions….happiness and sadness, unpredictable moments…..and unique ones. It’s intoxicating and exhausting, loving, comforting and confronting. However, I am eternally thankful for all that I have that I can’t wrap up….like love and laughter……yet, I will always feel a squeeze of pain that those I’ve lost won’t be sharing our Christmas feast and hugs.
Christmas with a child missing will forever be different…..and I know I’m not the only one who will miss their beloved ones who have died this Christmas day.
Savannah on her first Christmas, my sister Tarnia gave her the reindeer antlers...Beautiful!
Yes, the special meaning Christmas day once had is a bit tarnished, but it still manages to sparkle and feed my spirit….how can it not?
Down the main street of our little town, Christmas Carols have been softly piped through speakers along the footpath. The first time I heard Silent Night I had to blink back tears….the effect peaceful and reflective.
And watching Dempsey blissfully decorate our tree nourished my soul. She carefully hung a beautiful bejeweled ‘S’ for her sister, kissed it and found a special spot on the branches. “That’s for you Savannah!” She said with a smile!
Demps dressing our tree last week.......................
I bet we have different decorations to our other friends….and I’m okay with that now. We honor those we’ve lost on our tree with photos, angels and a symbolic four letter word “HOPE”…my favorite! All of these mementos bring me comfort that I’m doing something to honor those I love who aren’t here. They boost my spirit with sweetness, like the candy coated canes hanging beside them on our tree! It is gratifying that at least I can do something……..
Some photo decorations my cousin Heather gave me of her son Paul and dear Aunty Ercie who both aren't with us anymore.
There are other things we do in our house and if you are searching for ideas that will bring you a small slice of peace, here are some; clink your glasses and toast in cheers to those who are missing, reminisce and tell a funny story about your loved ones. Light a symbolic candle in remembrance. Buy a gift for another child that needs one. Volunteer at a shelter or for a friend who may be going through a hard time and may need some help this time of year. Place something of your child’s under the tree, like we do with Savannah’s teddy bear.
Savannah's Pink Teddy bear lays under the tree........
And the most important one for me is to make a conscious effort to grab the good out of the day, to enjoy, to be present, to be appreciative and outspoken about my love for those important in my life. I’ll notice the small moments that are rewards and reminders to appreciate the things that can’t be wrapped and placed under the tree…..like hope, happiness, health and the joy on the little one’s faces as they rip open their gifts, innocent and lost in the magic of Christmas.
Dempsey's letter to Santa this year....made me smile and is a reminder to enjoy and treasure some special things that money can't buy..........................