As I sit and write, Christmas tradition dictates listening to the wonderful Dylan Thomas and his “A Child’s Christmas in Wales”, not my usual version taped in a noisy pub in the early 50’s, but rather a clearer version, as in my cleaning and clearing, I seem to have misplaced my original version. I love this story, and Dylan Thomas’s wonderful voice. ‘Years and years ago, when I was a boy, when there were wolves in Wales, and birds the colour of red flannel petticoats whisked passed the harp shaped hills”, who else has such a wonderfully descriptive vision of a little boys imagination and memory. In another sentence he talks of ‘snow growing on the roofs’! If you’ve never had the pleasure of listening to this, do it. It is such a wonderful description of Christmas long ago! https://open.spotify.com/track/0omhMtNi2uB1RbLh8k36sf
At this time of year, more so than ever, I love traditions that we have started. And, even when my kids are elsewhere I continue with them, they wrap me up warmly, the memories of the boys whining ‘why’ to Dylan Thomas, until they really began to listen and enjoy.
Another tradition, reading ‘The Night before Christmas’ by Clement Clarke Moore. The boys would drag their duvet’s upstairs by the fire, we’d set up the sofa’s and turn out all the lights except one, which would be used to read. The snacks, whiskey for Santa (to keep him warm), and water for the reindeer, carrots and gluten free treats all on the hearth alongside the fire. The stockings waiting to be filled! The boys fought their sleepiness, willing themselves to stay awake, but failing miserably!! Sometimes if it had snowed, before settling, we would wander the neighbourhood, oohing and ahhing at the lights of decorated houses around us, when they were small I dragged them on a sled, great exercise in this hilly neighbourhood.
As we learned our new life together, the three of us developed new traditions and adapted from lessons learned. I learned early, that if I wanted to sleep into the morning, then Santa never gave Lego! The first Christmas, the three of us together I was awaken at 4:30 am to put together some complex form, never again. If Lego was on the list, I gave it, after breakfast.
Presents opened after a proper breakfast, alcohol free bubbly with freshly squeezed orange juice, fruit slices and bacon…. Table cleared, fire relit and Mom with her second cup of coffee, then presents, over in what seemed to be very few minutes, paper everywhere while Christmas carols played softly in the background.
The bookworm, a pet of Santas’ that stories always leaves out, always left a couple of books for each of us! And, so as the turkey cooked, the smell enveloping the house, we would settle and silence would prevail we each got stuck into a new book for a few hours…..
It isn’t the presents that we got, or didn’t get, it is the memories of those wonderful days, the scents that give me joy when my kids can’t make these holidays. And, the traditions of Dylan Thomas and Clement Clarke Moore remain part of my Christmas.
What are the traditions that you keep, whether you are with family, with new family or on your own to keep you warm? What have you read, seen, or heard that you would like to adopt as your own. Let me know what you do, or have decided to adopt….
In the meanwhile I wish you and your loved ones a Merry Christmas and wonderful 2020..a new year, a new decade with so much promise….