When I was young I didn’t really understand what Christmas was about – like just gimme presents and bake all the yummies. As I got older I began to understand it as a religious ceremony about some baby that I didn’t believe in and those nice tunes I hummed along to actually had so many hidden depths that I just didn’t see before.. Which made me feel uncomfortable about their intent. As I got even older I realised that actually – lots of people don’t really believe in the religious element of christmas anymore and that really upsets some of the people who do. I also began to realise that lots of people believe in some other equally strange religious stories and this whole concept of christmas, santa and donkeys is very Western and highly debated. The ‘magic’ of christmas was kind of lost in those years and that ‘gimme presents’ attitude became more and more transparent as I began to understand presents cost money – money my family doesn’t have to spare just because it’s December. While my parents did their best to hide the struggles that Christmas left in it’s wake and my brother and I always had piles to open and baking to do – it just wasn’t the same and the reality of growing up for me meant the magic of that Israeli light was lost.
I see so many posts from my peers on social media about how christmas is terrible as an adult and to some degree I absolutely agree – christmas can be really terrible as an adult. Nobody prepares you for that transition of innocent beliefs in impossible magic to the harsh reality of consumption, cost, expectations and even obligations.
A few years ago I said to my husband “I don’t know what Christmas is for” and he told me that waaaaay back when people figured out that Christmas day is actually the point in the year where the nights become shorter and the days become longer again. The longest night passes. So essentially it was originally a winter feast to celebrate the coming of light.. Which then got all mixed up with Christianity and misinterpreted. Yes, my husband does know like everything!
From that moment on we started to celebrate christmas as a non-religious winter feast to celebrate the coming light. Gradually over the last two – three years I have utterly fallen in love with the way we do Christmas and the meaning and magic of Christmas has been restored to me. In fact the Christmas times I share with my husband now are more heart warming and magic than when I was a child.. And it has nothing to do with the presents!
Perhaps because when I look at the Christmas’s we create together, I see us reflected back to me – never more than this year in particular as our extravagant woodland theme has the perfect setting in our ancient french farm house! Every year we buy a few more foresty friend decorations to add to our evergreens to celebrate the cold seasons and gradually we have built up a magnificently magical scene of autumn and winter. Complimented this year by the festive glow of our roaring wood burner and rustic living room!
Something about me just likes to create and I LOVE to take ordinary things and make them superdooper toes wrigglingly magical for people. Of course I like commissioned work because I get money and that’s always a bonus – but nothing compares to the satisfaction of making somebody something for the sheer love of doing it for them. Christmas has become the perfect excuse for my eccentricities to get into full swing and this year I excelled myself! Every year I make an advent calendar for my partner (although before it has always had to be something that I can post to arrive in time for December 1st) – this years theme is trains and with no size or weight restrictions I went all out! (No idea how I’m going to trump that next year – eek!) Naturally my advent train is the Hogwarts Express! ((Because what else would it be?!)) My partner is actually a transport genius – aeroplanes, rockets, boats, trains – his done it all and he thrives in the details so pressure was on to make his as detailed as I could with a bunch of wood, glue and acrylic paint! I’m really chuffed with the result and to carry on the train theme I sewed him LNER santa sacks based on the royal mail letter sacks carried by the traveling post office back in the steam era. They even have a 34A plaque on them which is the Kings Cross shed number!
Jumping back to my previous sewing post – I’m a total novice to sewing and literally only picked it up a few months ago to see what I could do. I love my Hogwarts santa sack so much and actually made it non-christmas specific so I can use it as a laundry bag for the rest of the year! While my beau loves trains, I’m all about the magic for magics sake – so it’s pretty much potter mania underneath my tree! All stockings, advent trains, santa sacks and wand decorations in this blog are made by me! (Cause I’m modest like that!)
Whatever Christmas means to you – I hope it is a magical one!