Each year I cannot wait to put up my scraggly old Christmas tree. I then drape it with bits and pieces that I have collected over the years. Ornaments made by my children when they were little, a red tartan ball made by my mother, an African beaded star, a wooden angel and other sentimental trinkets.
Then I wrap the lights around the tree. At night, when the children have gone to bed, I turn off all the house lights and just watch as the Christmas lights transform my lounge into a sparkling rainbow fairy land. And for a short while I feel like a child again, where magic was real, and anything was possible.
My children are almost grown up and I realize that one day they will not be here. They will be busy with their own families and children. I wanted to make sure that each year they would always say “Let’s do Christmas at Mom’s”. So I made a change for the future. I told them that they could invite all their friends over to our house for Boxing Day.
And so they did. My tiny house was bursting at the seams with young people. The music was loud, the laughter even louder and everywhere I looked, there were vibrant, beautiful angels adorning every corner of my house. They out-twinkled the Christmas lights.
Another change I made was for Christmas Day lunch itself. I wanted to fill the day with special people. So I invited those that were not away or had other plans already. It was a lot quieter than my children’s day, but the laughter was just as loud.
What was truly magical about the day is the real connections that were made by both old and new friends. The conversation never faltered. It flowed from discussions about movies and books, to challenges we have dealt with, to facing up and accepting our dark side.
It was real, vulnerable and honest. You gain a new respect and admiration for people when you discover what they have gone through and how they have dealt with it.
By midnight I was exhausted and left them to it. They had no intention of leaving any time soon. As I fell asleep I had a smile on my face. My house was full.
It must have been a good conversation because they only left around 3.30 am.
Next year I am going wrap all four of them up with a big red bow, and give myself the best Christmas present ever, again.