From the archives...

Christmas!

“The stockings were hung by the chimney with care…” (Clement Clark Moore)

The ghost of Christmas past came to visit me yesterday.  I suppose that old Dickens story has endured partly because the ghost of Christmas past is a little bit with all of us.  The priest celebrating the Mass we attended on Christmas even began his homily with stories of Christmases past and the human connections that make them real again on every Christmas after…

My Christmas ghost came with the stockings.

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I made these stockings (first three, and then later a fourth) when Miss G. was only six months old.  I cut up old sweaters and sewed them all together in a tribute to the stockings my own mother had made for us when I was little.  Here we are hanging one – the white one which was Bami’s – under the watchful eye of our fireplace reindeer…  (Look how young you are Mimi!  I am almost twice as old now as you were then…)  Can you see the stocking resemblance?

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It was so important to me as I started my own family to have some of the same special things that made Christmas feel like Christmas.  Those stockings meant the world to me.  They were made by my mother, and we hung them with great ceremony every year.  I was the recorder of which stocking belonged to which owner (mine was red, cowboy’s was green…)  – a job which has been taken up in our house by Miss G. with serious dedication and emphasis.  This struck me as ironic/hysterically funny late last night (Christmas Eve) when I stood in front our “new” family stockings and could not for any reason remember which one belonged to which family member.  When I was small it was so very important to me, as it is so very important to my little people now…  It is easy as a parent to see only with adult eyes and to forget the way things are for children.  We rush, we work, we worry, but they look and listen in every moment.  The colour of the stockings is important.  The way the stockings hang is important.  I didn’t need the ghost of Christmas past to tell me so, but it helped.

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(Stockings by Mimi…)

Just like Father Thompson reminded me in his homily, those moments of Christmas past give life to our present.  That little girl with the great sense of wonder and life is guiding me still in my quest to live and give each day with meaning.  I put this picture on my fridge to remind me:

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…but I could have chosen any of these other classic moments…

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Other memorable moments from Christmases past:

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…the xylophone I was completely enchanted with, tied for best gift ever with  the Mickey Mouse record player…

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until the year of the big wheel

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Each one of those distant Christmas memories lives a little bit still in the mother I have become and in the making of meaningful Christmas time traditions for my own small family.

(One of them seems to be a tradition of noisy merriment – this year’s Christmas gift theme turned out to be musical instruments… yikes!)

And so I work to remember what is important.  I work to see with the eyes of my own children and to look and listen in every moment.   When we hang our Christmas stockings I will know that they don’t need to be filled with gifts to be a wonderful present to us all.  What is important is that they are filled with the love and history of a family that sees the light in each other.  Starting with Bami, passed down to Mimi, passed on to me and in turn to Miss G. – we are carrying the Christmases past in us, we are hanging them up on display, and we are honouring the traditions that keep the connection from generation to generation…

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(Stocking by Bami…)

We wish you a Merry Christmas!

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3 thoughts on “Christmas!

  1. The ghost came to me as well while reading this post. In every picture you and I are wearing something made with love by Bami; you coats and sweaters, our nighties, your hand knit dress. You and I made our first stockings, we used stitch witchery. (recommended by Bami, we didn’t have a sewing machine) Everything Bami did at Christmas was from a memory of her childhood. I remember my hand made gifts, doll clothes ~no doll wardrobes, a hand made doll house from my dad filled with furniture, draperies and floor coverings.
    When you become like me, a woman of a certain age, making memories is the most important. Someday when you are as old as me now you will remember this blog post and like me will be trying to make the best memories you can for your grandchildren. It’s how we keep the love alive.

    Liked by 2 people

    • So many layers of remembering. One of Father Thompson’s “Christmas past” stories was of having his own dad as well as Father Swinkles and Father Newman (!) to sing carols in St.Edmunds late one Christmas Eve (1986?) – it was snowing and they opened all the doors to let the snow in or the music out… it is a time for remembering. What my kids are loving more than any other thing is the time we are spending with them…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Memories, Duck Eggs and Roosters | Mimi's Blog

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