If you could have seen our house at Christmas back in my teen years, Mum had very fixed ideas of what was tasteful and loved to decorate for the season. We had a six foot tall artificial white tree complete with fairy on top and lots of lights. Never tinsel, tinsel was frowned on in our house, as were paper chains. Instead we had shiny metal coloured lanterns that folded out and hung from drawing pins on our ceiling.
One year she decided to change them and instead set to to make her own. I am not sure where she got the large branches of a tree from, but I remember her spray painting them and adding glitter. These were then hung in the corners of our living room ceiling where she added big baubles hanging from the branch. To be fair they were unusual and beautiful. Things went slightly awry at the Christmas dinner table when Dad opened a bottle of fizz at just the right angle to send the cork straight through the glass baubles, covering the floor and some of the table with shards of bright coloured glass. Oh dear, I don’t think we drank the fizz, and the lunch went cold as we cleaned up the mess.
Our family traditions continued in our own adult homes, where we made new ones with our families. My very first Christmas as a newly wed in our house, well Mum and Dad came to dinner. I was nervous, but think I managed to cook up a decent roast. The next year we were without Mum, but still made a table of six or seven, then the next year it was just two and our toddler son. When the grown ups die, that makes you the grown up and in my mid twenties I don’t think I was ready for that. Still we made the best of it. I will never forget setting that table, and remembering the people no longer with us.
This Christmas we will be home alone, and yet with technology we will be able to watch our Granddaughter open her gifts, and our family will be together apart.