Nurse Fran writes about what Christmas means to her, and what her favourite parts of the season are.
I love Christmas! Ever since I can remember my parents have made a really big deal out of Christmas for me and my siblings. In turn I have made Christmas as exciting and as lovely for my children and grandson as I remember my childhood Christmases. I spend my Christmas break preparing to give my family as lovely a Christmas as possible and after it’s over, relax and enjoy the Christmassy aftermath.
For my family it isn’t the presents that makes Christmas – they are nice of course and we all endeavour to buy each other something that we know will delight. But there’s so much more to this festive season than just presents. As soon as December 1st rolls around the excitement and anticipation starts. Christmas for me is just full of lovely smells, secrets, colour, festivity and tradition.
First of all we start with Christmas Carols. When my children were little I bought a Disney Christmas Carol compilation. Now 27 years later it still gets played and played! We love it! All 3 of my children have “ripped” their own copy of this old CD and my grandson now enjoys Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse singing the “12 Days of Christmas” just as much as the rest of us. Disney Christmas Carols have become a tradition
While we listen to our carols we put up our Christmas tree. We have an over-the-top affair with fake snow on the fake branches. We string up rows of flashing, singing lights, hang more baubles and ornaments than the tree can hold and place a star on the top that will never sit up straight – ever! Everyone has their favourite ornament.
Each Christmas I always make an old fashioned boiled pudding in a cloth. The recipe has been handed down through 4 generations of women and we guard it jealously. With the recipe I also inherited a smattering of silver sixpences. We have a tradition of all gathering together to make the pudding and as it is being mixed each child and adult makes a wish as they toss their silver coin into the sticky, fruity, rummy mixture. I also make mince pies, panforte, leibkuchen, fruit cake and lashings of brandy butter to go on top of all those fruity treats.
I love buying the biggest turkey I can find and spending Christmas day carefully roasting it to a golden state of perfection. We have a sticky baked honey ham, crunchy roast potatoes and rich turkey gravy. Depending on my mood there might be a green salad or veggies.
The whole day is spent idly chatting, sipping sparkling wine, nibbling at cheese, fruit and dips and having a quick dip in the swimming pool to cool down.
Presents are exchanged of course and I love buying, wrapping and giving my children and grandson lovely things so I can see the delight on their faces. They are never too old for me. Even in their twenties, I still revel in giving them surprises and putting their presents out until after they go to bed. Call me crazy!
And am I religious you ask? After all, this was the purpose of Christmas in the first place. The answer to that is I always celebrate Christmas in the spirit it’s meant to be celebrated. That means to me the giving happiness and delight to my dear children, extended family and people I don’t even know. I buy presents for the department store’s Giving Trees. I wish people peace and happiness and give thanks for all the intangible gifts that I have.
And that’s what Christmas means to me.