Thursday, 27 December 2012

Unwrapping the present

With every Christmas, I find more layers. As a child, it was a time of expectancy, excitment and then unalloyed delight. As years pass, more emotions are added and the simplicity is lost.
The magic can still be found. When I looked at our beautiful tree, the memories of all previous trees are still there inside me.
I can't re-create that wonderful piney scent that you smell when coming downstairs the first morning after the tree is up but this picture nearly captures the glow of delight I feel when we light the candles on Christmas Eve.

We have our rituals as most families do. The tree is carefully chosen, painfully positioned and then decorated (always in the same order) to a very old record from the 1960's.
We are each allowed to buy a new bauble.

 And every year we say -
"This is our most beautiful tree yet!"

Maybe we are right this year?
We put great skill and effort into wrapping our parcels. In the war of the wrapping, my brother always wins!

 It is still a time of delight, of families and love-

And yet it can be such a mad whirl, with so much striving to create the perfect setting for celebration.
I felt happy yet exhausted when I looked around at my home, decorated and ready for my loved ones to arrive

And a small, disloyal voice sounded in my head
"Oh no- It will soon be all full of people and get so messed up!"

I pulled myself together and looked up at my beloved mistletoe Kissing Bunch

And my edible wreath on the kitchen door

And thought, isn't Christmas all about loved ones to kiss and friends to feed?

And yet there is still something missing.
I love to be with my family and it is right that this is a time for feasting, presents and celebration.
But as so often at this most wonderful season, the spiritual side seems to have been put to aside. I do know this is my fault entirely and I that I have made my own choices.
I suppose I have come to realise that I simply do not have the reserves of energy and resolve to create a riotous family event and to still be quiet within myself and think about the other side of Christmas.

I did lean out from my window at midnight on Christmas Eve and think, just maybe, this is the actual moment that changed the religion and lives of so many people.
I did see the flame of love and joy that I call the soul, shining in the faces of people around me.

Yet I still feel that one year, I should like to be tremendously selfish and take myself off to a still, quiet place and just be and think and pray and spend an entirely different Christmas from the ones I know and ususally love.

But for now, this little gift is enough.
All my life I have rubbed berries on bark and longed to have an apple tree with its very own magic mistletoe.
And this year I have.


  1. Thank you for inviting us into your warm, cozy Christmas home. All the elements are there, I see, for your family festivities, with food and gifts and good cheer. Done out of tradition and with love, it is, I think, just a different way to be spiritual. And one day, you will have that magickal time alone, because if you truly want that, it will happen.

    1. Thank you for such a lovely comment. I'm so lucky to have such a loving family, I almost feel guilty wishing for time alone. May you have a very happy New Year. Jane xx

  2. A lovely post - and congrats on the mistletoe. I however, dread being on my own at Christmas, as my family twindles - there are just the four of us here in France - but my kids are growing and maybe our family will expand in the future.

    1. Hello Carol, I do understand. the thought of my Emily away and living a new independant life does make me feel rather stange and lonely sometimes-. I hope you've had a very Happy christmas and 2013 is a good year. Jane xx

  3. Your Christmas sounds and looks like it was just lovely and warm. I'm sure it is difficult to find a little time for quiet thought and meditation. That always seems to come last with me, too, and it really should come first. I think, though, that your love of your family and the things you do reflect His love. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Diane

  4. Dear Diane,I thought you would understand this post of mine. It's always hard to get the balance right isn't it? Wishing you every happiness for the New Year. Jane xx

  5. Hello Jane

    Your tree is absolutely "the best". I am in awe of the effort put into wrapping presents in your house. A shame to open them.
    I understand completely when you say you would like to spend a Christmas away and celebrate the spiritual side - we said the same this year. So on that note, if mistletoe can grow on an apple tree, well then we can do anything.
    Happy New Year and may it be filled wit all that is good and beautiful


    1. Dear Helen, we started a family tradition of choosing the most beautifully wrapped present- not to find a winner really, but so that we all had a proper appreciative look at them!
      I'm so excited about my mistletoe- it's a wonderful thing.
      Have a Happy New Year celebration and a wonderful 2013
      Jane xx

  6. A lovely series of images - I am envious of your parcel wrapping! Even more envious of your mistletoe - I too have tried this many times and failed.....a garden backing on to the children's old school had the most marvellous mistletoe - dripping with it. One year all the branches were cut off by the owner....some things I cannot fathom
    Best wishes and happy new year to you and yours

    1. Happy New year to you too jenny. I took the tree down last night. Although I was pleased to move on into the new year, it's always a sad thing to do. I am so pleased with my mistletoe. Ever since I have had a garden of my own I have tried to 'plant' some, it is such a magical plant! Jane xx

  7. Happy new year, I'm really chuffed to see you have mistletoe! I really get what you say about juggling the family/social side of the season and the spiritual. One year you will get that time to yourself - it isn't selfish, its necessary! Spending time being still and quiet, whether its in a church or a garden or the country is so important to feed the soul.