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Christmas Trees and Change

You can read this on my Craft site here.

Today, something interesting happened. I was out in my little office playing with being creative (I play, I’m not always great at it) and popped back in for a cuppa. The Christmas Tree was gone… Now, it’s December 29th, which as we all probably know, is way before Twelfth Night. Traditionally, that’s when the tree comes down. So yeah, I get it, the tree was a little dry, and leaving it longer would have resulted in more shedding and less tree. But it made me sad that it wasn’t there any more. Why is that? Christmas for me has fond memories of excitement as it approached when I was a child, and of comfort, home and security when I was a student and returned home for the holidays. I still remember the really small things at my parents’ home, like little snacks around the place (mostly nuts, which is ironic as I don’t do nuts at all!), people around on Christmas Day, just the small things. That’s tradition – the memories a time brings back, and the want to make it the same every year. But of course, it isn’t ever really the same, right? There's always something that is different. For one thing, I'm in a different country than the one I grew up in. Whilst this almost guarantees white Christmases, it also involves being bloody cold. The house we live in now is also different – busy with children, dogs, cats and adults amongst other things, and much bigger than the house I grew up in – it's a rather large draughty Victorian beastie… It's sometimes hard to make it cozy, but it is certainly happy. All of these things contribute to new, different every year, traditions and experiences. A few years ago, for instance, we had an Australian student staying with us (hello Georgia!) who had not experienced Winter snow and so on for Christmas (let me tell you, it's always a joy to see people so excited by snow!). Different, right? So why did the tree disappearing early bring a bit of sadness? Because it isn’t something I’m used to, and isn’t that what change is? And isn’t that what’s challenging for all of us? Perhaps in this interesting time where a lot of things do rather seem to be heading in the wrong direction, and control is not something any of us really have, those little tiny changes (after all, a tree going a few days early isn’t earth-shattering) are sometimes a little harder to assimilate. As it happens, the result is a living room that was re-arranged and looks great, ready for one more thing we are expecting to arrive soon which I hope may start some other fun traditions (of which more to come in 2022). Life is change, I’ve read somewhere. This is indeed true, and traditions change with it. And finally, this tiny change made me remember that Christmas really is so much harder this year for so many people, and for much more important changes. So perhaps the tree going a little early was necessary after all, because reminders like that, we all need. Let’s see what next year brings, and build traditions around it that mean something new for all of us and remember, life is too short not to love each other wholeheartedly. December 29th, 2021 (Yes, I say Christmas a lot in this piece, but do remember that you are free to insert your own holiday of choice where appropriate. It’s all good.) PS, there is one tradition that I haven’t let go: a long time ago my brother bought me a “StarLED” light - just 5 LEDs soldered to each other in a star shape with some long metal posts down to connectors for a 9 volt PP3 battery. My real tradition, that has grown from necessity over many losses and changes big and small through my life, is to connect a battery to this at the start of the holiday season (sometime around the start of December) and, bar the need to replace the battery when it runs down so that it shines on, to leave it shining somewhere in the house until January the following year. My own tiny beacon of hope.

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