so this is Christmas

28 December 2012

This summer was my first Christmas, and so it was also our first real family Christmas.  A big part of this was our first tree, made by us, decorations made by Luna and I, and decorated by all of us over a few days, Christmas Eve and Christmas day.

Luna and Blake loved collecting branches from Cornwall Park to make our tree.

I spent most of the day binding the branches and sticks together with some warm wine wool from my stash.

Potting it up… and then the decorations!  Certainly the best part.

We kept it pretty low key, used what we had, both in the garden, and in the sewing and art stash.  I pulled out a box of beautiful beads, old jewelry, felt fabric flowers, skinks and dinosaurs, pin cones, leaves and fresh blossoms, scraps of sequins and strings of beads and pearls…  Threaded them onto loops and Luna found their places.

This season I splashed out on more flowering plants for the garden, including a couple of straw flower seedlings, and it’s one of the best things I’ve done.  The flowers last and last, Luna and I picked hand fulls of them for the tree, even the unopened buds, and it was so exciting when Luna discovered that the flowers were opening even after hanging in the tree for days.

I confess, have a hard time over the Christmas period, my family did not celebrate Christmas, so there are no real traditions for me to draw on, other than going to the beach.  And I grew up knowing that all the stories about Jesus and Christmas are based on Pagan festivals and symbolism, and it all has nothing to do with Jesus, what he taught, no one knows his birthday anyway, and he certainly did not initiate the celebration or it’s rituals.   Now, I don’t buy into Christianity, and I do love those Pagan and Seasonal Festivities that celebrate the beauty of our natural world and give pause to reflect on changing times.

But it still feels like a bit of a sham, I find myself at Christmas parties and family Christmases, and I don’t know the rules, what to eat and when, when are you supposed to open the presents?  Does someone actually dress as Santa, and give out presents, or is he just out in malls?  What do I tell my kids?  I don’t believe any of that myself!  But it’s everywhere, hard to navigate.

It also feels like a time of excess, in food, drink and consumerism.  And waste.

But this felt like the right way to go, collecting the wood, assembling the tree and creating the decorations from beautiful, simple and random items we had at hand.

No trees had to die, no money spent, and just loads of creativity and love went into our first Christmas.

It was about the tree, and making it more beautiful, and we didn’t do any gift giving other than a few small gifts of books for the kids, given on different days, even,it was fun and spontaneous.

This will probably be our Solstice and Christmas tree in the future, or maybe our story will involve collecting and making a new tree each year?  I like the idea of reusing the same tree, it gets more special each time.  We’ll see.

Happy Christmas and Happy New Year, or whatever it is you may have or maybe celebrating.

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