Tuesday, 18 December 2012

"It's coming near Christmas..."

"It's coming near Christmas, they're cuttin down trees
They're puttin up reindeer and singing songs of joy and peace".

Joni Mitchell 

There's always magic in the air at Christmas.  I love to think of people through the ages celebrating the winter solstice in one way or another, from the ancient pagan tradition to our more recent Christian era.  Despite the commercialisation, it is a wonderful occasion to have a family get-together, share a feast, the warmth of our homes and the giving and receiving of gifts.  I cannot think of a better way to distract us all from what can be a rather depressing and miserable time of year, the short days and often dank weather.  I love the sense of anticipation and goodwill, the lights going up on trees in houses and gardens, the bustle of Christmas markets and the smells of the Christmas cooking wafting through the house. 

And yet, increasingly as time passes, there is such a complex layer of emotions simmering away beneath the surface and I think this is particularly the case where marriages have broken down and families have been fractured and reconstituted.  More than anything, I miss my small sons and their joy and excitement at this time of year, the carol concerts and nativity plays that used to fill my days, whilst at the same time I look forward to seeing the grown-up versions of two of my three sons and spending some time with them; the youngest, sadly, having decided not to join us this year.  My partner, too, misses the family Christmases he shared with his own children when they were an intact family and from which he is now excluded, even as we prepare for them to come and visit on Christmas Eve,  knowing that they will be leaving early on Christmas morning to spend the rest of the holiday with their own mother and her new husband.  

And, of course, this is the first Christmas without my mother.  Bittersweet.

Life is full of challenges and changes, adjustments and adaptations, the weft and the warp. Christmas puts our lives under a microscope and exposes the flaws as well as the beauty of what we create.  It is a time of joy as well as sadness, but this Christmas I hope, mostly joy.



  1. Christmas is such an emotive time when families have become split. I empathise, having been there.
    Now we have our grandchildren to lighten the days!

  2. It certainly is, Elizabeth, as our dreams fail to match the reality. As always, it's just a question of making the best of what is. Grandchildren must be such a joy x

  3. Your home does look lovely Marianne :-)

    And as ever you write so well. Merry Christmas to you too. X

  4. Thank you for the lovely words and wishes, Merry and have a good Christmas x

  5. Beautiful description of an Christmas atmosphere, very poignant.;)
    Just stopping by to wish you a wonderful Christmas and a wonderful Holidays with your loved ones. Thank you for all your lovely comments and visits in the past year.

  6. Thank you Zuzana, and the same to you x

  7. This is one I just found in my inbox and wanted to add -

    Just wanted to thank you very much for writing it, and to express sympathy about the loss of your mother. I think it's always tricky at this time of year, post divorce; it helped me a lot that you acknowledged it.

    Sorry, that sounds terribly "grumpy old bat", but when one's beseiged with round robins celebrating the Oxbridge successes and the lengthy happy marriages, it helps to have a quiet voice acknowledging that things may be different and emotions may be mixed.

    My very best wishes to you this Christmas,


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