December 17, 2019

I’ve never spent Christmas somewhere warm, or traded a turkey dinner for fish tacos on the beach. But that’s what we’ll be doing this year, and I’m pretty stoked about it. We’re flying out on Christmas day, which is also a first, and landing just in time to catch the sunset. Since having children, traditions are something I think about a lot. As a child, there were so many traditions to look forward to at Christmastime, from carols at midnight, to my giant quilted stocking, to the champagne jelly my Mum used to make. England at Christmastime is magical, and my memories belong in a Hans Christian Anderson novel. I wonder sometimes what my children’s associations with the holiday will be? The Lindt calendar they receive from their grandmother every year? The Panetone they eat on Christmas morning? The fights they have over who gets to place which ornament on what bough? It’s nostalgia that prompts me to gather round the fireplace to send the children’s hand written letters to Father Christmas up the chimney. And while I know that they enjoy such old fashioned traditions, I know that they are as much for me as they are for them, a desire to connect with my own childhood. Children don’t care whether it’s turkey or tacos, a Balsam tree or a Palm tree. The magic of Christmas prevails regardless of such details. It’s in the anticipation. It’s in the imagination. It’s in that fleeting belief that maybe, just maybe, reindeers really do fly. So, I can sprinkle my sugar plum fairy dust with the stories I tell, the traditions I pass on, but the real magic, that’s something that children have within them. And that’s what we remember. And that’s what we hold on to.


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