Clove-studded oranges and gold-sprayed foliage, red candles and wire ribbon, spiced beef, chocolate coins and The Snowman on the telly. Those are my little Christmassy things. Not memories as such. Not traditions either. More like short scenes or photos in my mind. They are things that immediately bring the Christmases of my childhood to mind.
Bit by bit I hope that my own children are picking up their own Christmas associations. I don’t go in much for gold spray – my Nana loved the stuff, hence my own association – but I do love to have cloves, oranges and mandarins in various guises around the house during Advent and at Christmas. Maybe they’ll remember that.
Or perhaps it’ll be holly. Our holly tree is covered in berries every year and so, from early December onwards, there is a seemingly never ending stream of holly coming into the house. Sprigs scattered over bowls of walnuts or mandarins, a bunch tied with ribbon and hung as a wreath replacement on the front door or the garden gate, twigs of it teamed with pine to form a wreath or fill a vase.
They might grow up with a special place in their hearts for gingerbread houses, remembering the fight with their brothers for the best sweets or the trouble in getting the walls to stay standing till the icing dried.
Their shared Advent calendar with its little bags might stay in their minds, the sight of sack cloth and gingham triggering Christmassy feelings in years to come.
It might even be the lights at Dublin airport or seeing Christmas trees at Frankfurt airport. As long as they are happy, I don’t what they are, their litte Christmassy things.