It’s Christmas Eve in the UK, and Christmas in Sweden. Emil apparently received a whisk, a new jumper and some teaspoons for the flat for his christmas presents, and a chocolate moustache mould ( i’m not going to ask).
I don’t actually know what I’m getting; small things, I believe, because the problem with moving between places all the time is that one can only really have stuff that fits in one’s luggage, and when one’s luggage is so very packed to begin with, it becomes difficult.
Christmas Eve is my favourite day of the year. Every year it’s the same: me and mum spent the day cooking and cleaning and readying the house for tomorrow’s celebrations, ensuring that all the food is prepared, the Christmas treats cooked and ready so that we can have them in the evening either with some wine or a cup of tea. We make a table centre out of the Holly and Ivy and Laurel and suchlike that I go rooting around for in the field and our garden, and that sits in the centre of the table when we will eat our meal tomorrow.
For me, the traditions of getting everything ready for Christmas are my favourites. Everyone has their place and everyone has a part. Everything is done the way it always has been, and right from the setting out of the sweets in their bowl, to dad sorting out the fruit, to us making the mince pies and sausage rolls and the Yule Log. Time seems to stand still on Christmas. All is as it was before, and somehow, I get to pretend to be a child again, the traditions and nostalgia an armour against the world.
The world is changing in front of my eyes, and I know that perhaps next time, it won’t be the same. Perhaps that’s why it seems so bittersweet and strange this year. Maybe that’s why I don’t feel so Christmassy this year.
I told mum that one of the things I love about Christmas is how it’s always the same; how the tradition of it all and everyone having their jobs to do made me happy, and she said that we have to make our own traditions. I know it’s true, but sometimes it’s the little things that bring you back ad give you some grounding in a world so big and real. Sometimes we all need a little bit of Christmas – a little bit of that old blanket from home, the tatty one that should have been thrown away years ago, to make us feel at home.
A year from now, I don’t know where I’ll be. The unknown is , and always has been, my biggest fear, but for now, a few days of rest and quiet, of a world untouched by the ravages of time.
For now, it’s Christmas Eve; time for the traditions to take charge, and for well-worn footsteps to be taken, as they always have.
A Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.