Everyone has Christmas traditions, new and old. My favourite tradition in our family is our Christmas decorations. My siblings and I get a new one every year on Christmas Eve and now I have 22, one for every year of my life.
Christmas 2006 was our last Christmas together with my Mum. We kept by all our traditions of the day and tried to enjoy it as best we could. We all knew she wouldn’t be with us next year. Organised as ever, my Mum had bought decorations for us for next Christmas, letting us choose our favourite and wrapping them up to be opened in 12 months.
December 2007 came, and decorating the tree made me finally realise that my Mum wouldn’t be coming back for Christmas. The day was very emotional and there wasn’t the usual festive cheer. On Christmas Eve Dad brought out our ornaments and there they were with Mum’s writing on them for each of us: “To Bridget, love Mum”. It hurt so much to know that was the last physical encounter I would have with her.
Eight years on, I think my family has reclaimed Christmas. I am thankful every year for what I still have, and all the decorations my Mum bought me over the years have their own meaning and memories.
I’ve been grateful over the last 8 years that we held onto those customs that my Mum enjoyed. We carry them on now, not only as her traditions but as ours, and it’s one way that we can remember her at Christmas with a smile on our faces.
What about you? Will you write and tell us something about your own family’s favourite Christmas traditions?