Christmas is a truly unique time of the year, and one that is incredibly exhausting and oh-so-rewarding. Most of my own childhood Christmases were spent at my grandparent’s house in Christchurch, New Zealand, and there were so many great traditions that came with the season, from the fabulous story books my Gran bought out especially for the holiday season to the morning scurry to spy our Christmas stockings – so empty the night before, and so full of mystery and surprise on Christmas morning. There was also the annual jigsaw puzzle we would ponder over for the week between Christmas and New Year and the cooking of the Christmas pudding, the annual Christmas drawing competition, as well as the new games that my sister and I would play obsessively until we went back to school at the end of January.
Every one of those traditions has become part of a magical patchwork of family memories we continue to nostalgically reminisce about to this day.
While many of those memories are crystal clear, others have a certain timeless value because of the tradition my father had of using his 8mm movie camera to make a holiday movie of the Christmas season
So there we are, each year that little bit older, opening those magical stockings, discovering the treasures that would preoccupy our play for the 12 months to come, surrounded by all our most beloved people.
Today, those movies are precious because some of those beloved people are no longer with us to share our Christmas Day. They are also precious because they remind us of the wonderful family moments we shared throughout those all-too-short childhood years, and these days my own children can ‘meet’ my own beloved grandparents in those movies.
We’ve added a few new traditions since then, including the annual Carols in the Garden at my parents home, which was part of our celebration this past weekend. And this year we’ll be adding some more after seeing all those great suggestions from some of our favourite designers in our Christmas Magic feature. But one that I am hoping to renew (‘holding the baby help’ depending) is that of the family movie.
Isn’t it funny how these days every single one of us has at least one ‘movie camera’ readily to hand, and yet so often all those minutes (no doubt hours) of footage end up sitting on all our devices, never quite making it into the memory vault as a coherently edited piece of family history. Well, this year – and you can quote me on this – I plan to enrol all of my family in the new tradition of turning all of the past year’s footage into a coherent set of images and movies, so we can make ‘Our Year on Film’ movie sometime between the end of Christmas lunch and the dawning of New Year’s Day.
I promise, I will let you know how I go, but in the meantime, we’d love to hear about your own new – and old – traditions. Merry Christmas and, as Tiny Tim says: “God bless us, every one!”