And at Christmas You Tell the Truth…

I’m not entirely open with you here.IMG_0601

It simply wouldn’t do to spill all the beans.IMG_0607

Sultanabun is my brave, confident (read foolhardy) and competent alter ego who doesn’t worry too much about what people think. Sultanabun doesn’t burn the arse out of her best saucepan by allowing herself to be distracted by Instagram. Sultanabun doesn’t have weird pink scum around her bathroom taps. Of course she doesn’t and she doesn’t find herself sitting, alone, in a coffee shop window with uninvited tears falling down her cheeks. That simply wouldn’t do.

No. There are levels of honesty. IMG_0613

There are always good and bad things about this time of year. That’s sort of the whole point of it, really, when you think about it. Christmas is the light in the darkness, the thing that gets you through. I read an interview with Richard Curtis about writing Four Weddings and a Funeral. He re-wrote his story about four weddings a dozen times but couldn’t get it right. It was too happy, saccherin sweet, until a friend suggested he add in a funeral. It worked. Light and shade, chiaroscuro, that’s life. It’s better because it’s sometimes bad.

It doesn’t do, I think, to pretend that it’s perfect but today I’m choosing to write, honestly, about the things that are good about this time of year.

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Music.

Is there ever so much music about as at Christmas? I love that we belt out Jingle Bells in the car on the way to school, that I can hum Santa Claus is Coming to Town at mid volume while pushing my shopping trolley without anybody even suspecting that I’m mad, and I love that George Michael is going to make it to Number One for Christmas, I love that.

I particularly love the school carol service and nativity play. The Small Girl was, as it turned out, the only homemade donkey at the birth of Jesus which didn’t seem to bother her, or Jesus, one bit. She sang her song, and performed her actions with gusto, shedding only a very small amount of her lustrous mane in the process. As I write she is practicing her party piece.IMG_0703

Creativity (aka Cutting and Sticking).

I love that Christmas grants us all permission to dolly up our homes in whichever daft fashion out hearts desire. The madder the better, if you ask me. It’s all so wonderfully liberating. Once you get past the notion of carting a whole tree inside the house, you can’t really criticise anyone’s style, can you? This from the woman with gold tinsel and multi-coloured lights draped around her sofa.

Every year I get a dose of the bah-humbugs and swear that I can’t be arsed making a real wreath for the front door, every single year.

And then I do.

I thought it would be the work of mere moments to recreate a very simple ring of hazel twigs I saw at a craft fair. It seems I will never learn the lesson that things at craft fairs which seem very simple, invariably, are not.

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Several hours, two glasses of wine, some cursing and forty-two Christmas songs later…IMG_0749

I don’t, in general, have any objection to bells, ribbons or jangly bits on Christmas wreaths. I have previously made a wreath entirely from the wrappers of Cadbury’s Roses so I am reliably unsophisticated in my efforts. This year, however, I had a notion that my wreath would be made exclusively from what my garden (and, being honest, my mother-in-law’s garden) had to offer. I may be still a pheasant feather shy of sophistication but I do like this wreath, a lot.IMG_0753

Kindness.

Have you noticed it? People in cars let you out at junctions with a wave, maybe even a smile if they happen to be belting out Jingle Bells with their kids. People in shops offer to gift-wrap your presents, or double bag your turkey. Strangers tell you stories about their Christmas party, or how they cook their sprouts, or who belonging to them is flying home on Friday. Christmas cards come in the post and surprise me, again, that someone I haven’t spoken to in years still thinks of me. A friend, who I hardly realised knew me so well, turned up on my doorstep with a gift so perfect, so unbelievably thoughtful, it left me breathless.

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Darkness.

Yes, with emotions more contrary than I can explain, I do like it. I like the sound of rain battering the windows. I like the heavy, leaden skies that take striking a match and touching it to a candle from the realm of unnecessary luxury to vital  force. I like the insulating blanketness of it, the closeness of it, the weight of it. And I like that I know, in my heart of hearts, that it will end soon enough. I like the bottoming out of it, the sense of an ending.

If you go all the way down, you get a bounce that brings you clear into Spring.

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And you, my friends who live behind this screen, have shown me real kindness. You have, somehow, endured my litany of complaint. You have encouraged my efforts and applauded my small achievements. I have lovely, lovely followers – you are nice people. Thank you.

I wish you a Happy Solstice Day, clean and bright and with a fine bounce to it, and I wish you a Christmas with just the right balance of light and shade. Nollaig Shona daoibh.IMG_0775 (2)

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23 thoughts on “And at Christmas You Tell the Truth…

  1. What a lovely post, and an exquisite wreath, beautifully done. And very impressive that it’s all from your (and m-i-l’s) garden. I love the darkness at this time of year, and I love the shortest day. I know what you mean about the more grim things being a counterpoint to the good. I’m wishing you light and happiness at Christmas, and a lovely Winter Solstice. CJ xx

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Beautiful. I am celebrating winter solstice too especially after beginning Nigel Slater’s Christmas chronicles under a
    Blanket with a glass of red by Christmas tree lights last evening. 👍😉❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This was such a lovely post. Happy Solstice, and Happy Christmas to you and your family. And just so you don’t feel alone, I scorched some caramel yesterday because I was trying to post a picture on Instagram when I should have been stirring. And I have the same mysterious pink scum in my bathroom. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This is such a beautifully written post, Lynda. Your “Once you get past the notion of carting a whole tree inside the house, you can’t really criticise anyone’s style, can you?” made me laugh out loud this morning, although I have to confess I’m more of a “less is more” kind of person when it comes to decorations (as I’ve learned that too much visual stimuli causes me anxiety and makes my crankiness shine).

    Small Girl’s donkey costume is absolutely, undeniably PERFECT! Well done, you! (And how sweet is her expression in that photo?! Priceless…)

    Your wreath is gorgeous, and I love that you made it from pickings from your own (and MIL’s) garden. I also love the excuse to make things! December saw me making three pairs of mittens and a tiny Ravenclaw sweater ornament, as well as duplicate stitching initials onto tiny knitted stocking ornaments so my daughter’s boyfriend and older son’s girlfriend will have “stockings” on Christmas morning. (My daughter and youngest son don’t think much of this idea…)

    I hope it’s ok that I say this next bit:
    I love Sultanabun, but I do hope you let Lynda share more in the new year. As Jodi said of your last post, Sultanabun is someone she (and I, too, quite frankly!) aspire to be; Lynda, however, may be someone we already are. In other words, if Lynda is burning things and shedding tears in a coffee shop, then that somehow makes the fact that I’m crying in the kitchen (and quickly mopping up before my 12-year-old walks in the door) somewhat easier to bear. (I do hope that makes sense…)

    Happy Solstice and Merry Christmas, Lynda 🙂 .

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I’ve so enjoyed reading this post – thankfully my days of rustling up costumes are over but I love that donkey costume, utterly brilliant! Among many lovely phrases, you wrote one that really resonated with me “if you go all the way down, you get a bounce that brings you clear into spring” – sums up winter for me! Happy Solstice.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Good Morning Lynda I am writing to you from the table of my daughters in Santa Rosa Californina….do I sound a bit bug-whacky….well I am LOL lets hope in a good way….lovely post, even lovelier Christmas wreath, well done, I picked up several and laid them back down, I realized I didn’t have my own door to hang it on…oh I know booo hoooo and all, but really I didn’t want to mar my daughters new front door and all. The most loveliest in your post today is that little shaggy donkey!! She is just like her mummie, proud of who and what she is…of course being in a donkey suit her loving mum made just for her and Jesus would never bother her….that little apple did not fall far from the tree…you must be very proud of her,, and the rest of your lovely children….I sit here alone at my daughters, with her big, black cat, lots of time to remember Christmas past….some good , some better, some not worth the thought…LOL I find that the Christmas season brings out all the full gambit of emotions, jolly,, happy, sad, remorse, then play it over and over again, jolly,happy, sad, remorse….a true time for reflection, and ever so true time for missing those who are looking down upon us.. I would like to introduce you to my alter ego, Roxanne Cutty-Sarc, like the whiskey I used to say…LOL Oh My I could be anyone I wanted when Roxanne came out to play…LOL she still comes out at Starbucks when they ask me for my name…LOL alter egos are great, and I must say at certain times in our lives, even needed!! My dear Irish friend, you are one in a million, I have come to love your special style, your blue fence, and lovely garden, please know I love the both of you, Sultanabun and the lovely Lynda! Okay on to more important items, its okay to have pink scum in the sinks isn’t it??? Oh God, no ! I am running off to throw Ajax on my sinks as we speak…LOL Your great, don’t ever change…..Oh I almost forgot to ask, How much is in the “long weekend in Paris envelope” that is tucked away in your unmentionable drawer?? Hope it has a little something started in there…nothing like Paris in the spring…just a thought….Have a loud, cheerful New Year with your lovely family….XXkat

    Liked by 1 person

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