The candles are lit on a rainy afternoon in the Seychelles as I look out my living room window and gaze at the view of the town below. Down there, people hurry about their last-minute Christmas business, there are presents which need to be bought, turkeys that need to be marinated, lights that need replacing, and meanwhile up here, a little island girl sits with her thoughts and reflects on this season.
In my family, we have a few Christmas traditions. Firstly, Christmas Eve dinner is done at my parent’s house. The hustle and bustle of preparation is a feeling I know too well. On the morning of the 24th, my dad prepares his two signature dishes that come out of the culinary box only once a year and my mum darts around making sure she’s got enough minced pies and worrying that our oven isn’t big enough to fit the massive turkey she bought. When evening comes around and the whole family arrives, there are photos to be taken in front of the tree, dinner is served, crackers are popped and merriment is a-plenty. In the past, all the children, me at the helm, would prepare a little Christmas performance to put on before dinner, where we’d sing Christmas carols and put on plays and dance to our little heart’s content. This will be the third year now that the children are all too old and that part of the evening has sadly come to an end. But thankfully, we have more little ones that have come of an age where they can understand Christmas better, so this year, everyone will join in to sing some carols as we watch the flares dart across the sky and point, to the wonder of the little ones, saying ‘look! It’s Rudolf and his red nose!’
Then on Christmas morning, my parents, my little sister and I will huddle around the Christmas tree and share our presents while eating more minced pies with way too much whipped cream for 8am. We’ll reminisce about Christmases past and the many more to come and we’ll laugh and maybe even cry a little until it’s time for Christmas lunch at my aunt’s place by the beach. We’ll head down there, be at least an hour late as usual, and share some more merriment with more of our big beautiful family.
The one thing that I was always worried about was that as I grew up I would somehow loose what I felt was the magic of Christmas. I was scared that the realities of the world would dampen the innocence of the little girl who was so in love with this season. And I’m happy that I can say that it hasn’t. Christmas for me is not about the presents or about the food; its about the feeling of remembering what it’s like to be 5 years old and to believe in something magical. The world can be and is such a crazy place filled with so many trials and tribulations and I know I’m not alone when I say that this year has been full of its ups and downs with a few mistakes along the way but Christmas is an excuse to get away from all of that even just for a little while. It’s not about believing or not believing in Santa Claus or the little elves but it’s about trying to embrace the fantastical and the imagination and for at least once a year, create a little time in space where anything is possible and everything is… magical.
Being home this Christmas has given me a new appreciation for everything that I’ve left now that I’m away at university. It’s made me look at the landscape around me with new eyes. It’s made me think about the things that I want in the New Year, things that I’m going to have to do, things I’m going to have to revaluate and restructure in order to make myself better and happier in the New Year. Being with my family has reminded me of the things I need to start prioritising in my life but at the same time, the New Year needs to bring some sort of balance. I wish I could make everyone happy at the same time and I wish that some things in life didn’t have to be so complicated (don’t we all.) But just for this season, all I wanted, and want, is to forget everything else and just exist, right here in the moments, wherever those may be. I know that I have so much love in my life and that I have people around me, family and friends who would do anything for me and who will always be there for me, no matter where we all are in the world. For this season, I just want to take all that in, appreciate everything and everyone, because the New Year is fast approaching, like reaching the end of a river where a massive waterfall looms ready to drop you into the vast unknown. So that’s what I encourage everyone to do. Embrace Christmas as that one time of the year when you can forget about everything else. Love too much, share everything you have, give everything you can for the last few days of the year because you never know what’s going to come. Tell the people around you how much you love them, don’t be afraid to apologise for things you’ve done wrong, and above all, do what you feel is right for you and what in the end, will make you a happier and better person.
I hope that your Christmas will bring you heaps of joy surrounded by the people you love and that you eat to your hearts content. And above all, be happy, because it’s the most wonderful time of the year.
Wishing you all a Merry Christmas from my little island home, to yours wherever it may be in the world.