2020 has been such a strange year. Things, and situations which we had taken for granted were turned on their heads.
Now, the question- will 2020 be a zoom -call Christmas?
For those hoping to visit, or be visited by, loved ones residing overseas, the answer is, almost certainly.
What about those with loved ones interstate? Borders have been opening, but others closing. We are told they will all be opened in time for Christmas, but COVID – related restrictions are changing frequently, with the changing curve.
Will you be able to see and hold all of those you hold near and dear, this Christmas?
After the story of Jesus’ birth, possibly the most famous Christmas story is A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. Other popular Christmas books include The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg. The Night Before Christmas by Clement Clarke Moore. Little Women Louisa by May Alcott. Aussie Jingle Bells by Colin Buchanan and Nick Bland. Tea and Sugar Christmas by Jane Jolly and Robert Ingpen.
I’ve always loved The Night Before Christmas by Clement Clarke Moore. There is also a book by Yvonne Morrison called ‘An Aussie Night Before Christmas’. Which is an Australian take on Christmas, so no snow, but instead Santa has to deliver his gifts in the middle of the Australian summer. I also read Little Women more times than I can count when I was a child, tween, and teen. One of my favourite parts of the novel was on Christmas when the family first cared for poorer families before celebrating themselves.
There are so many celebrated Christmas movies. A few I have heard of include The Grinch, The Santa Clause, It’s A Wonderful Life, The Nightmare Before Christmas, The Holiday, While You Were Sleeping, Last Christmas, Elliot The Littlest Reindeer, A Christmas Story, A Christmas Carol. A Charlie Brown Christmas, Elf and Home Alone.
My favourites though are Miracle on 34th Street and Joyeux Noel.
Miracle on 34th Street is a sweet movie, the original released in 1947. It centres around a single mother (Doris) and her daughter (Susan) who she has raised not to believe in fairy tales, or Santa Claus. However, when the Santa hired at the store in which Doris works claims to be the real Santa, friendships and beliefs are formed.
I love the movie Joyeux Noel, it is a tale of a celebration within the trenches of WW1. It tells the story of the unofficial truce created between enemy soldiers for Christmas 1914. The enemy soldiers met in ‘no-mans land’. They exchanged cigarettes and small trinkets. They saw photos of their ‘enemies’ families and sweet hearts. They exposed their humanity to each other. Importantly, this movie does not allow this story to play out from one perspective only, but shows it through the eyes of Scottish, French, and German soldiers. True to reality, as soon as the truce was over, the soldiers returned to their trenches and prepared to shoot at the men they had exchanged gifts with the day before, discovering that they were not actually so different.
My favourite Christmas carols, for as long as I can remember have been ‘Silent Night’; and ‘Away in a Manger’. Now, however, I sing ‘Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer’, an awful lot. Our older children love joining in, adding the little asides ie ‘…then one foggy Christmas Eve, Santa came to say…’ (ho ho ho)… Our youngest loves telling me that Ruldolph has a ‘shiny nose!’, and calls out ‘reindeer’, throughout the song.
In our family, we have developed a tradition of choosing one charity to put together a gift for. It started with the ‘Kmart wishing tree’. One year, we chose a gift for a little girl; the next a little boy; a grandparent, and so on. Last year, we put together a bag for ‘Share the Dignity’.
This year, given the climate created by the pandemic, we decided on The Smith Family Toy & Book Appeal. Many people have lost their jobs, and are unable to provide for their children the way they want to. To assist these families to be able to focus on the basics, The Smith Family has commenced a Toy & Book Appeal. This allows us to either donate a toy and book pack, make a financial donation, so that The Smith Family can purchase required items for families in need, or we even have the option of purchasing a gift from The Smith Family’s online Charity Gift Catalogue, which will then be delivered to families in need this Christmas.
Something I love is that The Smith Family specify to donate unwrapped gifts, so that the parents are able to see and wrap their children’s gifts themselves. I love this, because the parents are then more able to be part of the giving to their child, rather than a bystander watching as their child opens a gift from a stranger.
I also love the day we choose to put the Christmas tree up together! It’s lovely watching the kids work together; discussing where their favourite ornaments should be placed. Smiling as each little memory is pulled out of the ornament box – some they made many years ago!
Now we just need to remember whose turn it is to place the ornament at the very top of the tree…
One of my best Christmas memories was seeing my niece take her first unaided steps from her Mum to myself. It was a beautiful moment I will always treasure. Since having my own children, I truly can see that Christmas is all about the kids. Witnessing their innocent joy and delight. No malice or dark secrets hidden behind their expressions of happiness and love.
I remember when my oldest children were old enough that they approached their Dad about organising Christmas gifts for me. It was so sweet, seeing they cared, and thought about giving rather than just receiving.
How’s this for a Christmas joke? (source: humourmatters.com)
Sarah and her thirteen-year-old sister had been fighting a lot this year. This happens when you combine a headstrong two-year-old, who is sure she is always right, with a young adolescent.
Sarah’s parents, trying to take advantage of her newfound interest in Santa Claus, reminded the two-year-old that Santa was watching and doesn’t like it when children fight. This had little impact.
“I’ll just have to tell Santa about your misbehavior,” her mother said as she picked up the phone and dialed. Sarah’s eyes grew big as her mother asked “Mrs. Claus” (really Sarah’s aunt; Santa’s real line was busy) if she could put Santa on the line. Sarah’s mouth dropped open as Mum described to Santa (Sarah’s uncle) how the two-year-old was acting. But, when Mum said that Santa wanted to talk to her, she reluctantly took the phone.
Santa, in a deepened voice, explained to her how there would be no presents Christmas morning to children who fought with their sisters. He would be watching, and he expected things to be better from now on.
Sarah, now even more wide eyed, solemnly nodded to each of Santa’s remarks and silently hung the phone up when he was done. After a long moment, Mum (holding in her chuckles at being so clever) asked, “What did Santa say to you, dear?”
In almost a whisper, Sarah sadly but matter-of-factly stated, “Santa said he won’t be bringing toys to my sister this year.”