Xmas is coming and the retailers are getting fat. Having been virtually bedbound for weeks I’ve had very little time or inclination to make my Xmas cards and presents, so this year I’ll probably join the rat-race in the shops a few days before Xmas, frantically trying to find presents for my loved ones. Shop-bought stuff is so convenient, often cheaper and there is so much choice out there it seems silly to spend months making things. After all, the things I make are still of the quality where they look home-made, but for me it’s not just the end product that matters – I like to stitch or bake love into my creations and wrap them in kisses, sending a part of me with each one, keeping our connections going in some way, even across oceans.
Today I watched ‘Little House on the Prairie’. It is a programme that I used to sit and watch with my children, the girls because they liked Laura and Mary, my son because he was outnumbered by 3 women in the house with only one tv, and me because I had the hots for Michael Landon. The Ingles’ sentimental, sugary, pious attitude to life never failed to touch us and when it came to the episode about Xmas where they each received one present only, hand-made by their parents, it made me yearn for that tradition rather than the massive consumerism that we experience today with regard to any celebration, not just Xmas. Watching the programme again today those same sentimental feelings were re-kindled so it’s my desire, no matter how ill or fatigued I am, to make at least one thing for every person on my list, even if it’s only a card or a jar of jam.
When I lived in Nepal we celebrated all the Hindu, Christian and Buddhist festivals as they were on all the official calendars. I loved how the people there were so accommodating about other religions and joined in with all the celebrations. Xmas for me over there was strange because I was so far away from my family and as a volunteer I was living on ‘pocket money’ of about £20 per month, so didn’t have the cash to splash out and spend freely like I was used to. That was the year I first started making things for people and whilst my efforts were, and still are, amateurish, I experience the same sense of fun, excitement and joy.
Xmas for Christians is obviously about celebrating the birth of their Saviour and whilst I have a tenuous relationship with Christianity, I’m all in favour of peace on earth, goodwill toward wo/men. I love the Nativity story and what it teaches us about love and compassion and how it fits in perfectly with my ‘political’ views. I love how Joseph was prepared to take a pregnant woman and raise her child as his own. I love how both the poor and the mighty were taken to see the child, and also how the lowly birth of this one child was so threatening to a powerful king. But most of all what I love is the story of a young girl, called upon to do something she is afraid of, who gives birth to one of the most famous men in history with only Joseph by her side, in the straw in a stable. Now that’s inspiring and something to celebrate.