Here you are… the clock and the calendar have ticked and clicked around to you yet again…
My December is the feeling of Christmas coming – a slow and relentlessly gorgeous anticipation of celebration, of receiving and of feasting. Then there is the savoured future joy of family and friends coming together; of anticipated gifting and unwelcomed bloating.
That is December in my head and heart; and then there is the external twelfth month landscape too. Sunlight and chill combine to crisp refreshment of the senses – the cold stinging us into action, so we must dance and cush through our outdoor chores to return as quickly as we can to the internal warmth and comfort of anti-cold, back to our own warm and cosy indoor comforts.
December’s outdoor world is alternatively gloomy and sunny. I dive into the lush, sunny, crisply cold days. These days are meant for walking, and I devour them with all my senses – frost under foot, slickly wet autumnal leaves carpeting the ground, a lack of smell sense, bare and beautiful trees; ice skimming and then thickening the surfaces of puddles and ponds, widening as the thermometer dips…
These are my December days and as we troll down to the end of the year, the dark nights deepen and thicken and deprive us of daylight. On past winter days I have risen in the dark, worked in caves of chores and returned back to my lair, hidden in the same darkness – a kind of celestial vampire, never seeing, and so starved of the sun.
Then somehow we contrive to bring the outside be-wintered December into our interiors. Chopping down and dragging in fir trees or counterfeiting them with tinsel or plastic representations of their tree selves. Then we spray and scatter pretended snow and bring in boughs of holly and mistletoe – the forgotten ghosts of our pagan past.
So my indoor world transforms to Christmas land with decorations collected over decades and added into every single year. Boxes brought down from the dark attic, waiting their turn, and when opened, bringing with them joyous shocks of remembrance – a year of Christmas stored in the glistening darkness, germinated and then liberated to live in the Christmas light for a few shiny, glamorous weeks. Then the cards trickle in and are displayed – from colleagues, cohorts and friends; from long lost cousins and nearly long lost friends of decades gone.
I love the preparations… I take and make them languorously and slowly, relishing the joy of Christmas transformation, dining and dancing, of presents wrapped to be deliciously unwrapped. To choose the present that will delight the gifted one, that will make them pause and smile. There are Christmas decisions to be made – whether to take the time trodden path of tradition or to spice it up with modernity; then again to take and shake all the elements together to make it MY chosen Christmas, a blend of me and of history?
My December is flavoured with gluttony and gastronomy. Spices tingle and warm through mulled wine, mince pies and other wintery delicacies. Chocolates rustle, jostle and abound. Spirits chink in glasses and some seem reserved solely for Chringle tide – port and advocaat stay firmly at the back of my drunken cupboard for 11 months of the year, and then in December are opened, poured and appreciated in their own spiritual season.
December is winter through and through. The distinct and distant possibility of snow can transform our outdoor world and seize up the systems of transport and safety – slipping us up, or blanketing our dull world with white ethereal beauty.
December is light and shade. A tingled anticipation or a mangled realisation of misplaced expectation. Expectation or negative association can be heavy and brutal, so consciously choose delicious anticipation and feel and fly through your own December.
So December is a choice, a feeling, a flux of emotions. Choose wisely and craft your Christmas to you. For all that your December is, I wish you joy of it, to love and revel in the now of it.
So dream your December, deem your December; live it and love it.
And so Dear December, another end here begins…
Yours, again and again.
PS: As Christmas comes round and you are thinking of a gorgeous gift, a collection of my ‘Peachey Letters’ have been gathered together in book form. It makes the perfect present, for you, family and friends… You can buy it on my website here or from Amazon (in Paperback and Kindle)…