“When we recall Christmas past, we usually find that the simplest things — not the great occasions — give off the greatest glow of happiness.” Bob Hope
And so be it for me as well for when I think of Christmas’s from my childhood, what burns brightest in my mind is quite possibly the most simplest of traditions: the hand picking of the real life tree from the family Farm, hanging each of the individually named baubles (one for every family member, past and present) and celebrating with our large extended family.
Once the calendar flipped to December 1, my Dad would hook up the old wooden trailer that would normally haul fresh produce from the paddocks and together with any of the ‘city cousins’, aunts or uncles who happened to be here for Christmas we’d all scramble to get a position atop its dusty slats.
The cherry coloured tractor would sputter to life and off we’d trundle towards the dense bushland that fringed our beloved Farm where the scouting process for the perfect tree would begin in earnest. In amongst giggles and good natured ribbing finally the ideal one would be selected, felled and attached to the trailer.
Now on foot, we’d traipse back past the dam and up the hill towards home where Nan would be waiting with some freshly baked goodies to feast on while the real fun to me would begin. The kids would be let loose to decorate the tree!
The final product would not be your usual fair found in the glossy pages of some home magazine, oh no. Tossed tinsel would hang where it landed before the scared act of bauble hanging began. And no, I’m not talking about any of the fancy crafted Christmas trinkets you see for sale this day. Nope, it was simply a case of my Nan buying a box of brightly coloured material covered baubles and taking to them with a felt pen to ensure everyone of them was adorned with a family members name. And the fact my Dad was one of 10 kids and I have countless first cousins meant that there were quite a few required!
|Check out that tree – not to mention a small selection of the extended family
present on Xmas morn all decked out in our 80’s finest!
Its been 10 years since we had our last huge extended family Christmas at The Farm; people and times change as the years pass and life takes us all on different trajectories. Plus, when the once little branches of the family begin to sprout new limbs, it gets harder to maintain such huge traditions. Some simple things stay the same though as you can see – in my house we have started to again uphold the bauble tradition too. And while its a much more fancy one than we had back in the day, the love and thought behind it is the same. Christmas and family will eternally be forever intertwined to me.