I WANTED to write a full column about blue Christmas lights and how sad they make me. I thought I could tie it to a column about Christmas decorations going up far too early. And about Christmas decorations coming down too early.
Except that seems like a very unimportant topic to write about.
It’s not that I don’t plan for Christmas. With five children and a grandchild that couldn’t be farther from the truth. I follow my Mammy’s and Nana’s traditions of making Christmas cake, pudding and mincemeat as early as possible. Not always as early as they did. But when I do make them I feel so connected. Most of the time I use Delia’s recipes. Old reliables that taste exactly like Christmas. But this year I added dried cranberries to the mincemeat, and I also diverted on the pudding this year. I have made a fruit pudding with chocolate and cherries that were picked from our tree and soaked in brandy for the past few months. It felt a little sacrilegious until I smelt it cooking. It will be a miracle akin to the Immaculate Conception itself if it survives until Christmas Day! I am fully confident my Mammy, Nana and even Delia would forgive me.
So, yes, the planning and anticipation is real. My rafters heave with Christmas decorations, so I really am no Bah, Humbug! on this matter. Basically, anything short of Mammy Christmas’s cottage is a let down. But all in good time. We get a real tree, like the one we had when I was young. Heavy with the scent of pine, sap dripping onto the floor. Different every year, with the sheer joy of going to find it. Anything earlier than two weeks before Christmas and it would be a sorry looking bare stick by the Big Day. So I stick with my Nana’s and Mammy’s timetable. And I don’t get bored with it and I’m always sorry to see it taken down.
And no blue lights, unless accompanied with red, gold, green and other twinkly multi-coloured lights. And definitely none of those medical bright lights – that seem to appear with blue lights. Why would anyone want to light the front of their house to look like an operating theatre? Maybe that’s unfair. Maybe there is a beauty there I simply don’t see.
I want warm white lights or lovely little twinkly multi-colours – just like the ones when I used to turn the big light off and sit in front of the fire and watch for hours on end when I was small, just waiting for Santa to come.
Santa isn’t coming to our house this year for the first time in 22 years and so I think my heart might break on Christmas Eve. But he’s going to my granddaughter’s house for the first time this year. This won’t stop us getting ready just in case he makes an appearance for a mince pie with dried cranberries.
Yeah, I wasn’t going to write any of this. Because really I know I am bucking against anything that doesn’t take me right back to my Mammy’s stirring and my Nana’s singing.
Lights that don’t evoke that? Bah! Early decorations that might spoil it? Humbug!
Real trees, warm lights and two weeks before. Just like Mammy and Nana.
Doesn’t seem so unimportant after all.