Once upon a time, many moons ago in another world our Christmases had lots of frills, decorations, abundance and a variety of delicacies. With the years and changing locations from Christmases in Mexico City, to Cairo, to Chicago, Warsaw and Rome and a few in Canada, we have simplified.

Some of our abodes were large and allowed us to make two Christmas trees, one major and one minor. With staff and cooks we could receive easily and even on our own we did manage to make for Festive occasions.


Rome, Piazza Venezia, in front of the Altar of the Nation.

We have accumulated and still do ornaments from places we visit, all hand made, some hand painted and with years they have taken on a history of their own. We do have ornaments from all around the world and all with a story, all from small artisan shops or artists.

This is our last Christmas at this current address, as we will have to move in the New Year to a new destination. I hope the next address will be larger to allow us more space for occasions like Christmas.

The other day I read a front page headline in a newspaper declaring that Christmas is for Children. I disagree with that sentiment, basically if you have no children or if you are elderly or single, you are excluded from Christmas according to that way of thinking. I think this sentiment of putting the emphasis on children is highly commercial and in tune with the consumer society. Go out and spend like mad for the Tots and feel really guilty if you don’t max your credit card, what a lot of bunk.

Forget it, Christmas is for everyone and has little to do with gifts. My Mom use to tell me that as a child in the 1930’s she would get a book, some clothing, an apple or an expensive gift like an orange and they were given on 6 January, Epiphany. In Europe this is certainly the case, gifts in Italy are given on that Holiday and not on 25 December.

Christmas as observed in many countries where I lived was a time for quiet reflection, music, family gatherings, Church services or just a quiet time. It is not a time to get frazzled and overly stressed with relatives or spending way to much time at the Shopping Mall. Luckily I have never been one for Malls and have been spared from the ugly relatives. I also do not believe in the perfect gift or creating artificial special moments, too silly for me. It happens or it does not, you cannot create such things, unless you believe the Hollywood commercial fantasies.

We are having friends for dinner on 24 December, an early Réveillon and on 25 December we are having a neighbour over for Roast Goose and home made Plum Pudding. We will attend a few concerts and spend time with the puppies and that is plenty for us. Wishing you a peaceful time for the Holidays.



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Christmas 1979