I love Christmas – everything about it from Advent Calenders and candles, to Christmas trees and decorations; Christmas jumpers, crackers and puddings. I love mince pies, wrapping Christmas presents and writing Christmas cards. I’m one of those terrible people who send Christmas newsletters with every card, not so much because I think people are going to be fascinated by my epic life style but because I want to put the effort in to keeping in touch with people I am probably not likely to see during the next year and probably haven’t seen in the last year. I inherited my love of Christmas from my mother, one of the more ‘ordinary’ things I inherited from her. She always put up Christmas decorations as near to 1 December as she could manage. She always had a ‘real’ Christmas tree, holly and mistletoe. She wasn’t someone who went with colour ‘themes’; she just added to her growing collection of Christmas decorations. I have been fortunate enough to inherit a lot of her Christmas baubles and decorations, some of which have got broken over the years but at least I use them. I know she would be pleased about that. They are a nice reminder of some happy Christmases at home. However, she would never cook turkey for Christmas dinner; she thought it was boring and I have inherited that from her also. Quite often she would cook beef or lamb on Christmas Day and then there would be a ham joint and enormous pork pie for Boxing Day. As she got older she became more adventurous with Christmas Dinner. The most memorable was lobster. We all loved that with her own version of potato salad. Lemon sole was good as was venison. This is another trait I have inherited from her; Christmas Dinner for me has always been something different. Pidgeon, ostrich, kangaroo but last Bar-B-Q of kangaroo burgers in Beacon Hill Country Park was possibly the best.
My mother was always very original in the presents she bought and I still have some really lovely pieces of china she bought for me. She would never ask what someone wanted; her imagination stood her in good stead. When I went to university my mother started knitting. Can’t remember why; it was certainly not something she did when I was a child. She was a prolific knitter but not someone who worked to lots of different patterns. From the day she started knitting I received a jumper for every Christmas (and birthday and Easter and……), all the same style but all very different colours. At the height of her knitting I had about 25 jumpers of the same style but different colours and different wool. I was glad when she stopped using Angora wool – not really my style but always very functional. Unfortunately my father wouldn’t wear a hand-knitted jumper so I was the sole recipient, except for some unfortunate boyfriends who might be around at Christmas.
My mother liked a good Christmas tea towel and, of course, I have inherited that love as well. My Christmas tea towels are put away in the ‘Christmas Cupboard’ and come out on 1 December each year, returning on 5 January. Comparative to the rest of my collection, Christmas tea towels are small in number – possibly about 30 to 40. In order to use them all each year I have to use each for a very short period of time. This year I am faced with another dilemma: how am I going to incorporate them in to my Blog. I have thought about this long and hard. The problem with Christmas tea towels is that they rarely relate to a particular place, and more often than not are naff, dearly cherished but still naff. The themes are also somewhat limited – calenders, 12 Days of Christmas, Father Christmas and robins. I have decided that I will try and Blog as many of my Christmas tea towels throughout December and the first five days of January. If I don’t complete them they will have to be saved for Chrsitmas 2016. I don’t usually acquire many new Christmas tea towels each year (although I suspect with my heightened awareness of tea towels that comes with this Blog it might be different this year).
Many of my Christmas tea towels have been inherited and some that I count as Christmas ones could possibly pass as winter tea towels but that would make my life too complicated. Let me introduce you to the tea towel at the top of this page. I was given this tea towel by my friend Jean who has been very ill this year and has had to move into nursing care. When she gave up her flat she gave me her tea towels. This one could be descibed as a ‘Winter Tea Towel’ with a couple of robins sitting in a holly bush covered in snow. I do like the fact that there is an old kettle in the garden; it reminds me of one of my flower beds with a terracotta tea pot hidden amongst the yellow irises. This is a scene that is typical of many Christmas cards and for me is also reminiscent of Thomas Hardy’s Cottage Garden and his poem the ‘Darkling Thrush’. I think this is a sweet tea towel and a good lead-in to the Christmas Blog.