December is a month full of new and old traditions and, maybe because of that, nostalgia floods my heart in this season. Memories I always treasure, that makes me happy around Christmas. Here are some of the memories that have come up recently, from different places and times.
– the family memory, from Southern Portugal
Turning back time, to when I was a child. I remember fondly waiting for my Christmas holiday. Counting down the days left in school, because we granddad and greatgrandmother would come for Christmas. They would bring everything that is Danish Christmas with them – nougat, marzipan, gingerbread cookies and liquorice allsorts.
My great-grandmother would make the duck, liver paté, gravy, red cabbage and the house would smell of Christmas. While she cooked, I walked around the Christmas tree imagining what could be in the presents.
Another year, my grandfather took it upon himself to find the Christmas gifts in mid-December. An hour and half later, there they were, in a large chest. My granddad is like a kid, therefore the gifts had to be hid from him as well.
After checking them all out and putting them neatly back, I felt that all the anticipation for Christmas was gone. It was then I promised myself never to search for the gifts again.
– the pub & train one, from Aberystwyth, Wales
I did my Masters in Politics at Aberystwyth University and it was such a cosy season to experience there. We were almost done with term at Uni and just as we handed in our last essays, we went into town for a pint. Everyone was cheery and ready for the holidays. The pubs were decorated in all ribbons, baubles and a warm, golden light illuminated the pavement. We went into Scholars and it smelled like mullet wine. Everyone gather around the table, telling what they were going to do over Christmas break.
The next day, a cold walk along the promenade and, then, another Christmas gathering with mullet wine and minced pies. It was this evening, I was introduced to Christmas crackers and I was amazed at the crowns and the trinckets.
Next day, I was packed and ready to go to Copenhagen for Christmas and to Lisbon for New Years. I was looking forward to the train ride to Birmingham, I was going to experience the ‘going home for Christmas’ feeling, being taken over the hills, into small Christmas lit towns and onwards. Sightly hungover, I boarded my train, with all the other students off to their homes. As the trolly passed, I got a cup of tea and a cookie and spend the whole time looking out the window.
– baking hygge, from Copenhagen
Baking and cooking is always part of Christmas time, isn’t it? Putting time and effort into making food for your loved ones.
One of the traditions, that I cherish is baking Swedish gingerbread with my Icelandic friend. We would drink tea and baking throughout the day. The whole flat would smell of cinnamon, ginger and cardamom. We’d take a few and decorate them terribly.
We bake after a specific Swedish recipe. My friend’s mother has followed this recipe since my friend was born. It’s a cosy familiar tradition.
I bake them every year, but the last two years, have been different, due the famous influenza. At least 300 cookies will get me throught December, with a tin saved for Christmas eve.
– decoration galore and the Harry Potter Studies, from London
Some years ago, I went to the London for some Christmas shopping and to meet friends. The lights in Regent Street, the decor of Liberty London, trying all sorts of toys in Hamleys, ice-skatting by the Natural History Museum, followed by a pint at the closest pub.
The most recent visit to London, was with a friend, who is also a Potterhead. We went to visit the Harry Potter Studios when it was Christmas themed, with the garlands, baubles, snow, and everything magic. We walked around like two kids in giggling at everything, pure heaven.
There are many more memories, that keep popping up now, since I started writing. It’s like opening up a memory box and small details of the past start flowing around you, as a music box and you can see the words flowing out of every little keepsake you own.
If you imagine a Christmas tree with a rug next to it. The tree is large and decorated in a simple way, with red baubles, a glittery golden star and some lights. A girl is sitting on the red rug, with a old tin, which is open. The light brown locks running along her excited face, as she picks up the first piece of paper, which symbolises a memory. And, suddenly, a string of words start to drift into the air, around her it goes. As she smiles broadly, you know she is reliving that memory.
This is the what came to mind when I thought of my memory boxes, with all my little keepsakes, that I hope I’ll make into a book, when my creativity decides I should start.
What is your favourite Christmas memory?
Which one warms your heart the most?
I will be hosting Christmas with my partner, for the first time ever, with our families and I am sure this year will also go into the memory box.
Have a lovely, cosy, calm December and Christmas, wherever you are.