When Mason and Zane visited yesterday the Christmas Tree was up and bare except for its sparkly underwear of lights. The boxes of treasures waited for us to dress the tree. I said to Zane ‘What one shall we put on?’ and without opening the box quick as a wink he said ‘the blue man and the red man’. We couldn't believe our ears. He’s not three yet. He was twenty-two months old last Christmas and he remembered his favorite decorations. What a stunning memory. Human beings have stunning memories. We looked in the box and there they were waiting for him to put on the tree. He showed them to Mason his brother. Mason was inspired to crawl to the tree and they put the men from Russia on the tree.
Well, I think it is traditional that I write a Christmas Tree blog now for the third Christmas in a row. I have been reflecting on tradition. The dictionary tells us it is the transmission of customs or beliefs from generation to generation, or the fact of being passed on in this way. And here we have been decorating the Christmas Tree all together. Look how much my grandchildren have grown. They get to help decorate.
So... the tree isn’t looking so ‘adult’ this - maybe more eclectic than other years but in many ways much more traditional as we grow, share and transmit our memories. Here we are talking about and revisiting through the prompts of the Christmas Tree decorations. We are growing traditions by sharing memories, feelings for and with each other. We talked about; The heart your mummy made at Brownies - The time I was in Germany - squashed into beautiful little Christmas shop in Freiburg with my friends - The ‘king’ star decoration Hawaiki remembered from last year - The time my nan and pop gave us some christmas tree lights when I was little - Pipiana’s best is ‘golden ball’ though I notice the dolls from Russia are interesting too - The elf from their great aunty Anna who loved their Nana so.
Memories are shared and the decorations once again this year have the power to prompt the ‘rememberings’ that now become the stories for another generation to revisit. The memories are shared in the stories and the memories are stored in the feelings. Maybe it is not about the ‘red man’ or the ‘king’ or the ‘golden ball’ - maybe just maybe it is about being with a Nana who tells stories and trusts me to put the precious decorations high high up on the tree. Maybe one-day they will say ‘Remember when Nana Kathryn ...’. Maybe just maybe it is all about love - the kind of love that is traditional.
Wendy shared this quote from Maya Angelou with us “I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
Best wishes for many new memories and the opportunity to create ‘rememberings’ and traditions with your loved ones this year.