My Christmas list
By Brian Fitzpatrick, Fitzpatricks Private Wealth.
Here is a list of the things I will be doing to make this a cracking Christmas.
1. Buy a new tree – I bought an artificial one, but I can still remember the smell of a real one.
2. Decorate the tree – we got the grandchildren over to put all the decorations on. It is so lovely to see them all excited and aglow. It reminds me of doing the same thing in my childhood and how special it felt. It also reminds me of how my dad loved his tree and the boyhood naiveté he brought to Christmas.
3. Buy some gifts for those I love – can you remember saving your pocket money to buy your mum and dad something that you thought was wonderful? I put so much love into my childhood purchases. This year I am being particularly thoughtful about my gift buying and personalising every one.
4. Order the ham – I remember the ritual of slicing the ham, something my dad did with a religious zeal.
5. Cook the Pudding – every year we use Nanna’s recipe and still have threepence and sixpences to put into it.
6. Set out the Nativity set – I remember the year I broke the baby Jesus and mum got cranky. The grandchildren set it up this year without a breakage.
7. Put up the lights – my childhood house had coloured lights on the front verandah at Christmas and I knew it was special. We might not have starred in a classic Chevy Chase movie, but we do make a fairy playground on the patio.
8. Christmas Eve – I went to bed with a racing heart and woke at dawn to run out to the lounge room and dive into the fun. I miss the kids waking us up with their unbridled excitement.
9. Open the presents – my best memory is my new cricket bat when I was 10 and a Beatles album when I was 14. Nowadays, it’s more about watching other people’s joy than opening my own.
10. Give to others – I was about 8 years old and I ran out in the street to see the other kids. One neighbourhood family had a dad out of work and received no presents. My sister and I went home, re-wrapped some of our presents and gave them a gift each. Mum found out and invited the whole family to Christmas lunch.
11. Go to church – whether it was midnight service or in the morning, I loved belting out the carols. After church, there was always a sense of community as we spoke to other families.
12. Christmas music – has there ever been a better Christmas song than “White Christmas”? I have about a dozen CD’s that get a run every year, and it’s a great season in my musical calendar.
13. Christmas dinner – too much pork crackling, too much trifle and too much noise – delightful!
14. Christmas night – sit together and watch a movie. It used to be “Miracle on 34th Street” every year. Our new family movie ritual is “The Snowman” by Raymond Briggs. Three generations of our family watch it together.
15. The clean-up – “One of the most glorious messes in the world is the mess created in the living room on Christmas day. Don’t clean it up too quickly.” Andy Rooney.
The most beautiful thing for me about Christmas is that it brings us together, it perpetuates our rituals and it triggers memories of love shared with our special ones.