I should just probably say, up front, that this may be a slightly sad little post. So if you feel you’re all stocked-up on sad for today, maybe leave it for another day… or never. It’s all good. Whatever gets you through.
My eldest brother, Michael, would always buy us Chocolate Santys for Christmas. One for each of us. Patricia didn’t have much time for Chocolate Santys for I got hers too. Double win.
I don’t mean when we were kids either. I mean as adults. We would call up to Michael and Liz’s house on Stephen’s Day and there would be a care package of Chocolate Kimberley’s and, inevitably, Chocolate Santys. As we drove home, on the evening of Stephen’s Day, I would feel so god-damned special to be individually gifted with such personalised care and attention. My very own Chocolate Santy.
It was only at Michael’s funeral that I found out the facts of the matter. Every Christmas, Michael would buy boxes and boxes of Chocolate Santys and give one to everyone he knew. Kids, Adults, Nieces Nephews, Neighbours, Blokes on the Street. Everyone got a Santy from Michael at Christmas.
Do I feel less special now, knowing that it wasn’t just me and my family? Know that I was actually one of a Multitude of people who received a Chocolate Santy from my Brother at Christmas? Do I heck. It’s actually the exact opposite. I feel as proud as punch. Michael had wisdom and wit and love and care and kindness and generosity and a quiet gentle way. Like the Chocolate Santy I got every year, I am just glad to have been one of the lucky ones who was a part of all the gifts he brought with him on his way through the world. It would be churlish of me to wish it all for myself. I’m just glad it all got shared around and doubly glad that I was in on the deal.
From my current vantage point of ‘Knocking on Sixty’, it seems to me that, the older we get, the more Christmas comes around to being about absent family and absent friends. The candles seem to mean more, the toys seem to mean less. The dinner table may no longer be set for them but they’re there all the same, nestling in our minds and gently nudging us in our hearts, should we be too slow to pass the gravy.
So, if you happen to be reading this and your heart and mind is rather full of those who are gone or those who aren’t there, or perhaps both, then my heart goes out to you this morning. Have yourself a nice Christmas, insomuch as you can and, if it’s a tricky day, know that less tricky and considerably brighter ones are now very close at hand.
From me to you. Christmas Morning, 2022. x
Christmas is all about inclusion - the more of you there are to be included, the better. Your brother sounds like he was a wise and lovely guy.
I've always had an "it's complicated" relationship with Christmas and I suspect I'm far from being the only one. Whenever anyone inquires how things went, the postie or the Tesco delivery guy, the one thing they invariably ask, and this goes for Hogmanay too, is: Was it quiet? And when we say it was they nod a certain kind of nod as if it's good that the event was uneventful. Odd that. Not sure I've ever had a chocolate Santy. No doubt they're just like Easter eggs and bunnies both of which I like but haven't had in years; they're expensive for what you get. This year my daughter seemed more into Christmas than she has been of late. I got the feeling it'd turned into a holy day of obligation, something she couldn't get out of and I do understand how that goes, I do.
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