Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Tuesday Talk -Time - Making Christmas Memories

This Tuesday at The Pink Heart Society, founder Trish Wylie warms up for her return to us as a regular columnist in 2015 with a post about Christmas traditions and making memories.

We all have family traditions and memories of Christmas from years gone by. My earliest ones of the latter mostly consist of not being able to sleep on the night I knew Santa was coming and going downstairs before it was light outside to see if the presents had arrived. Exciting times!

That little bit of Christmas magic disappeared when I got older but I was lucky enough to get another taste of it with my nieces and nephews when they were little. We lived right next door to each other for many years and they could see my Christmas tree from their bedroom windows...

'Auntie Trish has her tree up, does that mean ours can go up, too?' soon cleverly became 'Auntie Trish can you put your tree up early so mummy has to put ours up?' And on Christmas morning they'd knock on my door at the scrape of dawn to bring me my presents and open the ones I'd kept under my tree for them. 'Come and see what Santa brought us!'

No amount of grumbling or pleading for coffee before I ventured outdoors would make them leave without me. Even when there was snow on the ground!

I miss those days.

They were some of the best Christmas times of my life. But inevitably, the kids grew up and that little bit of magic was lost again. Like many families, we're spread around the country now with various commitments to fulfill and Christmas mornings more often than not consist of numerous phone and Skype calls to share the joy. It's lovely, but not quite the same.

Thankfully, as tends to happen, those 'kids' are having kids of their own and the magic is coming BACK!

Last year, my great niece was too little to understand much about what was going on but that didn't stop me thinking about the future and how I could be part of the new Christmas memories she's making, even when I'm not there. At the time, I'd started knitting again - something I'd been taught to do in Primary School but hadn't bothered with much over the years. When I found a pattern for mini-mittens, I was hooked. They were easy to do, could be run up in a couple of hours while watching TV and when I posted a pic of them on Facebook, they were a hit! Then I discovered mini-animals, some of them wearing hats and scarves, and I knew what I wanted to do...

Make Christmas decorations.

A few new ones each year to add to her collection. Maybe even a little hand-stitched sack with a ribbon at the top for her to keep them in. Little keepsakes, made with lots of love.

The first little chap I made was a penguin. He turned out Okay. Not bad for a first attempt. I was pleased with him. Though I do still worry about the fact he doesn't have feet, happy or otherwise. Shall have to rectify that in the future when I make him some friends!

Then I made Hedgehog and fell in love the moment I stitched his little eyes. He almost didn't leave my house but the way I looked at it, if he could make my great niece smile as much as he'd made me smile, what more could I possibly want for Christmas?

That was the whole point, after all. To give her something special, unique to us - something we can talk about in years to come when we pick out some of our favourites and I can tell her how they were made. Maybe even get to the point where we'll make some together. Though there's no rush on that one.

She's already growing too darn fast!

This year she's obsessed with 'Danta' (possibly something to do with the endless supply of chocolate lollies available to children who visit his grotto) and all the Christmas trees are rewarded with an 'ooohhh' for their sparkly lights. And while she becomes more aware of the joys of the season, here in my little cabin, her Christmas collection is growing with her.

Rudolph was next. I wasn't certain the antlers would work out and it's just as well he's a hanging decoration because he would never be able to stand on those spindly little legs, but he's my favourite so far.

Then came Robin, or Robin Mk. 2 as he ended up being when I forgot to change colours while knitting his body and had to start all over again. Plump enough to bend a branch of the tree, don't you think? As all Robin's should be...

By now, I'm thoroughly obsessed with making these decorations and collect patterns wherever I can find them. But I have to remember this is a long term project. One I plan to be working on for many years to come. It's my hope that my great niece will look forward to the new additions each year and putting them on the tree will become part of her Christmas traditions. For all of them to make it to the status of family heirloom is possibly a little optimistic but it would be nice if a few survived. Preferably worn around the edges and much loved.

The 'Danta' material all these cuties are sitting on became the sack I mentioned. I spent the night before last stitching it together with golden thread (somewhat haphazardly in places but isn't that part of the charm of handmade things? That's the excuse theory I'm sticking with!). And next year, not only do I get to add to the collection again, I'll be starting another one for the next baby who is due to join our family in March. Yes, there's more magic on the way!

Little kids and Christmas are a very special combination and seeing the season through new eyes is a gift no amount of money can buy. If you have, or have had, little ones in the house then you know exactly what I mean. And if your little ones have grown up, I can highly recommend encouraging them to settle down and produce a few of their own. Heck, borrow some for a few hours if necessary - with permission, obviously! - in the chaos of the last few days before Christmas, their parents will probably be happy to loan them out.

Merry Christmas everyone!!!

Watch out for Trish's return as a columnist in the New Year when she will be relaunching her website and bringing us exciting news about her writing! In the meantime, you can follow her on Facebook or Twitter.


  1. Lovely post Trish... I was babysitting my 2-year-old niece last night and reading her The 12 Bugs of Christmas (one of my boys favourite books way back when). Brought all the memories back (including how bolshy 2-year-olds can be!!) Have a good one. xx

    1. Thanks, Heidi! Includes many of my absolute fav topics :)

      12 Bugs of Christmas is a new one to me. Shall have to check it out for next year! And yes, it's funny how much we forget, isn't it? Personally I'd forgotten how much ENERGY they have and how tiring that can be. I have NO IDEA how parents do it full time. Particularly if they're a parent who writes at home!

      Hope you have a fabulous time with the family over Christmas! xxx

  2. Merry Christmas to the whole family! I love this post and you're right, you're making wonderful memories with and for her.

    1. And to all in SF too, honey!

      You know me and the memories thing. Nothing makes me smile more than when the kids talk about days out or weekends away or things we did when they were little. They remember that so much more than what Santa brought them on specific years. At least I THINK they do! ;) xxx