I've just finished packing away the tree, carefully storing away ornaments, branches and all the other bits and bobs involved.
I love decorating the tree. When I was a kid it was the most wonderful thing to open the box of Christmas. It had a little wooden nativity set, decorations and a smell. The Christmas smell. To this day I'm not sure what the smell was but I know when we opened that box I would be flooded with joy. Christmas! In Alice Springs we used to buy our REAL Christmas tree from Kmart. Oh how I loved the process of selecting a tree and inhaling that pine fresh smell. We would take it home, stick it in a bucket and decorate it, listening to Boney M carols and feeling that all was right with the world.
Then of course my dear Dad went and died early one Christmas morning. From then on, Christmas was greeted with dread, not joy. My Mum in particular found it terribly hard, the carols, the well wishes, the memories. We would just endure it and be glad when it was all over.
I can't remember when it was that I re-opened that box of Christmas, I think it was some years later. I was an angsty teen, trying hard not to care, self pity flowing through my veins. But when I opened that box and smelt that smell, of so much joy and happy memories, when I saw that precious nativity set, I felt love, not pain. I felt happy to have the memories. Sometimes remembering the good stuff is harder than the bad stuff, sometimes it hurts more to remember the love. But that smell reminded me of too much happiness, so I was never going to be miserable about Christmas again.
You know the rest. My magnificent children came along and healed me up, at least where Christmas is concerned. Now it's a time for family, food and presents! They look forward to it as much as I ever did. I felt so privileged today, packing away that tree, remembering all this (so much so I had to write it whilst it was fresh!). Grateful for making these memories now.