Presence

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Christmas is my favourite time of year. I am currently sitting writing this by the twinkle of lights. Our Christmas tree already has presents underneath (you can tell we don’t have children!). There’s something so cosy about sitting by a Christmas tree - glass decorations catching the light, and nativity scenes reminding me of why we (my family) celebrate. 

Putting up our Christmas tree is one of my favourite traditions with my husband. 

December 1st arrives and all Scrooge-like tendencies (from him) lessen. We get all our chores out the way and then switch Christmas music on. My hubby vanishes into the kitchen, armed with cream and ‘Flake’ chocolate bars. 

I start to put the tree up and check the lights work while singing along to Bublé and other artists. As I finish with the lights my husband returns, two hot chocolates in hand. These aren’t just any hot chocolates! He won’t tell me how he makes them but they taste so good. Complete with cream and chocolate flakes. He joins me and we begin to decorate our Christmas tree. We hang baubles and precious decorations, taking breaks to sip our hot chocolates. 

We bought some inexpensive baubles at the beginning of our marriage and each year we either buy or make a decoration for our tree. I love our collection of decorations. They have special meanings which make unwrapping the decorations extra special. There’s the limited edition 'Tangled' decoration that plays our wedding song, and the suitcase which documents our year in Vancouver, Canada. 

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I enjoy reminiscing about experiences we have had, places we have been and people we have grown to love. I have yet to add to our collection this year. I’m thinking about a book-themed decoration but I’m still on the hunt for one that catches my eye. 

Once the tree is decorated and the topper has been placed, we snuggle together and watch a Christmas movie. This year’s choice was ‘Elf.’

Some years I feel the urgency to document every moment of our celebrations. I spend time setting up the camera and trying shots from different angles. 

This year, I have felt an urgency to just be present

I want my mind to be focused on why we celebrate Christmas, not which angle would provide the best photographs. 

Jesse Jackson said: “Your children need your presence more than your presents.” 

I think sometimes we can forget this. We fill our Christmas season with parties and shopping, rushing from one event to the next, working overtime to fund extravagant purchases, and spend January recovering from the craziness of Christmas. 

This year, I want to simplify our plans. Like children, I need my family’s presence more than presents. I hope to plan for time out to watch Christmas movies, to bake delicious treats, and have moments to spare to read Christmas stories with my nephews. I want to schedule in family time, free days to do nothing together. To just be with family at this special time of year.

LifestyleAbi AbleyComment