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December 24, 2016

Sometimes nostalgia is a lie we tell ourselves, an oft repeated tale that, told often enough, becomes true. This is particularly relevent at this time of year, when we look back at the glimmerings of Christmas past, and remind ourselves that nostalgia is sometimes true, and more often than not, lovely. I remember Christmas as a child; I remember it always being cold, frost and ice painting a delicate silver tracery. I remember Christmas eve, the ritual of visiting neighbours, Mrs Thurlow and Betty, and Mr and Mrs Bennett. I remember my the delicious smell of my mum’s cooking. Her mince pies, sausage rolls and roast pork. I remember the mounting warmth, the magical excitement, not being able to sleep, wishing for tomorrow and waking-up ridiculously early. I remember the splendid tree, the multitude of presents, the honest joy. The ritual of gift giving,’ my dad dishing them out one by one. Christmas was always a special and wonderful time for us. My parents always did what they could to make it special. Of course, in reality, not every Christmas was great, but nostalgia neatly edits reality for us, and provides us with a special memory that still invokes that bright warmth within us. As an adult Christmas isn’t the same, but if you look hard enough you can still find magic. Sadly I no longer get Star Wars figures and lego, and I don’t completely believe in Father Christmas. But I do believe in the spirit of the season, in the possibility of gratitude and the plausability of hope. As I write this, my dog is sleeping by my feet. There is a candle burning and a Christmas tree twinkling. In comparison to my childhood, these are but shadows of the great tree, the decorations, the colour., none of which I can see any more. But in my head the lights are bright, the decorations cheerful, the grass brittle with snow. I doubt I’m getting toys this year, but whatever Father Christmas brings me, it will be appreciated. Whatever you’re getting for Christmas, no matter how big or small, enjoy it, for one day it will make up the landscape of memory. 


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