Tuesday, 1 December 2009

On Winter, or Christmas part one

As I walked to work this morning I caught sight of a sparkling leaf. Dusted with frost, it lay across my path and reminded me of the beauty of winter, which I have tried to show in the following poem.

The crisp whip of wind lashes,
Stark cold trails blazed by icy tendrils
Reaching through the dark,
To swathe foreign lands
In sparkling ribbons.

Water relinquishes its element as
Crystal splinters of ice mutate
To reflect the darkling sun,
Sinking into premature glory,
In a burst of bronze.

Barren landscapes offer up
Weary berries for visual bounty,
Ruby orbs clinging on to hostile limbs
Shining out through natures contempt,
Waiting to be plucked.

The crisp, cold, bright days followed by clear, starlit nights lead to Christmas - my favourite time of year.

Every year I go home to my mum's in West Sussex and every year we follow the same timetable and I would be devastated (yes, devastated) if anything were to change. I have clung on to my little Christmas rituals for years. Nevermind that I am twenty-five and my sister is thirty-one (and, this year, heavily pregnant - so, surely a grown-up now?) we still HAVE to have stockings. Spoilt? Yes. But, without a visit from Father Christmas I would be seriously discombobulated. It is a little odd that Father Christmas has to visit before I go to bed as he (my mum) goes to bed before me but I choose to ignore this and pretend that Father Christmas is ho ho ho-ing his way down our chimney to deposit my bag of goodies.

An obsession of mine (apart from the continuation of the stocking) is the food. Christmas lunch is my 'meal of the year' as soon as I have stuffed myself senseless and had a recovering lie down, I start dreaming about next year's feast. It is what gets me through each year (I am not exaggerating). Everyone claims that their mother's cooking is the best which is utter, laughable nonsense. My mother's cooking really is the best and when partnered with my granny, well stand back Delia is all I can say. I do intend to do a full write up of our Christmas lunch as it is worthy of its own post.

There are so many things about Christmas that I love. So many, that I will post more on Christmas as Advent progresses.


  1. Yay - I love it when someone validates my own neuroses! I too, am unhealthily obsessed with keeping Christmas EXACTLY THE SAME. It was only recently that my parents finally put their foot down about signing one present a year "From Santa."

    I moved in with my boyfriend this year (we lived on different continents for years), but pooh-poohed anyone's suggestion that we actually spend the holidays together. We see each other all the time now - why take away from sister time? If I ever have kids I may have to reconsider this.

  2. So true in every way. if Christmas day does not involve an overdose of satsumas and me having a walk alone in the afternoon to escape the family, it's not Christmas.

  3. That was lovely, tradition is a wonderful thing. I absolutely must watch A Christmas Carol, the black and white version, every Christmas Eve before bed. And in my forties, I still have a stocking too!

  4. Ok, get your facts straight - i may be pregnant but i will NEVER be a grown up!
    As you know i have already had an anxiety dream involving our Christmas Stockings being down sized/stopped and had to check with Mum that this was in fact only a terrible nightmare.
    Writerspet - i too am so intent on keeping family Christmas rituals that my partner of 12 years has never actually spent Christmas with me!
    The excitment and enjoyment we get out of this festive period is a testament to our lovely family!

    abs x

  5. I wish I still got a stocking. I was keen to uphold the tradition but my Mum ran out of steam when I was about 14.

    On the plus side, last year I spent Christmas with my boyfriend, the first year without the family. And while I still didn't get a stocking, at least I got to fill my old knitted stocking for him. And intend to do so again this year!

    Look forward to more Christmassy posts Naomi!

  6. Gorgeous poem. I adore Christmas too, and I would also be *very* upset if I didn't have an advent calendar and a stocking as part of it. Who says this stuff is just for children?!

  7. I wondere whereabouts in West Sussex you will be going. A friend of mine lives in Fernhurst so I visit the area often (especially shopping in Haslemere!) My daughter is also 25 and is constantly twittering on about coming home, the stockings and lunch. The tradition in our household is that she and her younger brother buy it all ready prepared from M & S and cook on the day. Have a lovely Christmas - you will!

  8. Thanks for this charming post. By the way, I'm not sure if I've commented on your blog, if so hello from a lurker - as I believe non-commenters are sometimes known - it rather sounds like something one could be arrested for!

    I too love Christmas traditions. I'm not a great fan of winter, more than anything else because I don't like the darkness. I increasingly look forward to December 21st because I know that once it has passed the days slowly start to get longer once again.

  9. What a lovely post - your Christmas traditions sound wonderful!
    I like your poem very much as well - the imagery is beautiful and it really captures the romantic and yet very hostile nature of winter. The berries in the picture are beautiful as well - the frost makes them look sugar-dusted and almost edible!

  10. Writerspet - I agree. Mr BBell and I have been together for approaching 9 years but I could never dream of missing my mum's lunch!

    Rachel - satsumas are perfect

    Darlene - glad to hear you still have a stocking!! long may it continue.

    Anonynmous (ahem)- I know you will never be a grown-up. I hope you are getting ready for our annual cluedo-athon

    Verity - I hope you get a stocking this year! I love scrabbling around at the bottom.

    Sophie - absolutely not just for children!

    OhSoVintage - a village near Chichester. It's a treat for you that you get your lunch cooked for you - we subject our poor mum to slaving away all day!

    David - lurkers are more than welcome! I thought I liked the darkness until it started to get dark before 4pm. It's ok on the weekend but not during the week!

    Jane - thanks for complimenting my poem. Am never sure whether to post up my own writing. The berries do look edible!

  11. Hello BB!

    I'm another lurker who's outing herself. Although I'm a bit sad not to be a proper lurker any more, it sounds so pleasantly nasty.

    Anyway, I too really enjoyed your poem; I don't live in Britain any more and reading it (under a blanket with a nice cup of jasmine tea) made me homesick for sharp frosts and mossy twigs, but in a nice way.

    Best wishes, Helen

  12. I wish my family still held to tradition, but we are spread to the four corners of the country. My favorite, get-me-through-the-year meal is Thanksgiving (I live in the U.S.). My best friend's parents sort of adopted me when my dad died and I go there every year. Mrs. M's cooking rocks!!! YUM!

  13. What an enchanting post and poem.

    I adore Christmas but this year I haven't felt at all festive; this post is contributing to the mild Christmassy feeling that is now creeping up on me. It makes me sad that I am not feeling my usual self at this time of year but these things happen. Perhaps my own and family traditions help over the next couple of weeks.