As far as I remember we always have had a real Christmas tree. It was – as my mum and dad joked – to heal Dad’s childhood trauma. My dad, when he was a little boy always dreamt about having a ‘real’ Christmas tree. One year, he begged his dad to get him a proper pine tree. His dad duly went outside, selected something from the pine family (in this instance it was part of a hedge) and improvised a stand using a bucket of concrete. Of course, this presented a couple of problems: firstly, branches in hedges only grow pine needles on the side that faces the sun and so this small Christmas tree was already lopsided (not having needles on one side).
This in itself became less of a problem because secondly, a branch stuck in a bucket of concrete doesn’t survive too long – on account of it not having any water to drink. So within 36 hours, all the needles had died and fallen off leaving a stick in a bucket of concrete. Unsurprisingly, this didn’t really embody the Christmas spirit my dad had intended.
So there was no question that my parents could ever settle for a plastic tree. I think mum & dad really want us to have good memories and make Christmas special.
Changing and evolving tradition
Before my little brother was born we dressed the tree with Christmas decorations from around the world. Wherever we travelled we always brought a new decoration for our tree. These were very precious to my mum. No surprise when my little brother passed his first birthday she was concerned he would find the Christmas decorations fascinating and difficult to resist.
From that day back in December 2014 we had begun our new Christmas traditions. We decided to store mums precious decorations in a box (for the time being) and revert to a more baby friendly Christmas tree. Every year from then on we are baking gingerbread biscuits and paint/decorate them so really there are no 2 cookies the same hanging on our tree. We also hang sugarcanes and small apples on it too. I can tell you it is magical and the smell of the gingerbread mixed with the scent of the fresh cut tree will stay with me forever.
Last year we welcomed another ‘member’ to our family: Edward the Elf. Santa left us the letter and a little parcel. The letter said that he brought us a new friend but we have to help him by stitching him together and bringing him to life. It also said that Edward will stay with us all year round to remind us that sharing, giving and caring is not only for Christmas but for the whole year. I really wanted Edward to be born on the 1st day of the new year so my mum and I were very busy trying to stitch him together and be ready by 1st January 2016.
Santa asked us to send him a picture of Edward once he is put together and ready and promised that he will issue him an elf passport so he can travel with us wherever we go. We all love Edward, the Kindness Elf. Santa made us promise that every day we do random acts of kindness towards each other and other people that we meet. He said Edward will be helping us out if we forget or run out of idea.
We have a big white twig tree at home which sits by the front door. This is where Edward lives. At first it was strange to see him sitting there all the time in winter and in summer but we got used to him being with us not only for Christmas. Quite often he leaves us a message in one of the tree branches with a random act of kindness, that we can surprise somebody with. For example, he suggested I visit the Elderly in a nursing home one day. He said they sometimes feel very lonely and they would love to have somebody to come and say hello to them not only in December..
Often, we write a nice message to each other and hang it on a tree branch in the evening for others to find it in the morning. We write how we love each other and how we cherish one another.
It is fun and even though we still argue and are not always nice to each other we never forget the most important thing that we are a family and our hearts sing the same tune.
Edward reminds us about our Christmas back in Europe
This year, being in Australia and having a summer Christmas is all different to all we know and Edward is just about the only thing that reminds us Christmas is coming. This December we decided to do something special with Edward and his random acts of kindness. We all love Australia and are very proud being Australians and having the privilege to live here.
When we used to live in London and travelled into the city by public transport my dad was appalled by how dirty the town is and how shamelessly people are not taking pride in their city and how happy they are to leave the mess behind them wherever they are. Train, busses, streets literally everywhere you could see litter. And it was not for the lack of bins but the good will was missing.
Mum remembers when she visited Australia 10 years ago and spotted a man dropping an empty coffee cup onto the street. There was a woman just behind him seeing what he did. Her face was uncompromising disapproval to the mans action she couldn’t take somebody too lazy to put litter in the bin located just a couple of metres further down the path. She picked up the cup and binned it. Mum never saw such things before but was truly impressed with the woman's actions.
We are blessed to live just across the road from a beautiful beach. I love it as I am very much an outdoors person who loves the nature and the world around me.
What we have noticed however is how much mess and little people are leaving behind them on the beach. It saddens both my mum and myself to see the attitude changing for the worse and people allowing themselves to be messy. Unfortunately, mess left on the beach often is taken into the sea when waves come into the land at high tide. That not only spoils the look but creates dangers to animals living in the sea. All very sad indeed.
So this year we decided that Edward and us will be kind to the nature around us and clean the mess people are leaving behind on the beach. We all truly love nature and want to show kindness to it too. So this Christmas (not only for Christmas) please join us in the effort to clean the mess you see around you. If you don’t make a mess yourself – great! Keep it up but please go a step further and tidy what others were too lazy to do. Lets be kind to one another and lets be kind to Mother Earth. It will not take much effort on your part and will make the world around us so much more beautiful not mention that you will feel like a superhero!
Hope Santa will bring you all your very own Kindness Elf this year and you will have as much fun with him as we have with our Edward... not only for Christmas 🙂
Have a wonderful Christmas
Lots of love Mum and Lily xx