I love the Christmas season, as we get loads of visitors from a large cross-section of our community. From school students and their dinner graduation celebrations to work parties, from friends and families catching up to the slowing trickle of tourists heading either north or south, its a lovely time to see people coming together to celebrate.
Its the one great thing I enjoy with the cafe. I am incredibly lucky to get a glimpse into other people’s lives: watching them meet up over coffee, for a birthdays, celebrate a wedding, say farewell or congratulations, its a lovely feeling knowing that I and of course my staff – Vanessa, Danielle and Kylie (plus the extras we’ve dragged in, too many to mention) that we have been a part of and witnessed significant events in people’s lives.
As we’ve now closed the cafe for the summer season (its simply too hot out here in the valley!) I can finally reflect upon and mull over what my own Christmas celebration means. To me its all about family, the coming together whether it be large or small and doing things together. I’ve had various types of Christmases: ones overseas, ones without significant family members, ones with loads of family visitors in the house, ones that I’ve worked through and a couple that I’ve celebrated by myself. But perhaps the one thing that I’ve learnt from all of them, is that Christmas is what you make it – not what everyone else thinks, does or wants.
Perhaps the most memorable one, and for all the wrong reasons, was the one where I didn’t put any effort into it. Christmas day was boiling hot and lunch consisted of ham and cheese toasted sandwiches, and we all just veged around the house. At the end of the day I was like ‘was that it?’. Very disappointing.
Now that’s going back a few years but it did make me wake up and realise that if you want to celebrate anything, you’ve got to put some effort in. It doesn’t have to be over the top as sometimes just the little touches can make it memorable. Whether its playing a family game, doing a jigsaw puzzle on the dining room table (that stays there for the next 2 weeks), making something celebratory to eat (and there’s load of easy recipes out there with inexpensive ingredients, having a game of beach cricket, ringing up family members who you’ve not chatted to for ages – there’s always something that you can do to make a day different, special and generate feelings of love for both yourself and your loved ones.
Maybe its not something you do for you and immediate family, but something you do for others, leave a pressie for the house sitter, wrap up a tin of dog food for the dog, help at a local volunteer kitchen to bring cheer to people who don’t have much over the season, visit your neighbour who you’ve not said hello to for awhile, – I am sure there are so many lovely suggestions out there.
So on that note, I’ll wish everyone a lovely and safe festive season. Remember the loved ones who can’t and won’t be with you, love the ones who are and share your love to those who need it most around you.
Chat soon, Liz