Do you ever have the sense that you’re trying to reach or search for a feeling or a time or a sensation…one you are sure exists but can’t be pinned down? I get this a lot – it’s a still from a film, an emotion from a song, a picture in my mind from a book, a sense of another time. I think it stems from having an active imagination and being a nostalgic romantic at heart.
Summer, for example, should embody the idea of ‘Summer’ that’s my head. I’d love to describe it, but it’s vague…green lawns, gentle breezes…an elusive waft rather than anything concrete. I’ll most likely never find it and pin it down in Summertime but there’ll be enough of it peeping out through June to September to feed into my ideas of the next one.
But really, let’s get to what this post is actually about…because there isn’t a occasion that cultivates an idea based on imagination and memories much more for me than Christmas. Oh yes, not yet December and I’m getting in with a CHRISTMAS post.
I love a long lead-in. To anything really. This doesn’t mean that things should start happening too early – over-immersion for me doesn’t keep it special, but inside I love looking forward to something, having time to plan and imagine.
I used to dislike this about myself and get disappointed that whatever I was looking forward to didn’t turn out to be as perfect as I hoped it would be…that I wasn’t transported to a scene from my imagination. I’m now wiser and I’m happier with my personality quirks… and most importantly I now understand the value of anticipation.
According to my friendly Oxford English Dictionary ‘anticipation’ in a musical context is the ‘introduction in a composition of part of a chord which is about to follow in full’. This really resonates with me. Yes I am introducing that ‘something’ into my life (well my brain) before it happens, but it’s all part of the same composition, the same event.
If value was measured in time, I get more value from an event or occasion in the months and weeks running up to it than I do on the one day that it happens. I’m fairly sure I won’t find the complete ideal of ‘Christmas’ on December 25th but with a two and a half year old to introduce festive traditions to I am relishing in the anticipation like never before, and I’ve probably almost already felt Christmassy enough for one year:
– Planning what we should leave out for Father Christmas on Christmas Eve. Or Farmer Christmas as my son calls him
– Deciding what food we’ll eat – gammon and a tin of roses is as far as we’ve got
– Planning the five trips away we need to squeeze in for visiting all our family and friends
– Imagining my son coming down to see the presents under the tree on Christmas morning
– Imagining my son’s face and what a happy afternoon he will have on Christmas day playing with his Bob toys
– Trying to find a Christmas Cake recipe
– Choosing an advent calendar
– Receiving instructions from Farmer Christmas as to what I need to source for my son’s stocking
– Looking at our faces in shiny baubles in our local garden centre. (Less festive was then watching as a rogue bauble bounced off the decorative arch and shattered into a hundred pieces on the floor, oops)
– Reading Lucy and Tom at the Seaside, knowing that in a few weeks we’ll be reading Lucy and Tom’s Christmas
– Digging out the festive films for the December weekends
– Scheduling the Christmas decoration date…one day in the week beginning Dec 14th in case you were dying to know. My family were strictly Christmas Eve decs up so this feels very early
– Choosing a special Christmas tree decoration gift for my son (a sparkly train)
– Having my eyes drawn more and more to the Christmas tree (it lives outside our house) and wondering how creature-ridden it is and how long it will have to live in the garage before it comes into the lounge
– Practising my Christmas tunes on the piano (I’m rubbish but can plonk out a few that are recognisable, just)
– London for Blogfest…ok Blogfest wasn’t Christmassy but my husband and I used it as an excuse to have a wintry evening in London wandering around Covent Garden and other suitably festive locations
– Daydreaming about Christmas Day just the three of us: early morning in bed opening stockings, cooking yummy food, tramping through the New Forest, present opening, music and champagne. Maybe rounded off with a Christmas film. I can’t wait!
But that’s the complete point…I CAN wait. Because the waiting is an integral part of it and it’s a part that makes me very happy. And if we all get struck down with flu (like last year) and the champagne is replaced with clear soup then it’s ok because our daydreams of the day are pretty high value!
So if there’s a point to this post, beyond listing my Christmas plans, it’s to encourage you to think of something you are looking forward to and indulge yourself in delicious anticipation. Maybe you’ll even find a wafty vagueness of perfection in it…