Carols may sing of peace and joy, but the holiday season is the most stressful time of year for many families.
And when December rolls around, it doesn’t take much to make you feel like diving under the covers, or tucking into a different kind of Christmas spirit altogether.
But amid the hustle and bustle, it’s important to remember the true meaning of Christmas.
Regardless of religious views, it’s a special time and an opportunity to reconnect with loved ones. If you are a parent, it’s a time to make memories with kids that can become lifelong family traditions.
Grand gestures aren’t necessary, because it’s the little things that count.
Baking cookies, decorating the tree, and listening to carols are good ways to get into the right frame of mind in the lead-up to December 25.
Savouring the simple things and making the most of the Christmas period is something Rose Skeen, of Botany, has always tried to do.
“Christmas is obviously special for Christian reasons,” says the mum-of-two. “It’s a positive time of year.”
There isn’t a sight or sound of a Grinch in the Skeen household, which is full of little festive touches at this time of year.
A colourful set of little choir singers sit proudly on the television in the family room, which were handed down to Rose by her mother.
|One of three trees. |
A heart-shaped decoration that was bought to celebrate her and her husband Ron’s 30th wedding anniversary last year also takes pride of place.
For Rose, bringing out the decorations and putting up the tree evokes special memories of family fun and happy times.
When her mum moved into a rest-home care facility, she inherited all of her Christmas decorations.
“Christmas is an amazing time of year to make memories with your kids,” she says.
“We can get so caught up in the business of December, so we need to make time and space for family — especially when you have little kids.”
Mangled Santas and dodgy-looking decorations, painted with little fingers for mum and dad, have had their place on the Skeen tree for years after they were made.
“I associate special things with special memories. It’s not the value of it, it’s the memory of things.
“I think we should include all the decorations our children have made. It doesn’t have to be perfect. It’s the meaning that’s gone into making them.”
|COLOURFUL TRINKETS: Confined to family and sitting room. |
“Father would have a revolt if they were elsewhere,” she laughs. “I think it’s enough. You don’t need to decorate everywhere.”
From the time her children were little to well into their teens, Rose took them out to choose a decoration for the family Christmas tree.
“The decorations were truly varied. Lyndsay would get the fairies and Warren would get the trains, boats, cars and things. One year I found a little toolbox for him.”
The brother and sister are now in their mid-to-late 20s and have their own homes, Christmas traditions to keep and trees to decorate.
They left the nest with a sizeable number of decorations in tow and, as a result, there is considerably more green visible on the Skeens’ main Christmas tree this year.
“They had quite a few,” smiles Rose. “They each took about 25 or so with them.”
Near the beginning of December, the Skeen clan comes together to put up the tree and decorations.
Mince pies are brought out, the family dog gets tinsel in her collar and the Christmas tunes are humming for the day.
Over the years the number of trees brought out to be decorated has decreased from about five to three, after Rose donated them to others in need of a pick-me-up.“The main thing for us is that Christmas is a time of giving,” she says. “If I feel someone needs a little tree to cheer them up, I’ll give them that.”