Date : December 14, 2018
Do you remember the Australian Christmas celebrations of times gone past?
The laughs and stories shared around the dining room table. The giving of thoughtful gifts (none of this plastic fantastic) that represented the deep love you felt for your nearest and dearest. A humble tree decorated with keepsakes and precious treasures rather than flashing lights and gaudy, disposable baubles.
Gathering the children close, perhaps on your knee or down at your feet, as you told stories with classic characters that made little eyes shine with delight and surprise. Beautiful tales of whimsy and magic that added to the wonder of the season and helped tired little heads get ready for bed, lest Santa Claus make his arrival whilst they were still awake.
The role of the grandmother
What is the role of the grandmother during an Australian Christmas?
It’s to be the story teller. The warm, careful hands that help little ones off with fancy shoes. The watchful eyes that supervise imaginative play in the backyard. The arms that collect wattle, gumnuts and various sticks and twigs to concoct bush tea or to create fabulous stories with. The legs that are still sturdy and strong enough to partake in Christmas traditions that bring the whole family together.
It’s to listen, to watch and to help those who think they don’t need it. It’s to take onboard the stress and panic of younger generations who want everything to be perfect (when you know that, just by being together, it already is). The role of the grandmother is to be the peacemaker, the water to the oil, the listener. It’s to catch the little moments that others might miss in the hustle and bustle of an Australian Christmas.
Stories of wonder and awe
The children know, as well as you do, that love is spelled T.I.M.E. Sometimes the other adults forget that.
An Australian Christmas offers the grandmother the opportunity to craft memories and forge connections with literature and stories from times of yore. Pulling out an old book, with classic characters and themes still relevant today, and drawing the children near is a memory that won’t soon be forgotten by either party. Christmas is the chance to stop and reflect on how much of our time is wasted. The fripperies, the trimmings and the dinner itself are all meaningless if we don’t stop and take stock of who is sitting at the table with us.
That’s the role of the grandmother. She’s the time keeper – because she knows how precious it truly is.