After writing last night’s post, I thought that maybe I could do some kind of countdown to Christmas over the next few weeks, kind of like the twelve days of Christmas – only from yesterday until Christmas Day there are fourteen days and the twelve days of Christmas comes after 25th. Despite these two admittedly rather large qualifications (a bit like my road trip that wasn’t actually a road trip at all, when I went on holiday in July), I think it’s a pretty interesting idea. So between now and a week on Friday, I will be trying to come up with a Christmas-related theme that also corresponds with the number of that day. It may be totally contrived, it may fail miserably, but it could also be quite funny.
So, yesterday was day one: one day of charitable involvement seems like an apt description.
Sunday 12th December: two sets of children’s presents. Both sets were handmade gifts. I know I’ve written about this before, but when I make a present for someone, I feel like the item in question is a manifestation – a physical symbol – of my feelings towards them. It’s such a cliche, but I genuinely feel that there is love in every stitch. Today I went for lunch with some friends and the group included two children, although only one actually came along in the end as his parents had managed to secure babysitters. I’d wrapped two of my Christmas angels for them, and spent a very happy half an hour or so after the meal sat with my friend’s one year old daughter on my lap, playing around with the angel. It was such a lovely time, undoubtedly giving me more pleasure and enjoyment than it was the little girl. It felt like a precious moment, allowing a connection – via the baby – with an old friend that I see very little of now. It’s about sharing something, something bigger than us: that universal bond that connects us all, the bond that is knowing someone and valuing their presence in our lives – even if that presence is limited or largely confined to our past.
Although I don’t think I was conscious of it at the time, this moment with my friend’s baby daughter inspired me to finish stitching up some other presents when I got home. I completed the final touches to a doll’s blanket, and made up two more angels. Again, these gifts are going out to the children of friends. And again, these are friends that I don’t see so much of these days, but that is by the by. The gifts represent our intertwined pasts, our shared lives, our unknown futures; the delight that their children bring, the love that I feel for them all. You may think that all this Christmas talk is making me soppy, but I feel this emotional most of the time. I just don’t usually say it. I knit and sew it instead.