Christmas Eve, day fourteen of my alternative Twelve Days of Christmas quest, has just drawn to a close. As the clock ticked over from the 24th to the 25th, I was driving back from having dropped some friends off after a fab evening out. Dylan on the stereo; the moon and stars shining down brightly in a very clear sky. In that moment, I felt happy – truly, deeply happy.
In that celestial moment, I realised that I have travelled to the moon and back during the last two weeks. In that sense, my own version of the Twelve Days of Christmas has served its purpose. I set out wanting to explore what constituted – how to achieve – a ‘Christmas of my own’ and I’ve discovered more than I ever could have imagined. Yet, as is so often the case, sometimes we have to go a long way to realise that what we were looking for was with us all along. Friends, family, crafts, music, a sense of community – these have been the core elements of the lyrics I’ve come up with. It’s not that things like shopping and spending money haven’t been part of my festive preparations; it’s just that they haven’t seemed sufficiently important to be included.
Christmas Eve hasn’t just marked the end of the journey, it represented the culmination of the journey too. All the elements that have featured over the other days seemed to have a part in the day, creating a period of time that has felt almost so perfect that I long to capture it in a glass cabinet and hold on to it forever – like the butterfly collectors of the nineteenth century, who didn’t realise that by pinning the creatures down and preserving them, they were actually destroying that which they loved. Rather than trying to hold onto all the moments of the day, I will just remember that life is full of journeys and I hope to travel down the same road again. There is, after all, another Christmas in twelve months’ time.
On the fourteenth day of Christmas, my own way was to be fourteen days a journey, thirteen rows a knitting, twelve trees a glowing, eleven carols a singing, ten pins a bowling, nine weeks a planning, eight hours a sleeping, seven scenes a snowing, six plates a spinning, five Ro-o-ses, four simple pleasures, three finished parcels, two children’s gifts and a morning of charity.