Wow! A crazy three or so weeks has flown by wrapping up all things work related for 2014. And now a lady of leisure, I can concentrate on why this is my favourite time of the year. I do have some silly rituals, but they are dear to me.
The first is all about the wacky genius of Tim Burton. This is the time of the year when I get out all my favourite Tim Burton classics and rewatch. It all starts at Halloween with TheNightmare Before Christmas. Jack Skellington’s need to infect Halloween Town with the Christmas spirit is just a wonderful tale.
Now I have to mention here that when it comes to trick or treating and kids wandering the neighbourhood door knocking and begging for candy, I morph into the Halloween Grinch. So some parts of Halloween I can certainly do without. But Tim Burton’s imagery captures my imagination at this mystical time of year.
So The Nightmare Before Christmas is quickly chased by Corpse Bride, Beetlejuice and Dark Shadows. I also love Coraline which has a Tim Burtonish flavour but is actually a movie from the director of Nightmare.
All this revisiting movies I love puts me in the mood for the holiday season to come.
At tree decorating time, I celebrate a day of hard out Christmas-ifying of the house by watching Holiday Inn. You know, Bing Crosby, Fred Astaire and that famous little song White Christmas?
Then Christmas Eve means it must be time for White Christmas the movie – Bing Crosby and Rosemarie Clooney and a whole lot of Irving Berlin classics…. Magical! And finally, Dickens’ A Christmas Carol – the Disney version with Jim Carey. Some say scary, I say classic Dickens (one of my most favourite authors).
And that about rounds up Holiday Rituals Part 1 – watching old movies. This about sums it up for me:
It is my favourite time of year. Spring time in the Southern Hemisphere. It is the time when I miss Africa most. For me nothing quite compares to the sights, smells and sounds of spring on the Highveld of South Africa or in the Okavango Delta, Botswana. Beautiful lilac Jacaranda blossom, the call of the Woodland Kingfishers returning south for the season and the sweet, wobbly newborn antelope, zebra and wildebeest….. pure magic!
Still my favourite time of here too as we take time for preparations for the coming festivities. It is a time of remembrance for me and keeping time honoured family traditions and rituals.
So Labour weekend this year once again saw the kitchen abuzz at Mom and Dad’s place. Out come all Granny Sybil’s recipes and the mixing, mincing and endless stirring begins. On the to do list the lemon curd, the Christmas fruit mince and, of course, the brandy laced Christmas pudding. All exceptionally delicious! And need I say that the no sugar way of life has no place at this time…. hmmm.
Granny Sybil was my paternal grandmother. A single mother bringing up her two sons on the outskirts of central Johannesburg in the 50s, 60s and 70s. My earliest memories of her all revolve around the kitchen – baking, preserving and the best Sunday roasts ever. Christmas was always a veritable feast at Granny Sybil’s house. But also the garage. There always seemed to be some car or bike engine in various pieces strewn around the house and in the garage thanks to my dad and his brother.
She was a strong woman who had given up much of her life to earn a living and look after ailing parents. She married late and finally found a few years wedded bliss before her husband became ill and passed away leaving her with her two boys to bring up. I have always felt a sense of awe about Granny Sybil – her sense of family, her duty and obligation to her husband’s family, her love for her boys and then us later on. It was a practical love and always involved making or preparing something for us. Her knitting was also legendary in our family. I remember she also always took the time to wear a pretty house dress, apply her lippy and get her hair set in curls.
And so, Granny, it is that time of year again where we hope to honour your memory and all that you were and still are to us.