I love Christmas. I love shopping for other people, decorating, Christmas carols – the whole nine yards. This Christmas I find myself thinking a lot about my Grandmother. As a child I’d often spend lots of time during Christmas Holidays in my Grandmother’s home. I remember all the cleaning that was done, and the decorating, but mostly I recall the food and the activity. The bustle.

I can see so clearly my mom and aunts in the kitchen baking Bajan Black Cake. I recall sitting on the steps shelling peas for the pigeon peas and rice we would later enjoy at Christmas. Every time my aunt would visit from England around this time, she’d bring Cadbury Chocolates and real treat for my sister and I in our youth. My mom and Aunt would always fill the house with music as they prepared for one Christmas Concert or the next. For this reason choirs singing remind me very much of home. My dad was very present at Christmas holidays and would go shopping with us and such but the women in my family fill my thoughts of Christmas for some reason.

I can’t say I recall any particularly special gift I got for Christmas as a child. I’m sure there were great ones but that’s not what makes me miss home at this time of year. It’s my family and friends.

I’m sure my North Dakota Christmas experience is far more specific to our family than local culture. People pop by with homemade treats for the family to enjoy. A great many gifts are exchanged. More than I’d ever grown up seeing, never mind receiving! Thank you cards are big here. In Barbados not so much. You give a gift, the recipient says thanks or calls you to say thanks and that’s it. Here in North Dakota, you write a card of thanks! Not something I ever grew up doing though I think it a nice thing to do.

My favorite things about Christmas here though is still the family and friends I share it with.  They make it a warm place despite usually being surrounded by cold and snow.

I often think about loved ones who have passed on and are no longer a physical presence in this world. What would they think of all the goings on of the past year?  And what my grandmother would make of the woman I’ve become? I make a silent vow to make all my departed loved ones prouder of me in the next year. It warms my heart to think they are some where seeing all the bustle and perhaps laughing at me a little.

The trees are up and my thoughts drift to the upcoming work week. I’ve decorated the house and have some pictures of to share. Hope you enjoy and I hope you have a wonder Christmas if you celebrate it no matter where in the world you may be. That’s all for now. With Love Michelle

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