I am one of those people who love Christmas. I wouldn’t be classified as a pure Christmas tragic, in fact there are some aspects of Christmas that I greatly dislike. But generally, I make it work for me and take the best bits and discard the rest. In fact I often wonder if the reason I love Christmas so much is really just because it gives me an excuse to do lots of craft. It is a time of the year where glitter and ribbons and shiny coloured beads really come into their own!

But aside from the extra craft opportunities, I have loved Christmas since I was a child. I didn’t come from a religious family, but my parents made Christmas a fun and magical experience for us. I suppose like me, my Mum took the best bits that worked for her and that worked for us, and we just had fun.

As a child, Christmas holidays often meant a visit to South Australia to see relatives. This was always a car trip (in the ’80s you would have had to have taken out a second mortgage to fly 5 people interstate). Of course as a child I absolutely loved the car trip and as a teenager I completely detested it!

My younger brothers and I would be piled in the car early in the morning, almost still asleep and still wearing our PJ’s. Dad would have carefully planned the stops for meals, toilets, play (they were smart enough to find playgrounds along the way). We would arrive at my Grandparents house in time for dinner.

Christmas lunch in our family has always involved prawns for entree and turkey and ham for lunch with loads of yummy roast veggies and gravy. This is followed by traditional Christmas pudding with cream, ice cream and my mother’s famous custard sauce. There are always apricots and cherries and a good supply of chocolates, lollies and cookies. There is usually a game of cricket with all of the cousins in the afternoon.

Back in the day, my Grandpa always took himself off to have “40 winks” and everyone in the house would hear him snoring as loud as a jackhammer. These days my father-in-law does the same 🙂

As a child, I probably didn’t care much for the food. I just loved spending time with family (and all of the presents!). Christmas Eve has always been my favourite part of Christmas. The night before the big day, filled with anticipation and promise. As a child, I loved Christmas Eve when the house smelt of pine needles and cooking. The beautifully decorated tree was lit up and all was peaceful and serene before the onslaught of Christmas day. We would usually all sit together and watch the carols and eat chocolate.

I loved the excitement of waking up on Christmas day and seeing all of the presents under the tree because best of all, I loved the Santa myth! I loved the whole story and the magic element of a man flying in a sleigh led by reindeers, managing to visit the house of every single child in the entire world in one night and even stopping for snacks along the way. I mean, what a clever guy! My parents went the extra mile and left footprints and glitter and letters and I lapped it all up.

I was quite a naïve child when it came to Santa and the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy – I never questioned their existence. I believed! My younger brothers worked out that Santa wasn’t real long before I did. It got to the point where my mother had to sit me down one day and explain it all to me. I was a little bit disappointed but when I thought about it, it made sense and deep down I knew it couldn’t be true. I never felt robbed or deceived as some people have said they felt after they “found out”. More so, I was actually impressed by their creativity and their willingness to keep the magic alive for so long.

For adult me, Christmas is a great way to mark the end of the year and welcome in a new one. I enjoy cleaning out a few cobwebs (so to speak) and having a few new years resolutions. I never go over the top with resolutions, I just think of things that aren’t working too well and use the end of the year as a catalyst to make changes. Of course any time of the year is good for this, but for me the new year gives me the prod that I need.

Now that I have my own kids I love helping to make this time happy, magical and fun for them, just as my parents did for me. I love seeing the Christmas tree up in the house, full of decorations that have been made by the kids or picked up from various places.

My 6 year old has already worked out that Santa isn’t real. She’s pretty clued in to life. (She obviously takes after her Uncles more than her mother!) Now she enjoys perpetuating the myth for her younger brother (who is 2 and is way too young to understand it but she doesn’t want to hear this!). I don’t bother with Santa photos, unless the kids want to, which has only happened once in 6 years. In the same way that I was bought up, we do the parts we like and what works for us.

For the first time this year we have done an advent calendar which has been very fun for the kids. I have enjoyed putting inspirational quotes together for them each day (and a chocolate of course!). We are hosting lunch for the extended family this year which will also be a lot of fun and something that we are looking forward to. The key ingredient to not being stressed about this is that everyone is bringing something.

As a young family, I think we are still working out our very own traditions. This year I am thinking of making a special Christmas Eve dinner for us. Since this is my favourite part of Christmas, I thought that maybe I can start a new tradition of a special family dinner to celebrate this night, just the four of us.

Whatever your family traditions are, I wish you and yours a wonderful Christmas and festive season. May 2018 bring you joy, happiness and fulfilment.

If you have been a client of mine this year, I would like to thank you from the bottom of my heart for inviting me to photograph you. It truly is an honour for me. Each family that I meet to photograph teaches me something new about the world and I see each session as a gift. I hope to see you again soon.

If you are thinking of becoming a photography client of mine then please feel free to drop me a line and I look forward to meeting you in 2018. I would love to help you create some memories and provide you with some artwork that you will treasure for a long time.

Carmen

P.S. The kids and I were in the studio and we decided we would take some Christmas themed photos. I had a vision of them both dressing in green, perhaps as Elves. Or a Christmas fairy and an elf. I suggested this to them and received blank, uninspired looks back in return. They had a much stronger vision which involved them dressing up as “Spider Kids”. So, of course this idea of theirs won over immediately. I was more than happy to go with it. I would much rather them have the creative input and they had SO much fun. I love how the colours turned out and I just love these photos of them. They really do light up my life.