It was the night before Christmas…..

Christmas Eve has arrived all of a sudden, and the house is looking and feeling full of Christmas spirit. All my presents have been wrapped and are sitting patiently under the tree. I love wrapping gifts, which I know will have some people groaning and rolling their eyes, but for me putting together a beautiful combination of ribbons and paper gives me much satisfaction. Each one is a little work of art, which might only be appreciated for a moment before it is eagerly torn open, but it’s short life is beautiful and filled with promise, bringing a smile to peoples faces.

Starting early and wrapping a few a day, plus not having a mountain of gifts all helps. I can give each present a bit of thought as I wrap it, anticipating the smiles of pleasure when it’s contents are revealed. Giving gifts is a tradition as old as time, and it’s not the money spent which matters or brings the most joy, but the time spent thinking about the person who is to receive the present. A thoughtful gift will warm the heart for months if not years.

I have a tiny inexpensive pair of sparkly earrings which my son gave me many years ago when he was eight years old. Every time I wear them I smile, at the memory of his anxious face breaking into a huge grin when he saw my smile as I unwrapped his carefully chosen gift.

Lots of candles have been placed and lit as the nights have drawn in, and they bring with them memories of those who won’t be celebrating with us this year. This always pulls me back into fond memories of Christmas past, knowing that no two years will be, or should be the same. Time rolls on and change follows in its wake.

Old decorations have been dug out of boxes in the attic, and been hung in their traditional spots, again bringing memories of the past flowing into the present.

This snowman sits on top of the old countdown to christmas decoration, which my son would eagerly change each day with growing excitement. Now it’s left to me!

And these are new additions this year, bringing the present firmly into focus. Along with all the nostalgia for Christmas past we lay down new memories each year, weaving our present into our past.

Garlands have been hung all around the house, some old and reusable, others fresh foliage cut from the wild woods just a few days ago. The greenery from the woods brings us firmly into the here and now, while echoing all the previous years. Never the same twice, nature reminds us to stay awake to what is passing right now in this moment, it’s a precious gift.

Beautiful flowers remind me to enjoy the day I’m in, rather than worrying about what is yet to pass.

Cards have been hung, filled with wishes and hopes for a wonderful 2014, pulling me forward into the future, while filling my heart with the warmth and love of family and friends. I know cards are yet another area where many people groan and complain, and many now don’t bother to send them. I think this is sad, as a card is such a wonderful thought sent from one heart to another, but if it is seen as a burdensome task then there is no pleasure. I send less cards than I used to, but those I do send are to people who have touched my heart in someway over the past year.

I take my time to write them, sitting perhaps with a candle lit, and thinking about the recipient. I think of them as little mini gifts, and the cards I see hanging in my own kitchen this year make me smile as I think about the person who sent them, and our friendship.

I’ve looked out the Christmas china, but have yet to set the table, another thing I love doing. It’s like making a work of art which will be here briefly, before being used and enjoyed, and then tidied away.

And I’ve found the cake topper which I have used for our Christmas cake ever since I’ve been married. She always makes me smile, but now I need to get my skates on and bake the cake! Don’t worry it’s not a traditional cake, and so doesn’t take long to make. I have a house full of raisin haters, don’t ask me why as I love them, and so traditional cake never gets eaten.

This year I’m trying a Nigella cake, made of Guinness and chocolate, which I’m sure will go down a treat. Thanks to Poppy who inspired me with her Christmas post over at her lovely blog. I had better stop blogging and get baking!
Wishing all the lovely people who read, follow and comment on my blog a wonderful Christmas. It has been a wonderful year of getting to know all sorts of creative and inspiring people from all across the world. Blogging has been a wonderful and surprising gift in my life, and has enriched me in so many ways. Merry Christmas you wonderful people Xxx.

About greenmackenzie

Hi, I'm Seonaid, and I share my home on the shores of Loch Ness deep in the Scottish Highlands with my husband, my son and a couple of dogs. I love art which is here now and gone food and nature...but also have a passion for vintage and the ancient past! Nature is my favourite muse, with her wild ever shifting seasons. I have been using and teaching mindfulness and relaxation for over 12 years, and have yet to become any sort of expert :-) I'm a Psychotherapist and Cancer Support Specialist in Maggies Highlands
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59 Responses to It was the night before Christmas…..

  1. Love the wrapping and cosy Christmas pictures. Hope you enjoyed the festive season and have a wonderful new year

  2. Tahira says:

    Your Christmas looks like it was simply divine! Beautiful pictures. Happy New Year, wishing you all the best in 2014!

  3. colonialist says:

    I’m really late – but glad I got here. Lovely. Christmas china isn’t something I’ve come across before. it would add to the day being that much more special – if one has the storage space! Hope you had a wonderful Christmas and are headed for a very Happy New Year!

    • It’s lovely to see you as always….i’ve had a bit of a blogging break myself over the past few days. Some of the china I use at Christmas came down to me from my Grandmother, and Great Grandmother, and so I love using it, thinking about all those times in the past when food was shared from them…..and the there are modern pieces, which have mostly been gifted to me ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. From Across the Sea, Wishing you and u’re family a fruitful, Healthy New Year.

    It’s been my pleasure to have received the photos joined with the writings! “Poetic”


    i.e. Helping Cancer Patients thaks a spicall person!

  5. LOVELY pictures of all your Christmas finery. I particularly enjoyed the Santa pillow (I collect Santas of all sorts) and the new reindeer. How did the cake turn out? Hope you all had a wonderful holiday. Thank you for sharing your wonderful photographs.

  6. It is such a special time of the year! Love your series of photos!

  7. The way you ‘do up’ Christmas is very similar to the way we do ours Seonaid. As I told you in one of my other comments our spiritual emphasis is on the Solstice. We do celebrate Christmas however. Many years ago, when we were first married, we modeled our celebration after that which Joanna experienced as a kid. Over the years however our celebration has become very much our own. We’ve done away with some traditions and adopted others – to our satisfaction. Our emphasis is simply one which recognizes the value of family connection. Whether that happen through the giving of gifts, the sharing of a meal, or simply being together … that seems to be what we value most and so go with it. We are less inclined toward the religious aspects of the holiday … but that’s just us. Thanks for the warm visit to your world. The way in which you have described your traditions and attitudes toward them was delightful … and warmed the heart. D

    • What a thoughtful response David. I hope you had a lovely family oriented day. We are now preparing for New Year….this time of year brings lots of gatherings!
      My mother still remembers Christmas being almost ignored as a holiday in the Scottish Highlands…..there was a postal delivery and newspapers….but at New Year everything stopped for two days!

  8. poppytump says:

    … oh … Poppytump dashes in to say .. we have our special celebratory meal on Christmas Eve so I’m now savouring reading this in a quiet moment as maybe you are in full throes of it all :-)…
    I hope you have a most lovely Christmas gathering Seonaid …I just know you will … your post incorporates all those qualities and warmth which I think of as the true meaning of this time …
    How fantastic you too have tried an alternative Christmas Cake this year .. am sure you and your family won’t be disappointed – it will be utterly delicious! *Apparently* without the froth of the topping it lasts even longer … ๐Ÿ˜‰ and thank you for the very kind mention …
    I’ve really enjoyed discovering your blog recently and look forward to many more magical otherworldly posts in the year to come .
    Warm Christmas wishes to you and your family Seonaid !

    • Well the cake was wonderful Poppy, and so easy to make! Thanks for the inspiration.
      We are now regathering our energies for New Year, which requires some stamina in this part of the world. We will eat with a group of neighbours and then after the bells of midnight we will first foot everyone’s home….we usually get to bed around 3pm!

  9. LB says:

    Such a warm post, filled with the comforts of the season. Merry Christmas to you (and the photos are lovely!)

  10. Leanne Cole says:

    Sounds like you are all ready for Christmas, here the presents have been unwrapped, the turkey has started cooking and the jigsaw puzzle has been started. We are in the mix of it already.
    Have a Merry Christmas.

  11. Deena Kakaya says:

    Love the bit about your son gifting you earrings, merry Christmas x

  12. restlessjo says:

    Your home looks beautiful, Seonaid. Love your old bits and the new. Have a wonderful time ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Thanks Jo, the house is certainly looking a bit like Christmas ๐Ÿ™‚
      The wind is currently whipping wildly around the house, but we’re hoping for a peaceful Christmas. Look forward to following your adventures next year!

  13. icelandpenny says:

    Merry Christmas to you, and a wonderful, magic, stimulating, rewarding 2014…

  14. Merry Christmas ๐Ÿ™‚
    Your photos and sentiments are beautiful ๐Ÿ™‚

  15. Lucid Gypsy says:

    Happy days lovely girl โ™ก

  16. Beautiful post and beautiful ornaments!

  17. wildsherkin says:

    Happy Christmas Seonaid and thank you for showering us with so many wonderful gifts throughout the year. Patsy

  18. Seonaid – your post is filled with so much loving detail. I can see you sitting there penning a Christmas letter or card and really making it special. I can see you wrapping those gifts with love and tenderness blessing the recipient in the process. I, too, enjoy wrapping gifts in a special way, using some special touches (like flowers, pine cones, ribbons, homemade card), so the recipient knows it is just made for them.
    If anybody doesn’t know much about Christmas celebrations, you did a wonderful job highlighting some of the traditional ways. I love to put up my xmas cards, also, another festive touch…
    So fully enjoy your Christmas with your loved ones, mindfully and joyfully. Annette

    • Annette what a lovely response to the post. I hadn’t thought about the fact that some readers might not celebrate Christmas, or know about its traditions….thanks for the reminder ๐Ÿ™‚
      I’m delighted to meet a fellow lover of gift wrapping….I think it’s an art form in itself…..and certainly a meditative act. Flowers and pine cones sound like wonderful additions.
      Wishing you an enjoyable and mindful Christmas from Scotland Xx

  19. Peter S says:

    Such a nice post! Merry Christmas!

  20. Rosa de los Vientos says:

    Christmas, love and fun.

  21. zark66 says:

    Merry Christmas Seonaid! ๐Ÿ™‚

  22. Laura Bloomsbury says:

    what joy and love you give to your recipients – and your readers the pleasure of mulling over Christmas in true spirit. Best wishes to you!

  23. Beautiful post. I’m glad I took a few minutes away from cooking to read this. It’s making me quite calm.The cake sounds nice, too as I am not a fruitcake lover. Chocolate and Guinness sounds good to me. Enjoy your day prepping for The Big Day. BBC 6Music keeping me company. x

    • I love that you took a little break to read this Kellie, and that it left you feeling calm. The chocolate and Guinness cake is out of the oven, and just waiting for its cream cheese topping….not very healthy, but very very tasty! Not too much left to do now. Xx

  24. What a lovely post for Christmas Eve. Merry Christmas to you and your family, Seonaid. ๐Ÿ™‚

  25. ginnietom says:

    a peaceful Merry Christmas…dear Seo…:-)))

  26. cynthiamc1 says:

    Merry Almost Christmas!

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