Christmas traditions

It’s been a busy week catching up after the book fair and yes, someone did comment about poor old Rudolph needing a few puffs of air for his antlers.

It made me realise how long it’s been since he first joined my Christmas decoration box, but I’d hazard a guess at more than 20 years. His usual place from early December is with Santa riding on his back in the front room window, until he gets packed away with the tree fairies for another year.

I’ll be the first to admit my Christmas decorations are ‘tat’ but they are my tat and every one holds a memory. The snowman face was from a Christmas gift of a recycle bin which was what I wanted, but rather than just deliver the gift my friend went to the trouble of making him fit the season. Not only is the bin still in constant use but Mr Frosty comes out every year to make me smile.

Another decoration I was able to date exactly was a knitted Christmas tree which has a reserved place at the bannisters on the stairs. In 2003 I won a competition and the prize was a cruise. I’m not a morning person so when my radio alarm went off and I responded to the programme, I was probably still half asleep even though I knew the answer. It was probably related to Malta which might have given me an unfair advantage as it was a country I knew well. When I got to work one of my colleagues told me ‘You Won. We heard you’ and I thought they were winding me up.

It was genuine and one of the stop off points was to visit the island of La Gomera, somewhere until then I’d never heard of; the tree came home with me even though it was several weeks until Christmas.

It would have been a fabulous trip except…

They lost all my luggage when we got off the plane to join the cruise in Palma. It chased me across the Mediterranean but never quite caught up until the last night when a battered and ruined oil-stained suitcase was placed outside my cabin door. At the same time the announcement came to take all luggage down to the bay ready for disembarkation the next morning. The ship was advertised as fully stocked but although you could buy 20 different roll-on deodorants there were no spray cannisters, toothbrushes, toothpaste or anything remotely logical.

It wasn’t until we arrived at Monte Carlo that I was able to find such things as Optrex and make-up remover so I could glam up a bit. Talking of which, there are not many people who have visited the casino at Monte Carlo wearing flip flops and no proper underwear, just a bikini under a beach skirt. They were the oddments which happened to not fit in the suitcase, so were last minute additions to the carry on bag. Just as well as I lived in them for a week, washing them out overnight ready for the next exciting adventure on the following day. It saved deciding what to wear as they were all I had.

I love seeing the beautifully decorated homes of friends on social media which are worthy of gracing the very best Style magazines, and hearing about various traditions from around the world. Jolabokaflod, a fantastic word which translates as “Christmas Book Flood” is a tradition from Iceland where new books are given and unwrapped on Christmas Eve. The family then settles down to read together into the night. How cool is that? (Pun intended.)

I spent hours hunting for the photo of Frosty but after a few diversions looking at old Christmas memories, eventually found one which happened to include my dog, Mij, who has since gone over the rainbow bridge.

Then I wanted to acknowledge Shaz’s book blog as she was kind enough to host me in her festive fun feature this week.

The link is below, and as you can see Frosty was hiding there all the time so you’ve got two for the price of one.

https://shazsbookblog.blogspot.com/2021/12/festive-fun-with-val-portelli.html?fbclid=IwAR2i0m2QnFzq2OYMhaABENmujE0qX8kxGibhcTj6bVguvpSovLc09-JZ-50

There’s a lot more been happening but I’d better leave it until next week as I’ve still got all the Christmas cards to write.

Thanks as always for listening to my rabbiting and see you next week.

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