christmas - quotes and descriptions to inspire creative writing
The mailbox paint curls like autumn leaves, yet they stay regardless of the wind and rain. It's the beloved old-man of the street, bright in every fog; it's every winter's flower. Jasmine reaches high with white envelopes in tiny hand, Christmas greetings to spread far and wide. She stands on tip-toes as the letter's tumble inside, her face a picture brighter than any card.
Darwin digs at his sweet and sour soup and pulls out all the cubes of carrot. I don't say anything, I really couldn't care less about table manners and there's always something interesting going on in his head. He peeks up at me with sticky fingers in his mouth, Through the mouthful I can just about make out the name "Rudolf." These carrot chunks are offerings for his favourite red nosed reindeer. I nod seriously.
"That's a great idea, Darwin. I never thought of that." He grins, still with the fingers in his mouth. Then he scoops them up and lines them neatly next to his stocking. I hold out a cup of tinned peas, "for Santa." He runs over and snatches them up, his grin as wide as his cheeks will stretch, and scatters back. Next time we have a Christmas I'll get a tree, or a branch or something. But I'll have to keep my eyes peeled for sparkly stuff first. The more "traditions" I can build into his life the better, there's security in routines.
I've stuffed his stocking with a toy car and a candy bar. Not much by yesteryear's standards but to Darwin this bounty will be almost too exciting. I sit in the dark and wait for the sunrise to kiss the windows, throwing their brilliant streak across the tile. After the light has filled the room for some hours I begin to worry. Sleeping in late can only mean one thing. I go to him and touch his forehead. Fever. Damn it. I must have brought it home from the market. I know he needs to get some bugs to build his immune system but this timing is lousy to say the least.
It's 1982 and the Christmas tree is ridiculous. It scrapes artex from the ceiling as Dad wobbles on a ladder to hang the fairy. It truly belongs in a forest, dominating our small living room the way it does. So why is everyone grinning? Us kids are hoping from foot to foot awaiting the go ahead to hang the decorations. Packets of tinsel lie unopened on the floor, not just the snake kind, but the stuff that's loose strips too. Mom plugs in the lights and we almost explode, our fingers itching to get going. The memory of actually decorating the tree is far shorter than the time it took us to make it beautiful all those years ago; but the finished tree is like a perfect photograph. Funny how these events stay in the mind when so much else does not. But I'm glad it does, otherwise we'd just be left with the bad memories, the times our parents failed to maintain their cool, or worse. But this memory reminds me how they tried, how they did love, despite their many faults.
Songs of Joy, Prince of Peace, Born in a stable, Saviour of the World, Humble King of Kings, Perfect gift, Treasure, One of us, Friend of sinners, Celebrate, Creator becoming the created, Holy Night
I decide it's time for another Christmas. It's only two months since our last one but let's face it, that's as good as a year to a five year old. Darwin is smoothing out the stockings next to the air conditioning vent, of course that's how Santa gets into the old bank. He's taken to skipping around singing jingle bells. I wish I new the actual words. Man I miss the internet, he'll never have use for the word "google." I remember the "batman smells" one better than the original but I haven't told him yet. I'll save that for when he's a cheeky eight year old. I think what's got him most giddy is that I'll let him eat something sweet of his choice. I feel good and bad about that at the same time. Good because every kid needs treats and feasts to lighten the monotony of everyday living. Bad because it's like eating money. Sugary food is better than gold around here. And deep down there's still part of me that's still a banker, prudish and hoarding.
Allured by the scent of freshly baked Christmas cake coming from a neighboring bakery amidst the bustling streets of Bath’s Christmas Market, I took my lingering gaze off of the enormous Christmas tree adorned with glistening ornaments and glowing fairy lights draped around it. Strolling alongside the magnificently structured buildings of Bath, I watched as people swarmed in and out of the bustling coffee shops and bakeries like bees. As the evening sky faded away, the pink and orange hues were replaced with dark shades of blue, whilst the amber light of the street lamps spilled on the stone-paved streets. In turn, the elegantly decorated, wooden stalls slowly revealed their hidden wonders attracting long queues of bustling customers. The festively designed stalls, illuminated with blinking Christmas lights, vibrant ornaments and brightly colored signs, were lined up along either side of the street and had varieties of delectable treats, jasmine scented fragrances, skillfully hand-crafted greeting cards and unlimited choices of gifts to customers occupied for endless periods of time. The warm smiles of the people behind the stalls as they tossed freshly roasted, golden brown chestnuts into paper cones or carefully poured creamy hot chocolate into mugs and added generous layers of whipped cream, was returned by the beaming grins of the children who were eagerly waiting to get their mug. The energetic youngsters giggling at their creamy chocolate mustaches were followed soon after. The loud, spirited laughter of adults could be heard over the continuous chatter surrounding the vivacious atmosphere.
The light from the glowing candles almost resembles hovering auric orbs in the pitch dark. I carefully hoist my crimson bag, filled with every child's dream, higher onto my back. Thank goodness for my padded satin boots, without them I would be making a massive ruckus with my clumsy feet. "Okay, now let's get this over with and move to the next house, which is in, um, I reckon its in Ireland, isn't it?" Hastily, I take out my tablet and scroll down to the names of the children in this house."Here we are, James, Sylvia and Matthew; all of which have been nice this year. After checking their names off, I dig around for the respective presents and place them into the oversized stockings, then I take in the rest of the room, finding the usual moist and chocolatey cookies set on a table with a tall glass of milk. Frankly, I am a tad sick of cookies. Grudgingly, I take one to tide me over the next few houses. Hopefully,the reindeers have not been up to any mischief...
Prince of innocence
Comfort and joy
Angels filled with love and peace
Mom watches Sylvie open her gift, tension playing over her gaunt features. She doesn't look like that when the rest of us open ours. Even if I gush gratitude I'll barely get a smile or a glance. Inside the store-wrapped box t's the kind of silver bracelet I've been begging Mom to buy me, the kind my sister already as six of. Sylvie pouts. Mom's eyes bulge. Without a word Sylvie puts it back in its box and tosses it onto her pile of gifts that exceeds mine by almost double. In this way she ensures more is spent on her next year. Before I can stop myself I ask if I can have it. My sister opens her mouth but she's cut off by mother. Apparently: I'm too fat, it will never fit, I have to loose twenty pounds before I can hope to attract a boy, my grades aren't good enough and I'm destined to be lonely and unloved. That's where she's wrong though. I have Jimmy and the day I turn sixteen I'm gone. Then they can have their stupid christmas's on their own, stewing in his dysfunctional mess.
Tim opens his last Christmas gift and I wait for the screaming to start. He's been watching hundreds of adverts a day for the past month and the chances of Dad having chosen just the right thing are remote at best. Whatever he thinks is in that box isn't in there, it's being unwrapped by some other kid some other place. As soon as the golden paper lies tattered on his outstretched jeans his face starts to buckle. His eyes become glossy and already his pallid cheeks are beginning to burn. Mom starts to splutter about refunds and exchanges, Dad buries his head in his hands. I'm off and running, almost knocking over Mom's ornate tree in my desperation to escape before the noise begins, which it does. But by then I have my shoes on. I'm off to Becky's house. I'm off to a family who knows how to be nice to one another and I don't give a damn what's under the tree...
Gran is crying on the couch. She doesn't want anyone to see but it's kinda hard not to notice the slow heaving sobs. She knits a garish sweater we all hope isn't for us and keeps whatever is paining her locked up inside. Mom is frantic in the kitchen, barking out orders to Dad who complies and then suffers her barrage of criticisms; he isn't fast enough, good enough, servile enough. My brother hogs the computer playing war games without headphones, the booms echoing around our small house like the blitz. Under the Christmas tree, so perfect, so Martha Stewart, lies an obscene number of gifts for five people. Each one is wrapped in a blueish silver paper and adorned with a white semi-transparent ribbon. Love in a box, measured by the price tag "inadvertently" left on. I grab the dogs leash and he jumps up and down, spinning about, grinning in his loopy canine way. "Taking the dog out," I say, and leave. In minutes I can be at church, away from this craziness...
How could a person sink so far? Tom, who had been the one to engulf everyone in bear-hugs and tell loud jokes, now nursed his cognac year after year; clock-watching until the obligatory Christmas dinner was over. It was no secret what happened, and even his presence now put a strain on everyone else. It was impossible to broach what ailed him, no amount of wishing would bring his wife and child back. Jokes were badly received with a forced wrinkling of his mouth that did not extend to his sagging eyes. When at last he rose to excuse himself his sister, my mother, would make a fuss of making him stay; but acquiesced a little too easily when he persisted. It was a little dance they did each Christmas, awkward but necessary. It was as if he died with them all those years ago but his heart kept on beating just the same.
The most wonderful time of year, filled with cheer and joy on Christmas day, where you are surrounded by love and cared for by the most wonderful people around.
My life has never been like a TV commercial. I see them with their white teeth and perfect BMI. I see them always smiling, laughing and making good jokes. Their homes are perfect, in decoration and cleanliness. They drive a nice car and go on vacations. They purchase gifts for one another and expensive hair products because "they're worth it." They show love by spending money. Their children are angelic. They eat only the best food and have fulfilling careers. They aren't me and I'll bet they aren't you. But my life is beautiful. My life is worthwhile. I don't want them telling me what to eat, what to wear. If I want their product I can do my own research and then choose between their pitches. I am not inadequate. My house isn't too small. My car isn't too old. My kids are kids and they'll whine and complain sometimes and I still love them every day. My husband doesn't need to cave to your valentines day or purchase my love at Christmas. Figure out how to run your economy another way.
I have to get Terry the right christmas gift. He has to like it. He has to like it more than whatever Monica get's him. He has to. Otherwise he might start liking her again, then he might realize I'm not so pretty after all. Better get some make-up, lingerie, a push-up bra. That's kinda a gift for him too. He would love a watch I'm sure, but what kind? There's everything from $20 to several hundred. I can't cheap out. What'll that tell him? That I think he's not worth it? I finger the new credit card in my wallet, “for emergencies” Mom said. Well this counts. I can't loose Terry, I can't. Not to Monica. She wants him back I just know it.
Christmas is the biggest con job of all time. Not the celebration of Jesus, I love the guy. It's what it's become. We all want love in the holidays, and some slick marketing jocks told us it comes in a box with a pretty ribbon and a prettier price-tag. The higher the price the more the love, right? Are we all so anxious in our personal relationships that we can't stand up to the advertising hype and chart our own course? Our own Christmas?
The clock struck eight pm and my face falls faster than vomit. Eleven hours of smiling and I want to kill something cute. Holidays- Dad ducks out, Mom gets stressed and my sister pulls some stupid stunt to grab all the attention. Different year, same BS. I've been pushing electronics at spoilt teens all day. I wanted to ram their stupid gadgets right up their noses, or even better, down their throats. Whatever their parents buy them they always want to upgrade, giving some whiny bull crap-“that's what all my friends have!” In school and church Christmas is all about God. Bull. It's a frenzy of consumerism and I see it every day. “Screw those kids without enough to eat, we earned our money.” Well tonight I'll be stopping at the food bank on my way home, my last pay-cheque was swallowed by mother's dental bill and the washing machine going on the blink. Ho ho ho. I feel so festive.
Joel had been weaving through crowds all day, holiday music telling him how joyous he was to be parting with the savings it had taken him months to accrue. Now who was getting it? Some fat CEO? He told his parents he wanted to cancel Christmas; his mom had just laughed, asking if he was having a bad day. Now here he was being jollied along to spend his cash, not on skiing, the only hobby that kept him sane, but on things the advertisers told them they wanted. And what was he going to get? Fuck knows. But whatever it was he didn't want it. Now he was ten people back in a line-up to buy his sister some overpriced make-up and an anti-wrinkle cream that would make no difference to his mother's face. Can't stop time. The line up moved on but he didn't. The gap grew. There was a loud huff from a girl behind. “Are you gonna move up?” Joel turned, dropped the goods in her basket and left. It was his money. He was giving love for Christmas and if that wasn't good enough then fuck'em.
When Caitlin told her mom no more Christmas presents she had laughed and asked why. Caitlin didn't really know, only that every time she unwrapped a gift she felt a little more empty inside. The adverts told her over and over how she should feel when she received their electronics, or make-up, or jewellery. But her lived experience was so far beneath that peak of unadulterated joy and she was left with a lingering sadness. Mom asked her if she wanted Christmas food and she had nodded fervently, the food her parents spent so long preparing was important. Then to her own surprise she had suggested taking flowers to church on Christmas Eve. Her mother had smiled, nodded. And so it was that the three of them were dressed in boots, coats and scarves at eleven at night on December 24th, walking though the biting air, flashlights in one hand and fragrant blooms in the other, taking and laughing toward the steeple that poked above the frosted roofs.
Black boots fell from the earth's heavens as they slid down the chimney and covered the white floor with grey ash. It was a sight that meant Christmas had truly begun. A symbol sent from God; Santa Claus. Tumbling down with a thud, presents wrapped in all different colours in a great, gigantic sack, I knew it was Santa, the cuddliest man in the whole, entire world.
No one thought he was real, but I knew that he was. Who else could have made Christmas the most wonderful time of the year, except Santa Claus himself. Of course it was him. No one else could have done this miracle.