So This Is Christmas

A calm descends the day after Christmas. A collective intake of breath. It’s over. Some are glad. Some are sad.

The streets are quiet. Revellers sleep. The magpies pull down tinsel draped on eaves, pulling out the shiny red and green bits to decorate their nests.

There are no cars on the road. The lack of the hum of approaching engines is disconcerting. It is as if all of the Christmas elves have stolen all the vehicles in the street and taken them for joy rides to places far away.

Cats sit on porches or front fences. Idly, languid, in a place between waking and dreaming. Some half-heartedly poke at a new ball or mouse toy, feigning disinterest as if to say :’We are above such frivolity. We are cats. We amuse ourselves.’

Little boys ride three-wheeler bikes up and down the street, telling anyone who passes: ‘Santa gave me this. Look how fast I can go.’ Teenage girls stagger in strappy sandals their feet aren’t used to, comparing new outfits.

Christmas lights flicker in windows, maybe for the last time. People take photos with a sense of urgency, frightened they have left it too long to record the Christmas cheer. The house with the glowing sleigh on the roof attracts hundreds of people. They are quiet, sombre. It is hard to accept that it will be another year before they will see the sleigh again.

People sit in the park watching their children play on the swings. For some of them their year was good, for some, bad. Smiles play on their faces regardless. The day after Christmas is a time to reconsider, it is a time for resurrecting hope.

At night the sky is swirled with coffee. Children no longer gaze out the window looking for reindeer. They are tucked up in bed full of turkey sandwiches and gingerbread cookies.

The frangipani is in full bloom now. The scent of it crackles across the dark streets, a taste of the tropics in the city. People pull blooms, white and heavy, off the trees as they walk their dogs, sniffing the flowers, dreaming of hot nights by the ocean.

A single star gleams. To the west. It is yellow white. You could find your way by that star if you needed to. You could look at it and realise that Christmas is the start of something, not the end. You could sit on your chair and watch it for hours and come to believe that if you want something badly enough, it might just happen. You could lie in bed with the curtains pulled wide open and try to catch the lustre of it on your hand. And dream.

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21 thoughts on “So This Is Christmas

  1. MACMURPHY – Jimmy Tomato, is that really you? Well that has just completely made my day. Merry Christmas, hon. So glad to hear from you again. 😀

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  2. Merry Christmas. I hope it was wonderful for you and your entire family.

    (The idea of kids getting new bikes for Christmas makes me laugh… it’s the little cultural things.)

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  3. It makes me almost sad.

    While I am relived the stress of the holiday is over, I miss the excitement and the company of my whole family. And, I feel like even the Internet is closed today!

    Beautifully written post my sweet friend.

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  4. You know, I was just remarking to my neighbour how quiet the street was … in bygone years, the kids were all showing off their new bikes, scooters etc. She said, they’re probably all inside, playing with their new computer games. I sort of disagree … it could be the weather keeping them inside.

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  5. NAT – I hope you had a lovely Christmas too. I know what you mean about the cultural things. I like to hear about the differences too. One of the more interesting aspects of blogging!!

    GERALDINE – awww, thanks so much. You are really kind!!!

    MELEAH – can I first say how much I love your new avatar. That is a great shot of you. I agree with you, there is a sense of everything being on hold at the moment. It’s so quiet out there!!!

    TRAVELRAT – I think there is a computer game component for sure with some kids but my cousin just sent me a video email from Scotland and all the kids were out in the street showing off their new bits and pieces. So maybe it is the weather!!!

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  6. You’ve summed it up very nicely. And made it sound rather sweet. Thanks for dropping by and leaving holiday greetings. I hope your Christmas was all that you wanted and that the New Year will bring you much joy.

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  7. How wonderful. Such a sense of peace and inner reflection here. The writing is just spot on and all the perfect imagery too plentiful to fully innumerate. My favorite (I think) is “At night the sky is swirled with coffee.” How vivid and fresh.

    This really brought me such a feeling of calm gratitude and appreciation. Thank you so much !!

    May the coming new year be filled with beauty, peace, and prosperity for you. I am so fortunate to have met such a friend as you.

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  8. I’ve always felt the day after Xmas is a bit like when they turnoff the tornado warning siren- it’s always left me gravely disappointed (I love wild storms). Maybe that’s what’s happening in your neck of the world. I think I’ve always expected the hype meant a little bit more.

    Hope you had a lovely, tornado filled Christmas, Selma. 😉

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  9. I’m afraid I’m one who breathes a sigh of relief when it’s all over. All that hype drives me insane (it’s a short drive, I know). But there is still that sense of melancholy the day after, even for Grinchy folks like me.

    But, my favorite holiday? New Year’s Day. All things shiny and new, and I know for a fact that next year… will be much better.

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  10. There always seems to be the inevitable letdown after all the buzz and activity and there is always such a sense of a build up with Christmas. We all eat, drink and open our pressies and in the blink of an eye it seems it’s over. It’s a bit like when you feel full of anticipation about a long awaited event, maybe a holiday somewhere nice, and then the wait is over and it all feels so flat afterwards.

    I hope you and your family had a wonderful Christmas Selma. Are you going to the big annual fireworks display on the harbour tomorrow night?

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  11. TEXASBLU – I am really glad, hon. Being tranquil is such a nice place to be!

    EVE – I hope you had a lovely time too. It goes by so quickly, doesn’t it?

    ANTHONY – I’ll try. Actually, it is very good advice. Cheers!

    KAYT – I am the fortunate one. I hope you have a year of abundance but also serenity; and that joy visits you often!

    JASON – thanks so much!!!

    LAURI – oh, there were plenty of tornadoes at Christmas (but that’s a story for another day). You’re right – it is like they’ve turned off the tornado warning siren. Hope you also had a lovely Christmas.

    DEOLA – so glad you liked it. How kind you are!

    KAREN – there definitely is a sense of melancholy. I think it’s because of the hype Lauri mentioned before. Our expectations are high and we are so busy beforehand that by the time the actual day gets here it is over in a flash. I like New Year’s Day too. Anything bright and shiny is always good!

    PAISLEY – I thank God for that skill because it really keeps me going in my darkest hours. That’s one great thing I have learned from writing – even when it is black as night in my head, the world is full of colour!

    ROMANY – we go to the fireworks every year, but we don’t go right into the city. We go to our local park on Rozelle Bay where we can see both the Anzac Bridge and the Harbour Bridge. It’s usually much less crowded. Hope you and all the family have a lovely New Year!!!

    LURAGANO – well, you have made my day by saying that. I am absolutely delighted. Thanks so much. XX

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