A selection to prove the festive season has started.
In other years I removed the picture before taking photographs but this year the whole crib scene has grown in leaps and bounds so it almost seems a part of the scene. Recent additions have been the three cats, the elephant, Miriam the serving girl and Sharon the shepherd woman.
Decorating the tree year by year always brings back lots of memories, which is why I like having the eclectic, random, even haphazard beauty of it. It makes me think of the children growing up, visitors, Oldies who are long gone, and loads of fun and laughter. There is a kind of echo of all these memories and the emotions that go with them.
Some of the traditional baubles range over many years from 1965 until a couple of years ago. I love having the newest together with the faded old ones. Seeing them on the tree makes me think of endurance and joy and some sadness, but most of all it is the continuity of the festival every year that helps to replenish hope, love and faith.
Elephants seem to be a theme. In actual fact I put a lot of elephants up for adoption when we down-sized a few years ago. They have all settled nicely into their new homes thank you. The ones that remain at Dalamory gaze out at the preparations with calm assurance from their places on top of bookshelves.
Christmas is a time of year that evokes many memories and dreams. As grandparents, we are privileged to share some of those with our grandchildren. Now that I am retired it is an important part of the season for me. Yes, I miss the ability to lead worship, but it is wonderful to sit in a warm, decorated church and watch and listen all over again, to the Christmas stories.
How many of the cats can you see in this detail? By the way, I have to say thanks to Fontanini for all the pleasure they have given me over the years.
PS Misty has just come in from outside mingin with deer poo. A trawl round the garden reveals the place where the deer was sleeping but all the poo seems to be on Misty. (Mingin is an old Scots word for deeply unpleasant smelling.)