I’ve never made a Christmas pudding, nor ever saw my mother or grandmother make one. I was in my mid-thirties before I made my first attempt to (under)cook a poor turkey. These kinds of traditions were things other people did – cousins and neighbours, and people on TV.
Christmas in my house was always a pared back, laid back affair. Mum would buy cold meats and salads from the supermarket and loads of festive stone fruit. She worked so hard the rest of the year, she wasn’t going to work on Christmas day. Her idea of decorating the house was to drape a bit of tinsel in a bowl full of pinecones, semi-artistically, under the watchful eyes of the Modigliani print above the dining table. Then she’d don a sarong and crack a tinny.
I miss my parents and their quiet, romantic internationalism, their ordinary beliefs in decency and dignity for all across the world. I miss Dad’s cheerful, almost childlike understanding that you can’t say g’day to someone and hang onto any mean-spiritedness at the same time. Once you’ve shaken hands or shared a beer, that’s it – mates for life.
My parents were as perfect as I am – not very. But the gift they gave me that I value the most is generosity: to open my home and heart to anyone who turns up on my doorstep; to share my good fortune in ways that might somehow nourish others; to listen to others’ stories; to always try to find room in my ever-cluttered brain to learn more about the things that matter.
So, dear reader, here’s a humble little gift from me to you: a short, sweet story called ‘For Pigs’, about a young girl becoming herself at Christmas, once upon a time. The girl is not me, but she is brimming with my spirit and all my hungry wonderings. I hope you enjoy it. Click on the ‘Download’ link here to read it:
Love and happy holidays,