Blue, green, yellow, orange, red, and white
lights twinkle on trees and around windows, reminding us that it is
Christmas time. Snow falls, landing softly on the browning grass,
blanketing it in whiteness.
Inside the house, warm
and secure, Nelson and his sister, Kira sat in front of the fire. "Tell
us a story about Christmas, Grandma," Nelson begged. "Tell us about when
you were a little girl."
His grandma smiled.
"Nelson, when I was a wee lass, we didnít even know what Christmas was.
Did you know that until the 1960ís it wasnít celebrated in Scotland, so
I canít tell you about Christmas in my days. When your dad was a wee
lad, we started enjoying Christmas."
"No Christmas?" Kira said
softly, in disbelief.
"No, my wee hen. It
wasnít like it is today. I didnít have a tree with colored lights. I
didnít know who Santa Claus was, and I never had any presents. I didnít
even know Christmas existed," her grandma explained.
Kira and Nelson looked at
the tree. He loved how the colored lights sparkled and made the
ornaments prettier. "Tell me, Kira, what do you like about Christmas?"
"I like everything," she
said. "I like Christmas trees."
"Did you know that the
idea of a Christmas tree came from Germany? When I was a lass, in the
wintertime we decorated our house with mistletoe and junipers. They were
symbols of life during the cold months," Grandma explained.
"What about you, Nelson?
What do you like about Christmas?" she asked.
Nelson looked into the
flames of the fire that was roaring in the fireplace. "I like the Yule
log," he answered.
"Did you know in
Scotland, the Yule log should be cut from a birch tree?" Grandma said.
"I didnít know that,
Grandma. What does a Yule log mean anyway?" Nelson asked.
"A log was put in the
fireplace to remind us to keep our hearts warm and filled with good
thoughts," Grandma explained. "Thereís a lot of tradition with Yule
logs, but right now, I want to talk about you both. You know what I love
about Christmas now?"
"What, Grandma?" Kira
"I love the food and
having my family together. Remember last year when you came to my house?
We had a big feast. There were meat pies, and fresh salmon and trout,
roasted goose and beef, venison, pheasant, lamb and grouse. We also had
roasted apples, bridies and pasties, and hot bannocks. Pine logs burned
in the fireplace, filling the house with a sweet smell," she reminded
them. "I think there was enough food on that table to feed an entire
village for a year." She chuckled.
"I remember that,
Grandma," Nelson spoke. "I remember the clootie dumpling. I found ten
pence in my piece."
"I liked the shortbread
and tablet," Kira said, licking her lips. "Oh, and the plum pudding. I
remember it being on fire."
"Youíre right, wee Kira.
It was a feast. Now, itís time to tuck you in. Santa Claus will be
coming tonight when you are fast asleep and leaving you some gifts,"
Grandma said. She took them upstairs and tucked them in. ""Goodnight, my
wee bairns," she whispered and went back down to the fire.
She sat quietly,
remembering the days when sheíd help her father cut mistletoe from high
in the trees and tie branches of juniper trees, covered with little
whitish-green berries, with big red ribbons. A smile lit her face and
glowed as brightly as the roaring fire. Merry Christmas.