Gathering Holly in Advent
Blogged by James Preece on 6th December 2009
One of the more interesting things about having children is the development of Christmas traditions. I'm not talking here about well known traditions like Christmas trees and Nativity sets, I'm talking about family traditions. For example, in the Bogle household they wash the manger.
Now that Leona is old enough to have an idea what is going on we've been making a conscious effort to create a few traditions of our own and one of these is "we always go out for a walk to gather some holly". This year was the first time.
It was a beautiful crisp winters day and we drove to the top of Brantingham hill which is one of my favourite places in the world if only because of all the memories.
I was taken there as a child with the gang from Broomfleet (aunties, uncles, cousins) and we pushed my uncle down the hill in a pram. I was taken there many times on scout hikes including a few night hikes the dark. I was taken there on a Duke of Edinburgh's Award training weekend where there was a girl called Ella that I was very fond of but afraid to say so and I came here today with Ella and our children look for holly.
I only notice now I look at the photos that Leona is wearing the exact same had that Ella wore all those years ago.
The sun was shining through the trees and making everything golden. We walked for a little while, Leona stopping as she does to examine everything including a molehill to which she pointed and said "poop" (an easy mistake to make). Eventually it happened that I stopped the pram to take a photo while Ella and Leona walked a little way ahead until Ella stopped and looked around. "Oh, very good daddy!" Ella said (calling me daddy 'cause thats what you do when toddlers are around), she thought I had stopped because of the holly bush I was stood next to (that they had walked right past) when actually I hadn't seen it either.
Mummy clipped some holly branches (no berries anywhere) and passed them to Leona who was very well gloved up (health and safety). Leona put them in big bucket we brought with us while daddy looked up and down the path nervously wondering if somebody might come along and tell us off for stealing holly.
We were careful not to take too much holly from any given bush and moved from bush to bush until eventually we had ample holly for our needs. Ella took a little more because it's always best to be safe, then we headed back to the car - but not until we'd played a little hide and seek.
On the way home we stopped for fuel and idiot daddy accidentally bought premium expensive fuel (the pumps were badly marked) which was 15p a litre more expensive but he was cheered up when we passed one of those farmhouses where they sell veg outside with an honesty box and discovered that not only do Brussels Sprouts grow on freaky alien sticks but that he could buy one for only £1.20! Despite the influence of popular culture, I actually quite like Brussel Sprouts!
When we got home mummy used green wire to tie the holly branches all around the house giving it a slight hint of the festivities to come without actually constituting decorations (not shiny, no lights) and spoiling Advent. There will be no real decorations going up until much nearer to Christmas day.
All in all we had a good time and I think Leona did too so we will definitely be doing it again next year.