At this time of year they come crowding in, mingling with the smells of Christmas baking, filling me with nostalgia. Some memories are lovely (my mother playing carols on the piano) some of them not so happy (I lost my darling in mid-November, I don’t even want to recall that at Christmas) but we have to carry on, don’t we, doing the best we can.
I find that baking things to give away helps me. But if you don’t like to cook, maybe knitting or sewing, painting a picture, or creating a poem, or a Christmas story or even sending Christmas cards to people you care about would ease that lonesome feeling.
The telephone is also wonderful. Now that prices are more reasonable, I can even call my dear cousins in Nova Scotia. At four cents a minute it costs less than some of the Christmas cards I saw and is so much more fun to hear their voices.
Oh, yes, this is supposed to be a gardening column isn’t it? Sorry about that, but its too cool to be out raking leaves and turning over the soil in the vegetable bed, so we are left with house plants or talking about Christmas and our gift lists.
I made a trip to a garden centre to try to get a few marvelous ideas for gifts for gardeners, and there were lots of them there: plants and tools (everything from a trowel to a pruning saw).
Then there was garden statuary (nymphs, swans, gnomes) metal benches, wonderful bird baths, bird houses and feeders and, of course, indoor plants, as well as lovely spring-blooming shrubs for outside.
There are even some bulbs available (amaryllis for example).
I’ve mentioned this before, but one year I gave a load of rotted manure to a neighbour of whom I was fond. She was a bit baffled when the truck backed into her driveway and made its odorous deposit, but enjoyed the results the following spring. Her “thank you” was somewhat stilted until then.
Happy Christmas to all of you, from a grateful me.
Helen Lang has been the Peninsula News Review’s garden columnist for more than 30 years.