Ed’s let­ter: Tiny things that make my fam­ily happy.

NZ House & Garden - - CONTENTS - Sally Dug­gan

Wel­come to our Christ­mas is­sue. In these glossy pages, you’ll learn how to make Christ­mas muesli, panet­tone and a joy­ful botan­i­cal wreath. You’ll be ad­vised on the lat­est ta­ble looks plus great gift buys and shown how to build a tiny tree from straw­ber­ries. You will, in short, find ev­ery­thing you need to make this your fam­ily’s best-dressed

Christ­mas ever. Note, how­ever, that

I said best-dressed, not best.

While I’m a sucker for fine fes­tive frip­pery, I’m un­der no il­lu­sion that per­fectly crafted wreaths and the like guar­an­tee a good Christ­mas. A beau­ti­ful fes­tive home is one thing; a good time is some­thing dif­fer­ent al­to­gether. And the six Christ­mas-lov­ing fam­i­lies whose homes we visit in this is­sue agree with me on this.

Yes, their rooms sparkle and their ta­ble set­tings are in­stantly in­sta­grammable. But ask these folk about their best-ever Christ­mas and they’re just as likely to talk about a pre-reno pic­nic on the lawn as they are to ex­pound on their lovely homes. A good Christ­mas, we agreed, is a bit like hap­pi­ness: you can set the scene and in­vite it in, but in the end it ei­ther hap­pens or it doesn’t.

One of my best Christ­mases was a cou­ple of years ago. I think it was the year I bought servi­ettes with lime green and crim­son spots, and my son Ben whipped up an ut­terly awe­some Beef Welling­ton, but that might have been an­other year. What re­ally sticks in my mind about this par­tic­u­lar Christ­mas is that we all got to talk­ing about our small plea­sures: the lit­tle things that can in­ject a fris­son of joy into an or­di­nary day.

The fur be­tween the cat’s toes, said my moggy-be­sot­ted hus­band Nick. Hair that smells nice, said Ben. Old peo­ple sit­ting in the sun, said Nick. Fold­ing clean wash­ing, I said. The feel­ing af­ter a run. A clever pun. Old things, said Ben. West­erly winds, said my son-in-law Mark. A good sharp fil­let­ing knife. Kim Hill on the ra­dio and pod­casts, said Kate. As­para­gus, she added.

We kept on and on with this sort of thing, spark­ing off one an­other and feel­ing lucky and happy. Even­tu­ally Kate got a pen and wrote some of our best ones down on the lit­tle sheets of pa­per I use to make shop­ping lists.

Those hap­pi­ness lists – in my daugh­ter’s super-neat, spiky hand­writ­ing – are sit­ting on my desk now as I write this let­ter, along­side the glow­ing page proofs of this mag­a­zine. And sud­denly, I am re­ally look­ing for­ward to Christ­mas.

Hope you get a good one this year.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.