Do you know how it seems that winters were always colder ‘back in the days’? How in the childhoods of parents and grandparents, winters seemed to be magical times, covered in show. Times, when you could walk on the frozen ocean near the coastline, where people snowed in for days on end and had to boil snow on the wood-burning stove for hot water, and when Christmas was always white?
Growing up, I remember my mother telling stories of how she and her brothers would go to a lake near their house and ice skate, sometime in the 1960s. As a child, I found the notion of skating on a real lake terribly romantic, and in my mind’s eye, I saw my mother skating around on the ice, her long brown hair, so like mine, trailing behind her on the icy wind.
When I stumbled upon these skates in our collection, these romantic notions came back to me – though these skates are significantly older than the ones my mother would have used. But they have now merged with my childhood fantasies.
So, on this Christmas Day, let us forget the hectic pace of the Holidays, the stress of gift buying and cooking food, of Christmas parties and maxed out credit cards. Let us instead close our eyes and imagine three children skating on a frozen lake, in that purple-blue dusk of a Danish December evening, when the sun sets at 4pm and the stars come out. Imagine the scraping sound of skates on ice, of children’s laughter echoing through the brittle air. Picture the puffs of hot breath and the red cheeks and chins, peeking out from between woollen scarves and hats.
If that does not bring you in the true Christmas spirit, I do not know what will.