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Customs and Kindness by Eloise Williams

I’ve always loved Christmas. I love the twinkling lights on the tree, the scent of pine and cinnamon, singing carols by candlelight and cwtching up around a log fire to read a gorgeous book. 

When I was young we used to go to my Grandparents’ house in Llantrisant and as my grandmother was German we would be treated to the most unimaginably delicious handmade chocolate gateaux and all sorts of unusual sweets which she had brought back from her frequent visits to Dusseldorf. Her tree was covered with beautiful glass baubles of all different colours and when I think of a German Christmas this is what I always imagine: the shimmering colours of stained glass.  

Boxing Day was always the day for ‘The Cardiff Lot’ when we would get together with my Nanny Brenda and all that side of the family. We’d celebrate in a traditional Welsh way with games and laughter and more than a bit of chaos with a party that seems, in my memory anyway, to last right through to dancing hand in hand in the street on New Year’s Eve singing ‘Auld Lang Syne’ at the top of our voices into the City’s starry sky.

Now that I’m a grown-up (or am supposed to be, at least) I live in a fairy-tale cottage by the sea, just down water from where Dylan Thomas wrote, and I spend the lead up to Christmas writing and reading and dreaming next to my own Christmas tree.  Of course, my dog Watson Jones will constantly pester me for cheese as this is his favourite thing about Christmas. He is also partial to a bit of a sing-song when he spots squirrels in the garden too so it isn’t all peaceful and quiet.

And this year my family consists of Welsh and English, German and Nigerian, Indian and Cairn Terrier and we have a completely barmy but multi-cultural and multi-species celebration of life and customs and kindness and it really is the most wonderful time of the year! 

Eloise Williams - Eloise's book Elen's Island, all about the magic of family, stories and the sea is available, all details and an extract HERE.

Eloise and Watson Jones: