Welcome to Life Images by Jill

Welcome to Life Images by Jill.........Stepping into the light and bringing together the images and stories of our world.
I am a photographer, writer and multi-media artist. Through my blog I am
seeking to preserve images and memories of the beautiful world in which we live and the people in it.



Saturday, 17 December 2016

Christmas is a time for family and sharing

Christmas is nearly here again. This time of year I think a lot about those who are missing from my family Christmas table. My husband and I have lost both our sets of parents over the last few years.  In December of 2014, a couple of months after my father passed away, I wrote a poem "The Ghosts of Christmas Past". It was printed in my writer's group anthology, The Runaway Quill, which was published this year (you can see a pic of it in the sidebar). Recently I heard from one of our members that a friend of his who is a church minister in Adelaide in South Australia will be reading it during his Christmas services. This has made me feel extremely happy and humble at the same time. I know at the time I wrote it my writer's group said that many people would be able to relate to my poem. I have decided to share it with you here, as I know that we all have someone missing from our table at this special time when families come together.  

This is my Christmas gift to you, my dear readers. I have very much appreciated your support throughout the year, and I wish you all very happy Christmas spent with those you love.

The Ghosts of Christmas Past
Jill Harrison
Christmas only comes but once a year
It brings with it joys and tears

As I go through the motions of gift buying, decorations
And planning menus
I am thinking of those who will be missing from my table for the first time this year
They are the ghosts of Christmas past.

My father hanging Christmas lights in the pine trees at our front gate
The carol singers under our corner street light.

I lay in bed wondering how Father Christmas could possibly come down
   our kitchen chimney and through the little doors at the front of our Metters Stove.
But he did – because the carrots and cake were gone in the morning.

The excitement of seeing my new big doll Lucy under the Christmas tree.

My mother dishing up the Christmas pudding with the threepences hidden inside
Her Christmas carols that filled the house.

The long Christmas table at my Aunts
With aunts and uncles, cousins and grandparents
And silly hats.

Summer heat and laughter,
Playing under the sprinkler on the back lawn,
And laying on the cool passage lino with a new book.

The simple pleasure of humid summer evenings on the back lawn
   looking up at the stars.

As I hang the special Christmas baubles on my tree
And light the candle of remembrance
I look into the eyes of my grandchildren
And I see the ghosts of Christmas past.

And some photos from Christmas past - With my Mum and older sister at a summer holiday cottage at Safety Bay 1958, with my Dad going to church, with my sister and my big doll Lucy, and with my sister at a summer holiday cottage at Palm Beach in 1962. We had shirred front bathers - did you? 

I think my Dad was the first in our area to hang Christmas lights in our garden. We had two huge pine trees at our front gate where he used to hang them. We lived on a corner, and had a street light, and I remember the Salvation Army coming along on Christmas eve and singing Christmas carols under the light. I have such special memories from those childhood Christmases

And some beautiful music from Enya - The Spirit of Christmas Past.

 In Australia we don't have a white Christmas as it is the middle of summer, but we do have a native Christmas tree which is absolutely brilliant this time of year.

 Below is the Australian Christmas Tree - Nuytsia floribunda - which was named the native Christmas tree by early Australian colonists because it bursts out in orange blooms in December.
 The nuytsia tree is the world's largest variety of mistletoe. They are hemiparasitic plants, and grow by attaching themselves to host plants and draw water and nutrition from the host. ABC net - Australian mistletoe

Have you done your Christmas baking? I must start this weekend. Here is a simple recipe to spread some Christmas cheer. In the Australian summer we often hope for a cooler day on Christmas Day, although many people go to the beach in the afternoon or on Boxing Day.  I have memories of my Mum and Aunt cooking a traditional baked Christmas dinner (we blame our old English heritage for this) in a wood stove while it was over 100 degrees Fahrenheit in our kitchen.  

Whilst I still cook a baked Christmas lunch, it is nice to have some simple Christmas recipes that don't require cooking, like this one - Mini Christmas Puddings. 

Honestly this recipe is so easy and so yummy!

All you need is:
1x800gm fruit cake (any plain wrap supermarket brand is fine), 180gm dark chocolate - or use a mixture of light and dark chocolate, 1/4 cup brandy (or substitute with orange juice), white chocolate melts and red and green glace cherries to decorate (or you could use jelly fruit lollies).

Crumble the cake in a large bowl, melt the chocolate, and mix with the cake, and add the brandy. Mix well and then form into balls with your hands. Place on a tray. Melt white chocolate bits and drizzle over the puddings. Use glace cherries cut to shape to decorate. 

Tip - only pour white chocolate over a few at a time as it will set very quickly and you need to stick on the glace cherries before the chocolate sets.  Store in the fridge.  Enjoy!

Do you have a special Christmas memory or recipe? Perhaps you would like to share in the comments. Thank you so much for stopping by. I value your comments and look forward to hearing from you. I will try to visit your blogs in return. 

Have a wonderful week.  I wish you and yours a joyous and peaceful Christmas, spent with those you care about.  For those of my readers who don't celebrate Christmas I wish you peace and happiness. 

I am linking up to the link-ups below. Please click on the links to see fabulous contributions from around the world - virtual touring at its best!


Mosaic Monday 
Life Thru the Lens 

Our World Tuesday
Through My Lens 
Wednesday Around the World at Communal Global
Travel Photo Thursday
The Lovin' Life Team over at Lifestyle Fifty
The Weekly Postcard 
Sky Watch Friday

 ps - I have finally succumbed and I'm now on Instagram - please click on the link if you'd like to take a look - Life Images by Jill on Instagram

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  1. Jill, this is an absolutely beautiful Christmas post. I think sometimes we try to put those ghosts of Christmas past away so it won't hurt as much but I've found over the years (and my parents have been gone a very long time) that by bringing them to life in memories, the Christmas warmth is still there. . .have a wonderful holiday and enjoy the warmth (both that generated by the sun and by love)! Hugs, Jackie

    1. thank you so much Jackie. Wishing you and Joel and your family a very happy Christmas, and wonderful new places to explore in 2017.

  2. I have 12 years of Christmas card photos that my mother organized and took herself. Then printed in a makeshift dark room - the kitchen after the kids were in bed. I can still remember the smell of the chemicals and they developed in pans of water, since she sent these out to relatives, friends, and clients in my father's business. So right now I am going around and writing the backstory for the photos. The most famous or infamous one is THE SHEPHERD WITH THE DIRTY HAND.

    I don't think I can post it here in the message area, but it is on facebook page or I can send you the file if you want.

    1. ha ha! I saw your post about the Shepherd with the diry hand on FBook. I guess it was probably difficult for shepherds, particularly in biblical times, to wash. So maybe it was authentic. What a wonder your Mum must have been developing photos in her makeshift darkroom, whereas we just go to the camera store! Have wonderful Christmas Lucy.

  3. This year I have had loss of loved ones and health issues which has made this a difficult holiday so I do understand. Not feeling like decorating and living alone and not as mobile makes it hard. But trying...

    1. I am so sorry to hear this Rose, and so I wish you peace and happy memories at Christmas. Take care.

  4. Beautiful post Jill :) Emotive, happy, interesting, and customary fabulous photos :) And that's a lovely recipe to have on hand for a quick-ish Christmas fix.

    1. Wishing you a fabulous Christmas with your family in the UK Jo. xx

  5. Your poem brought a tear to my eye Jill because it so aligned with my memories of Christmas. My parents are still alive and in their mid 80s, although not married to one another, I do hold special memories of big extended family Christmases together. I did indeed have a pair of shirred bathers! Thank you for such a lovely post about Christmas and I wish you and your family a wonderful, bright and happy Christmas together.

    1. Ah those shirred bathers! How I loved them! Wishing you and yours a very happy Christmas Kathy, and lots more wonderful travels in 2017. Thank you for your support of my blog over the past year.

  6. Thank you for the beautiful gift that is this poem...truly

    I wish you a very merry Christmas :)

    1. thank you so much for dropping by. Wishing you a very happy Christmas.

  7. What a lovely and touching post! Wishing you and yours much joy.

  8. Thanks for this wonderful post, and for sharing at https://image-in-ing.blogspot.com/2016/12/visiting-bethlehem-gloria-in-excelsis.html. I hope your Christmas is full of happy moments shared, and that you have a wonderful 2017.

  9. Like the look of the Christmas puddings

  10. what a beautiful series of photos ~ lovely for the Holidays ~ thanks,

    Wishing a Very Merry Christmas ~ ^_^

  11. hi sweet friend!!
    Loved the poem!!! Christas is indeed a very special feeling, not a season!!!
    Here our Christmas is also green, but somehow we make it feel white! righ?
    Glad I could stop by and visit!
    Hope you have a very special Christmas!

  12. Lovely poem and photos from the past. The recipe looks simple and yum, but I don't do much Christmas baking. Merry Christmas to you and yours!

  13. Belated comment I know Jill, but just came across this post from last Christmas and wanted to say how lovely it is and that poem - whenever I hear it or read it - brings a tear to my eye ...and shirred bathers - yes I remember them :-)


I hope you have enjoyed your visit to my blog. Thank you for stopping by and for taking the time to comment. I read and very much appreciate every comment and love hearing from you. I will try to visit your blogs in return.