Christmas is Something Happening in the Past

Photographs — Alex Waterhouse-Hayward — 24 December 2018, Burnaby BC

Somehow for me Christmas is always a thing of the past. It reminds me of the Jorge Luís Borges poem The Rain:

The afternoon grows light because at last

Abruptly a minutely shredded rain

Is falling, or it fell. For once again

Rain is something happening in the past.

No matter how pleasant or not every Christmas for me is one, always, of past reflection. This 2018 Christmas in which for the first time we did not celebrate Christmas Eve at home but at my youngest daughter’s home in Burnaby is one that I will certainly keep in my thoughts. That that sentence is in the future it does not negate that Christmas like rain is something happening in the past.

By December 23 my Rosemary and I had the satisfaction of knowing that every gift was wrapped (wrapping is her specialty) and that we could sort of relax. While this time we were not cooking (our son — in-law Bruce was in charge) Rosemary had to do her famous Yorkshire pudding which always comes with my gravy. We jointly made a flan.

What made this Burnaby Christmas special and different is that my friend Curtis Daily, the baroque bassist from Portland was our guest. He was in town for a Chan performance of Claudio Monteverdi’s Vespers.

On Christmas Eve the three of us drove the Chevrolet Cruze to Burnaby.

A bone of contention every Christmas is the Christmas family photograph. Worse still I am always accused of making it more difficult by insisting our cats be in the picture. Since Niño and Niña stayed in Kitsilano this was a stress left out.

I took the family portrait between dinner and opening the presents. After the presents were opened I crossed my fingers and asked Lauren (16) and Rebecca (21) to pose. They posed!

The wrapping paper is long gone, the presents put away, the candies are half consumed. Today is December 26. I can firmly think about being in the present as I stretch the day to a day of nothing to be done and nothing to be planned. And this is all happening without any Roman Catholic guilt.

What made this Christmas special (besides being able to snap pictures of my granddaughters) is having a stranger (even if Curtis is a good friend) with us. I believe that I am going to plan (and this is a Christmas of the future!) for a guest for the next one. Will it be in Burnaby or Kitsilano? It is not important.

What is important is that after it happens that I might be able to write one more of those “Christmases past”.

Link to: Christmas is Something Happening in the Past

Originally published at

Into Bunny Watson. I am a Vancouver-based magazine photographer/writer. I have a popular daily blog which can be found at:

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