By Catriona Aitken Freelance writer and Student in the beautiful bubble of St Andrews. Also loves music, reading & swimming 🐬 She’s passionate about keeping news accessible!

Here at Kindaba, we really appreciate the value of quality family time. Whether your loved ones live far and wide, or have schedules so busy that squeezing in time together sometimes feels like a chore, we understand that family traditions are crucial in bringing people together. And no time of year is bedecked in more family festivities than Christmas. While we all have different holiday traditions, in my house, it’s always been about trimming the tree…

While my mum whisks round the house like a beautiful flurry of snow, dusting each surface with a sprinkle of holiday magic, my sister and I take charge of the tree. Standing pride of place in family home, each branch telling family tales of all our childhood Christmases, each carefully wrapped gift beneath symbolising a thoughtful moment between two family members.

From the early use of decorated evergreen branches adorning Pagan homes as part of annual winter festivities, to the introduction of the modern-day Christmas tree under the rule of Queen Victoria, the historic tradition of the Christmas tree has lasted generations. And, as far as I’m concerned,  its not going anywhere 

Fun Fact: Having a German husband herself, Queen Victoria was photographed adopting the idea, which had been brought to the UK many years before by German immigrants but had not been so popular! It soon became commonplace in the British household.

When I return home in December, we always put on a family favourite Christmas film, crack open a “it doesn’t count at Christmas” box of chocolates, and clamber up to the attic to retrieve boxes of bundled-up baubles. Mismatched memories which come together in an explosion of colour. All shapes and sizes, remainders from sets long since lost, lights that always need one bulb replaced, and tinsel torn with year-old sellotape. Then proceeds the inevitable recounting of well-known family stories as we hang the baubles one by one – handling each with care, as though made of diamond or crystal, but knowing that, to us, they are worth much more.

I remember one year, with the film Elf in the background and Quality Street on the coffee table, I discovered a whole box that had been neglected for a few years. There lay the glitter-covered angels my uncle gave us as little girls, and what was left of the vintage Disney baubles. Another year, with Frank Sinatra serenading from the stereo and mince pies with cream warming our tummies, my sister and I cried with laughter while examining our collection of homemade decorations, from my poorly painted aztec bauble, to her lopsided reindeer!

And so I’m never too old to bask in the festive family joy. While we may age, Christmas never does. Because, at the end of the day, it’s those moments we remember. Presents, while wonderful, usually blur into one another, and cards stay up for just a month at most. Food is delicious, and parties are enjoyed. But that time with loved ones? Well, it lasts.

Some years, unfortunately, it’s just not possible to have us all in the same place at the same time. But that’s ok too. Because at Kindaba we’re helping families who are spread across the globe to use the wonders of technology to keep creating those special moments. When I can’t be there to help my family decorate our tree, I know I can rely on a call, or instant picture or video. I know I’ll still be made to feel like I’m there.

How do you like to decorate your tree? Do you all pitch in? Or steer clear in utter awe while watching one artistic family member brings it to life?

Join the conversation about how festive activities bring you closer with your loved ones over on our Famtech Community. We look forward to welcoming you!

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