12 Days of Christmas, Day 7 – Wendy Orr

Welcome to 2011, which is also the 7th Day of Christmas and this time the Christmas Traditions are from Wendy Orr.

Wendy was born in Canada but lives in Australia. She is a superb writer of books that include: Nim’s Island (on which the film starring Jodi Foster and Abigail Breslin was based), Peeling the Onion (for which she received a Children’s Book Cuncil of Australia honour award), Mokie and Bik, and her new picture book The Princess and Her Panther. And Wendy is a lovely friend.

Here is Wendy’s beautfiful, emotive tradition of angels and sisters and distance and the Spirit of Christmas.

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Wendy & Harry (her poddle cross)

Christmas in Germany… I don’t know which town, or exactly why we’d gone there from our home in northern France, but I remember the air as sharp and cold, with a light dusting of snow on the streets. My parents were buying china, a porcelain dinner service – the shop was full of white plates with gold rims, fragile cups and saucers displayed on white tablecloths… and none of it was to be touched. In fact my sister and I were barely to move. Hours passed – or maybe a half – and eventually, the dinner set that would be used every Christmas after was packed into boxes. And then, the magic of St. Nicholas, or of being good little girls in a china shop: we were shown a host of tiny, porcelain white robed angels, each with a candle standing beside her on the grass-green base. “Choose one each,” the shopkeeper said, “as a gift to take home.”

To an adult eye, they may have been identical, but child eyes knew better. We hesitated, hovered, selected… and cherished. That’s how I know, as I place my little blonde angel on my Australian windowsill this season, that on the other side of the Pacific, in her home on Canada’s West Coast, my sister will be doing the same. Two tiny china figurines, unwrapped each year in dozens of different homes over nearly half a century, still imbued with the spirit of Christmas in our hearts.

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You can find Wendy’s website here or her blog here. Do have a look at them both.

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