ScotlandMy most striking impression of the Christmas festive time is from my days when I worked at www.camphillscotland.org.uk/. I lived in a large community with able bodied and persons with handicaps or learning difficulties. I was responsible for 2 young ladies, one of whom had mental and physical problems, the other had a form of autism. Needless to say our days were challenging, on every scale, but it was immensely fun and seriously rewarding.
Within Camphill the passing of the days, months and years are marked with various celebrations and traditions. For advent there is the advent spiral.
I found this the most breathtaking experience ever and it still brings a tear to my eye. The room is darkened and everyone comes in quietly singing. In the centre of the room is a large pillar candle and leading out from it is a spiral made from precious stones, mosses and fir branches.
I have tears in my eyes as I type this, just so special for a handicapped child to manage to 'collect' their fragile being together enough to carry out this magical moment, all by themselves and start the process of lengthening the days of winter.
After all have placed their candle apples the room is very much filled with light and this marks the start of the Christmas celebration time.
By Julie, www.etsy.com/shop/Dorsbien & www.etsy.com/shop/AuntAmnesia