The thyme warmed, and the strawberries turned to a hot syrupy mess on the stove as I stirred.
One friend sliced apples, chills and capsicum; another settled herself under the kitchen window sill to feed her tiny one, and the other rinsed jars, readying them for our concoctions.
If we gather, just once a week in these pre-Christmas days to create gifts, we will have tiny bounties to give away, and pieces of us to share.
This year we bottle jam, and chutney. I dye fabric to make napkins and tea towels. I stitch quilts and bake gingerbread and I determine that our very simple and very hand made presents are more than enough. Want, need, wear, read.
My hope is that the memories of Christmas that make their place in my kids minds won't only be of a bright shiny abundance of toys. But of the smell of pine, the way gingerbread dough rolls out beneath the pin, and the warmth of the shoulders that squeeze them in as we watch Home Alone again. The sparkle of Christmas in drowsy eyes as we drive through neighbourhoods adorned with lights, the warm summer nights outside with a myriad of family and friends always welcomed, always loved. They'll remember beach days, slow mornings, and making, painting, creating things for the people we love.
In the weeks leading up to Christmas, I'm gathering with a handful of friends to get making.
Simple, joyous love.
The most wonderful time.