Author: Sandy Bennett-Haber

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Thursday, December 3rd, 2020 at 12:27 pm
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Christmas at the Botanics

Lights, Camera, Nature: Finding the Joy

Christmas in Edinburgh is usually supercharged. This year things look different but thankfully, despite all that is missing, there is still Christmas cheer to be had. The key is spreading the joy: it’s not all about the 25th.

As an Australian I tend to feel the distance from my family, and the traditions I grew up with keenly at Christmas. I’ve developed a way to manage the Christmas day gloom and this year we all need that. 

Usually the kids have their nativity plays at school, I prioritise catch ups with friends for nice lunches and dinners, we have a family evening at the Christmas market, and maybe another one ice skating. We watch Christmas movies, listen to Christmas songs, go to local carols – and I try to stop the kids squabbling over their advent calendar everyday before school. 

This year of course everything looks different. The nativity plays won’t have an audience, catch ups are limited and there is no market. I am trying to focus the kids on the joy of giving (with limited success) and working harder to find the joy in myself. 

In place of the market I took the seven year old and the five year old along to Christmas at the Botanics on Wednesday night and it absolutely brought the Christmas cheer to my heart. They were overjoyed with the magic of the lights and music, and delighted in the novelty of wandering the paths in the darkness waiting to see what would come next, and of course they loved the surprise guest at the end of the trail. 

Some of my favourite moments were the quieter vignettes where the beauty of a single tree was illuminated, transporting me into Midsummer nights dream – quite a job amidst the noise of two excited kids and the rain of a December night in Scotland. 

Visiting Christmas at the Botanics will be on the list for our Christmas next year – indeed, if I feel the Christmas joy getting a little thin on the ground we might well make a return visit before this 25th. 

(And if anyone has any tips on how to manage the gloom of Edinburgh in January do let me know).

Running til 3rd January 2021

For information and tickets go to: www.rbge.org.uk/christmas

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