As the festive season is upon us I wanted to tell you what Christmas was like when I was a child. I know it’s probably hard to imagine mummy as a child herself but it doesn’t seem very long ago to me at all. Once you are all grown up yourselves you will realise why I say that. Christmas as a child was magical and it still is up to this day but the magic is now seen through your eyes. My mum had a tradition of not putting up the decorations until a week before Christmas and we weren’t allowed to put up the tree until Christmas eve itself. I understand now why she did it as she didn’t want us getting over excited I guess but at the time I never understood. All my friends had their trees up and we weren’t allowed until the day before. It did I suppose make putting the tree up all together a very exciting time. As a child we always had an artificial tree, in fact I’m pretty sure we had the same tree throughout my childhood, I remember us getting a new one when I was in my early teens. I loved the smell of an artificial tree. As daft as that sounds they always have a certain smell and to me that was the smell of Christmas. Year after year we used to get out the same decorations and I loved them. They all felt familiar, felt like Christmas had arrived. It made my heart leap with excitement.
On Christmas eve one year mum surprised us with duvets, I must have only been about 5 or 6 at the time but up until then we had traditional blankets on the bed, I remember having to pull them up, we’d have a sheet and them maybe two or so heavy blankets. But that particular year we went up to bed on Christmas eve and Mum had bought us both a duvet and duvet cover. Seems daft ow something so simple but I remember it so clearly.
We’d always leave out a mince-pie, a glass of milk and a carrot near the tree for Father Christmas and his reindeer, alongside our neatly folded pillow case then head on up to bed. I never tried to stay up late to see Father Christmas but I do remember the sleepless nights, I’d toss and turn all night waking up every so often to see if it was morning time. That night always felt so magical, like there was glitter in the air. There were never present put under the tree until that magical night. I’d sometimes get up to look out of the window to see if I could see the big man himself flying through the air. In my childhood there was no internet so we couldn’t track his journey like we do today!
Each Christmas morning Father Christmas would leave a stocking on mine and your Uncle’s door handle, which would have small wrapped gifts inside. We still have the same stockings today from mum (your grandma) There was always some smells and without a doubt I’d get marshmallows as well. Often there would be some chocolate which would have been eaten by breakfast time! So we’d get our stockings and head to Mum and Dad’s bedroom and sit with Mum (dad would hide under the pillow snoozing!) and open the stockings. Once that was done we’d have to get dressed before we were allowed to go downstairs. That rule used to frustrate me as it seemed to stall the proceedings but obviously that was the quickest we’d get dressed all year! Once we were dressed we’d head downstairs to see if he’d been. We were very lucky children as he’d always make a stop off at our house. I remember marvelling at the half eaten carrot and crumbs of mince-pie and the empty glass of milk. It felt very exciting to me that the big man himself had taken the time to eat the goodies we had left him, I could never quite believe he’d come into our house. I remember loving the sight of a pillow case full of presents just for me, I still do!
Your Uncle was always a fast present opener, he’d be tearing at the paper on gift number 3 whilst I was still carefully removing sellotape from the first present. I really like to take my time. We were allowed to open our present all morning long while mum popped in and out of the kitchen to cook the dinner. When we were much smaller we would go to church on Christmas morning with my Grandma, I remember coming back from church one year to a big box, it was my pram. I loved that pram, it was a miniature silver cross coach build one. I wonder what happened to it, I’ll have to ask my mum about that. I’d love to get you a pram boys but you’ve never been interested in playing with dolls, I wouldn’t hesitate if you did ask for one though! As we got a little older and Grandma wasn’t as mobile we used to stop by her house for a while instead of her coming to us.
Christmas dinner was usually served in the middle of the afternoon and was turkey with all the trimmings. There was always pigs in blankets or sausages, all the veggies, roast potatoes, gravy, bread sauce, apple & cranberry sauce. The table would be heaving. We’d have crackers and wear the hats – although my head is massive so the hat always tore (I’m afraid you may have inherited this from me – I wonder if they make big head crackers these days?!) After dinner we were allowed to have the special tree presents, these were always hidden in the tree. Usually just a small gift, some socks, or a magazine etc. I don’t know where this tradition came from but it was something our family did and still do today. Some years we’d watch the Queens speech but not always, in the evenings as if we hadn’t eaten enough already mum would always do a buffet with cheeses and party nibbles. I looked forward to this every year. Dad would always moan that it was over the top and unnecessary but being a bit like Victor Meldrew we’d come to expect it. We’d carry on enjoying ourselves as we always did. By the time that was over it was time to collapse in a heap and go off to bed, sad that Christmas day was over but thankful for a lovely family day together.
As a young child I thought all people’s Christmas days were the same. It was only as I got older that I realised everyone had their own traditions and some people of course didn’t celebrate Christmas at all. I however looking back am thankful for the effort my mum must have put into our Christmas each year. All the unseen things I now realise she must have done for us. I remember Christmas as a child fondly, I wish I could go back and be invisible just like Scrooge does and watch on silently in the corner. There are a few back and white video clips of Christmas day when I was very young but nothing like we have today. I hope that when you are all grown up boys that you look back and remember magical Christmas’s in our house. I hope that you look back and remember the love most of all. The love we have for you and each other at this special time of year.
Please always remember I love you unconditionally ….forever.
Love Mummy x
P.S Don’t grown up to quickly and always, ALWAYS believe!