Thursday 12 December 2019

Christmas Memories

Memories can often be altered by time, for good or for bad we do not always remember things how they actually were. I doubt many of us remember what we got for a Christmas present before we were five or six years old.I certainly don't. I do remember every year we use to make paper chains, the sort that required you to lick and stick them together...yeuuchh at the thought now but it was fun at the time.

I do remember our Christmas days varied depending on where we were staying for the holidays. Regardless of where we were we had stocking on our beds.. I remember mine and my sisters were the same, they containing a chocolate sweet of some description, an apple and an orange, a bottle of  Nulon hand cream, one of us got pink and one yellow and an annual of some sort.depending on our age. We were allowed to open our stocking when ever we awoke. There was never a surprise of any sort in them, but we still woke early, opened them together, read our annuals and then go back to sleep.

Me Christmas 1962. 

Once up in the morning we had to take our stocking through to our parents room and show them what was in them before our mum went down the stairs to see if Santa had been and if he had then we got to go down and see. If we were at home then we opened some of our presents, had some breakfast usually rolls and bacon and played with what we had opened. If it was something for outside like a bike or roller skates we would wrap up and go pout.  After our full Christmas dinner we got to open the rest of our presents.

If we were staying with my paternal grandparents then we only got to choose one present when we got up in the morning and the rest were not opened until after lunch. I don't ever remember going to my maternal grandparents for Christmas, we may have done, but I was only nine when they left the UK for Australia. Have to say I don't have many happy memories from my childhood Christmas's.

When my own children came along I decided that despite the fact we did not have much money I wanted my children to have good memories of their Christmas days. So we started some new traditions that made it about more than the presents.

They always got to decorate the tree. May not have always looked very good, got better as they got older, but the decorations were generally always on the bottom half and usually to the front of the tree but as long as they were happy it was about them.

Christmas Eve was always about keeping them busy. After lunch we always made mince pies for Santa and the elves. They all did their bit depending on their age. From cutting out the circles with the pastry cutters, putting the  mince in, the job of the youngest child and then topping them off. Rarely were they sealed properly and the tops and bottoms did not always meet, but we made them together as a family. They also made chocolate krispie cakes that they would eat for their supper, probably the only day of the year that got chocolate for supper.

When DS2 was two we bought something that became a big part of our tradition, Disney sing a long of Christmas - you can see it on you tube here. We are all rather tone deaf bit we use to have so much fun "singing" along.After supper they got ready for bed, set up the table with the mince pies milk amd carrots and then we did the video. Once the video finished we would go upstairs and read some Christmas themed bedtime stories before he was put to bed.
I would play games with the girls, which we often did anyway, until it was time for bed for them.

We had a friend and her daughter stay for a few years, she was a single mum and the girls all got on well so she added to the enjoyment of our day.

They use to bring their stockings through to our room and we would all pile on the bed while they opened what was in them.To the squeals of delight and the happy laughter. Friend and daughter piled in as well, the more the merrier.

We then went down stairs and they had to eat something sensible before we tore into the presents under the tree. Some of the presents the children got were second hand, but children don't notice there is no cellophane wrapping or that things were detached from the internal packaging.

Then they played for a while with their toys, again going outside with any outdoor toys before we had rolls and bacon mid morning, bacon was expensive at the time and a real treat. We would go over to Auntie Carols house and my lot would take their "best" present of the day over to see her son Christopher and help him open his presents, he got that much stuff he could never possibly open it all in one day. I remember the year son, Christopher and the wee boy in the flat up the stairs him all got a remote control big foot car and their controls would work each others and they would randomly move in the other house if one child played with theirs.

They had snacks over at Carols house before we all piled back for Christmas dinner. The rest of the day was spent playing with what they had. Bedtime was into new pyjamas watch the sing along dvd again, stories and bed. Probably the only day of the year the older girls did not object to going to bed the same time as their baby brother.

DD2 tells me she does not remember ever feeling like they did not get enough presents but she remembers very fondly the season being about doing things together and creating memories and memories are free.

I do remember son asking me one year when it was two more sleeps to Christmas if he went for an afternoon nap did that count as a sleep....nice try but way to old to need an afternoon nap.

Some of these traditions I started with my children I carried on with the older two  We use to do Christmas eve baking for Santa and the elves with food allergies. Sadly for me most years the younger ones now do things with their parents and are not usually available to bake with.

We also started another tradition with the grandchildren about twelve years ago which those old enough to remember love as part of the season. They all come to us on another day after Christmas, some times Boxing Day, this year will be January 1st as first day we can all get together and we have what we call second Christmas where they all get their presents from our side of the family. The idea was and still is the parents get a few hours peace, we get to spend time watching them opening their presents and get to play with them. Spreads it out for tham and makes it less overwhelming on the 25th

Boba nd Fifi with their baking.

I also remember a well know card shop at the time did personalised letters from Santa. Every year from the time she stopped believing DD1 use to go into the card shop and order and pay for a letter for her brother. He use to love them and so looked forward to getting one, I think he kept them for years. He was quite heartbroken when he found out that Santa was not real and it was his sister that had done it. This was one of those family things that was brought up every year for many years afterwards.

What do you remember most about your Christmas?


  1. As a child I had mostly good Christmas's. I had an alcoholic mother so things were always tense with her and my dad and even as a chid I remember it. Now I try to make my girls Christmas's as special as they can be.
    What lovely traditions you have. Your 2nd Christmas with the grandkids sounds great! x

  2. Love this post and reading about your memories

  3. Lovely memories and reflecting with fondness X #pocolo


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