When I was growing up Christmas was a magical time. It usually started after my Birthday on December 20th when we would put up the tree and the decorations. Now this was no mean feet as my parents lived in a Edwardian house with very high ceilings and we would string paper chains from each corner to the ceiling rose in the centre of the room.
The tree would also be placed on a table in the bay window and would be about 8 foot tall. My Granddad, who lived with us would always take me and my little brother out for a couple of hours Christmas shopping whilst my mum and dad finished all the decorating and then we would come home to snowballs and Babysham (although I am sure ours was non-alcoholic)
Like lots of other children of the 70’s, I used to leave Father Christmas a mince pie and a drink of Whiskey and lie awake listening out for those jingling bells that meant he was on his way.
I dont know how they did it, but mum and dad managed to make Christmas morning really special, we always got something off our list, out mince pie was always half eaten and the Whiskey all gone.
Christmas Day was always spent at home. We always started with our stockings, which were pillow cases really and would usually have chocolate coins and oranges in them, in addition to a new hair slide or bobble for me, then it was breakfast, before we moved on to the larger pile of presents.
And what of those memorable presents, well we have a Sindy House and Horse one year, (no Barbi for this girl, I was Sindy through and through) a Grifter bike in green, A petite typewriter, a Simon says, a Sorry game, a Bontempi organ and a Girls World. These were mostly pre-loved, but I didn’t care.
My Dad and Granddad would always pop down the pub for a swift one before Christmas Dinner was served and this was the one day of the year we were allowed chocolate before dinner!! We always watched top of the pops and always pulled their crackers in addition to our own and we always had new nightwear to go to bed in on Christmas Night,
Boxing Day was spent at my Aunty Christine’s, (my mum’s eldest sister), her brood and my maternal Granddad. We all went to the local working mens club and played dominos. I distinctly remembering drinking the dregs out of peoples glasses off all the tables one year!!
We would then all pile back for the most wonderful meal of cornbeef and potato pie and propper chips. The children all ate in the sitting room, whilst the adults all ate in the dinning room. We would then all retire round the coal fire (which would be stacked with sea coal cones) and eat the best ever ginger parkin in the world and play parlour games. It was always my favorite time.
I loved my Aunty, granddads and cousins more than anything in the world. My Mum and Dad would always get my Maternal Granddad a boy of chocolate cigarettes and cigars and pipes and my mum would open them and pop in £20 notes. This was how they got him to accept anything off the family. He always refused presents, so all his children clubbed together and this became his pin money over the year.
My Aunt was a super crocheter and we always ended up going home asleep in the car wrapped in one of her blankets, with my paternal granddad driving, as he will not have drink that day. She used to make those toilet dollys and soap swans for months for everyone for Christmas.
I am sat in tears as I write this as my Aunt died as I hit my teens for the dreaded curse of cancer which effects my maternal line so hard. With her died a part of my mother and all the family really. She was the eldest, the glue that held them all together. The one that refereed her siblings arguments and put everything in to perspective.
So for me my Christmas will always be stuck in the 1970’s and you know what it isnt a bad place for it to be and the more I thing about it, it is where I want my boys Christmas to be too.
This started out as a post about prompt 3 in Sleep is for the weak writing workshop “Have you ever had an epiphany, when you realized that something you’d long believed wasn’t really true?”, but transformed in to something else!!!