Christmas Past & Present
This time of year always make me think about my family, also family that are no longer with us, so I often feel filled with happiness and sadness. I believe this is true for so many people, I also find myself comparing how time has changed the Christmas experience, so I thought I would share some of those times and for many it will bring back there own memories.
My first memories of Christmas are from the time when I was about 6 years old which would make it 1960, I was growing up in a village in County Durham, we did not have central heating in fact I do not think anyone in the small village had it, but we always had huge log fires in each room, only over Christmas were both fires lit. Winter always seemed long and cold, often with ice on our bedroom windows on the inside! Winter was also a time of homemade soups, stews and lots of comfort foods, the most wonderful smells always lingered in the kitchen. Christmas week was a hive of activity, the tree arrived, we all dressed it as a family, no decorations ever went up till the week before Christmas we made paper chains we did not buy them, then the baking began, mince pies, sausage rolls, maids of honor, icing the cake which had been made in the summer again we were all involoved.Then on the 23rd, Dad would walk in carrying a huge Turkey, we then knew Christmas was nearly here. The 23 rd also was the night we wrote our letters to santa, saying how good we had been and please visit us, 24th Christmas eve was open house, the front room fire was lit, nuts and fruit put out a tray with sherry and whisky along side, we had our best clothes on, then people would start popping in, some with gifts that went under the tree, others with no gifts but wishing us well, all were welcome, then it was early to bed, otherwise Santa would not come.
Christmas day arrived we woke to find our best long sock which we had hung up the night before had been stuffed full of goodies, crayons, sweets, a cracker, a ball, an orange and an apple and always a sugar mouse. Dad had the carols playing on the record player and the fires burning beautifully, we could smell the turkey as we got up, we all sat around the tree and opened our presents, we did not have a lot of presents but everyone was so special, the year I got a Cindy doll I thought I was the luckiest girl in the world. The whole day was magical, Christmas lunch was so special to us, seeing Dad carve a huge bird and we knew would be having loads of sandwiches for tea and we would be allowed to have them in front of the fire that day.
As I reflect, it all seems so simple them, but just as now, I imagine it was just as stressful for my parents as it is for parents today, but our expectations are now so different to those days. Children today send lists to Santa of things they want, not just a visit from him, the pressure on today’s parents to provide their children with today’s latest toys and gadgets is alarming. I am not sure that some children even enjoy having a Christmas family lunch but I like to believe that most do, we do have to move forward but I am a big believer that we retain values and try to pass them to our children. My own daughter is making Christmas eve very special for her 6 children, with Christmas films and family hamper filled with new pyjama’s and goodies for the evening. Christmas day they come to me and I try and give them the magic I had as a child, a cottage filled with wonderful, smells, music and laughter along with a red sack filled with special presents and a very special Christmas table that we all sit around for a wonderful lunch. Both households have a nativity scene set up, so we always remeber we are celebrating baby jeasus being born, I wish you all a wonderful Christmas filled with magic.