The Christmas Memories.
When I was a child, my mum used to create a wonderland of festive cheers. It always started with the growing excitement about how the tree fairies would come one night and put up our tree, complete with a fairy on the top and treats wrapped and placed in all different directions. And indeed, for many, many years the little tree fairies put up the tree and we always had so much fun in the morning looking through the branches to find the chocolate or candy canes. I’d normally have Fluffy, my cat, in my arms and be showing him each shiny bauble, treat or tinsel covered branches.
Then mum, my sisters and I hang our stockings and our Nan and Grandad would visit and say what a wonderful pretty tree it was. Mum would get us all advent calendars, so we could all count up to the big day when Santa would fly through our house and leave gifts for us and our pets.
As Christmas got closer dad would take us to pick mum a gift for Christmas and our pets something too, then we’d spend weeks trying hard, very hard not to tell her, her surprise, it was never easy but most of the time we made it to Christmas. In the week leading up to Christmas day mum would take me and my two sisters to see Santa Claus— I was never keen on him and to my mum’s horror refused to sit on his knee for a photo, so I’d stand beside him looking a little sulky or scared so she at least got a photo.
On Christmas Eve, mum and my stepdad would pack us in the car and deliver presents to our relatives who could not come for Christmas day, we’d pop in and say hi to Nan and Grandad and then race home to make mince pies, jam tarts, Christmas cake, and all kinds of baked things. Everywhere would smell so yummy before we left milk and a mince pie out for Santa and of course a few carrots for his reindeers—they had a long journey too.
I could never sleep at Christmas so would lay in bed with my small special Peter Rabbit book under my covers reading or making up my own stories from the photos of the bunnies until the light started filtering through the windows. I’d then sneak into my sisters’ rooms and wake them quietly and guide them on our hands and knees like three little puppies down the stairs as not to wake mum, then we crawl behind the sofa and look at all the beautifully wrapped presents left from Santa.
A little while later by 6 am we wake mum and make her get dressed because Santa has come and none of us wants to waste a single second, my sister and I also get dressed. I grab Fluffy, who still sleeping from my bed so he can sit on my lap as mum takes photos and if I’m honest I’ve never liked being singled out for photos, but it makes mum happy.
Mum is the last to get downstairs and makes her morning coffee, then get her camera and we all sit around the tree and pass around presents excited to see what’s inside. Mum used to smile proudly because in truth she really put the effort in and we love her for that… I feel the joy when she liked her cherished teddy, I got her because making others smile is the greatest joy of all.
A few hours later and toys and paper everywhere, mum goes to start Christmas dinner and my Nan and Grandad turn up, they too give us gifts and stay for dinner. Nan used to love baileys and let me sneak a sip or dip my finger in it. She loved the festive season too.
I never wanted the day to end because everyone was together and shared the love on Christmas
Boxing day my Nan used to host a huge party with cake, biscuit and lots of yummy things on her table in the spare living room for us to choose from, we used to also find a little dolly gift on her tree for us to have. She was the life and soul of the party and loved Christmas.
These were the Christmases that really felt like Christmas, everyone was here, having fun and it was true magic. Since then I’ve grown up and sometimes Christmas doesn’t feel the same. But I still feel the magic and blessing because I have my mum to share presents and smiles with. My boyfriend who asked me out around this time of year and who celebrates with me and my nieces on boxing day who love this time a year…
Even friends that help me with my Christmas cheer and for all of that, I feel like Christmas still has its magic in my heart, not always as easy but still there. I guess I also see how much I am like my mum, now the fairies have moved on to new trees and I put my own in my room up. I have special decorations that come out every year mum gave me just like mum always does and add a few new ones to pretty it up.
However, Christmas to me is about those I love and care about and spreading the smiles and joy to carry all year round because Christmas come and go, presents you can grow out of but memories you never do.
Happy Festive season