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Preamble

I love traditions at Christmas. I think it is because I like my routines. But this year, things have changed so I thought I would do one of my favourite activities at Christmas. Look back at Christmas gone and reminisce.

Growing up

I’ve always loved Christmas. As a child, I grew up getting so excited about the big day. I know we were not the richest familiar around and how mum continuously made Christmas such a great day for us I have no idea. I would count down the days, one after one, until I got to Christmas Eve and then wake up thinking – that’s it – I’ve made it to Christmas! I remember going along the hallway to Mum’s room and asking if we could go downstairs yet only to be told not yet. Well, I’m not sure I ever went to ask, I always sent my brother – thanks bro!

When we got downstairs, letters to Santa had been answered and the presents piled up at various locations around the living room. Wrapped up in our dressing gowns we would frantically open of gifts from Santa, exclaiming with excitement! The sweetest thing was that no matter what we got mum, from the tacky gift we made at school, through to just a cheap box of chocolates, she would smile and hug us and be so excited as well. Christmas morning was always such a special time.

Carol services and church

When I was at grammar school, we always had a carol service at the local church where I would sing in the choir. When I first started I was a boy soprano and learnt all the descants to all the carols. I still remember belting out ‘Sing choirs of Angels’ in my high pitch voice. I soon got reduced to an alto and then I stopped. But I remember walking home with mum from the service getting that feeling that Christmas was definitely coming.

I still like going to carol services, but people appear to sing different tunes and descants now. ‘Hark the Herald Angels Sing‘ is my favourite carol – although I need to do a quick octave change halfway through. We did used to go to church on Christmas day, although its been a long time since this has happened. I remember taking a present to show at the front fo the church to everyone. And, this was the best part, singing that final verse of O Come all ye faithful, which could only be sung on Christmas day!

Christmas Eve

As I grew up, I always tried to go to bed as soon as possible on Christmas Eve. ‘The sooner you go to bed the faster morning will come!’. I wonder if that was just mum trying to get us all to bed so she could wrap all the presents – there was five of us!

In my teenage years, the captain of the Boys’ Brigade invited everyone round to his house and we enjoyed an evening chatting, listening to music and eating the most remarkable food. It meant that we were always late home and sometimes it was already after midnight when I slipped into bed. I remember smiling and saying ‘Merry Christmas’ to myself.

You might be aware that I have attended signing classes in my past and now consider that I can use British Sign Language enough to get by. My tutor would invite me to the pantomime on Christmas Eve as a signer but more importantly as a friend. I really enjoyed signing ‘I’m dreaming of a white Christmas’ to her as we all sang it at the end. Sadly we are not going this year. I did think about going on my own, but I don’t think it would be the same.

Christmas Food

Oh my! I must put on so much weight at Christmas. Christmas day food has always been fantastic. One year, I remember starting off with different croissants (I still do this to this day) and then having a three course Christmas dinner! Mum is a great cook and I would always marvel at how she got everything ready at the same time. We never walked away from the table, it was more of a case of rolling!

My sister took up the mantle of cooking Christmas dinner and what a fantastic job she does of it! I love being around children and family at Christmas and we would all make our way to her house and enjoy playing games, laughing and eating. I’m a vegan/vegetarian, so I am probably the worst to invite around for a Christmas dinner, but everyone has always done their best and the results have been fantastic! Tomorrow, it is my brother who is cooking!

End of the day

There are a few things I always try and do over Christmas. As well as smiling and being happy, I enjoy the day and try and take lots of images and make lots of memories. Sometime during the day, I will find a quiet moment and just think – ‘That’s it, all over or another year’. But then I realise that I am back into the time of Christmas I enjoy the most – the journey to the special day. Although some people might encourage us to think forward rather than backward, I think it is important to look both ways. Then we can acknowledge what we have enjoyed and achieved which will influence the future.

And finally, can I take this opportunity to wish you all a very happy and joyful Christmas. Laugh and have a great time with family and friends. Eat lots and hug lots of people. And, most importantly, smile.

Merry Christmas!


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