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Looking back with the ghost of Christmases Past

As the dust settles

Well, Christmas is well and truly over. I went to Sainburys this morning and I was not surprised to find it empty. The week before I nearly had to park on the road since the car park was so full and, if you read my Twitter, you will know that I came back bruised and grumpy. That was the last Saturday before Christmas. This morning, Sainsburys was empty apart from the usual crowd of people who I see every Saturday who do their shopping at an earthly hour of the morning.

Not only was it empty, but it appeared that Christmas was getting sold off cheaply! I was quite surprised how many items were slashed in price to almost one quarter of the price they were the week before. Everything from cards to tags. Of course there was several items available for seeing the new year in – I was surprised how many deals you could get on wine and champagne. Me, I just bought a pack of 6 Pepsi Max

It was while I was walking around the store that I started to think about the Christmases of the past – although I wasn’t visited by any ghosts! Then I thought, I would record what I remember rather than keeping it all to myself – so enjoy – with a good mince pie covered with soya cream!

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Christmas Presents

It is now that I always like to look back over the Christmas which I have enjoyed before and consider the changes. As you are aware, I suffer majorly from anxiety, so buying presents at Christmas, even for my family, can be ‘stressful’. However this year, despite the message going round that we were not buying presents for members of the adult family, I bit the proverbial bullet and went shopping – online! When I was growing up we were not the richest family in the world. Even to this day I do wonder, now that I am aware of the situation, how my mum even managed to make ends meet. Christmas was a huge deal for me when I was little. This was the time when we got presents and I always remember waking up very early to charge now the stairs to open the presents. We all had places to sit and unwrap and we were allowed to keep our pile of presents out until I think the new year, before they all had to be carried up to our rooms.

I used to make a list what I was going to buy everyone and, one of my favourite traditions was to head into town on Christmas Eve and buy all the presents. This could often be very stressful, especially when they had sold out of certain gifts! I did used to love saying ‘Happy Christmas’ to all the cashiers though – it seemed to be so appropriate. Then it would be home, put the decorations up and watch a recording of the Christmas Carol as I wrapped the presents and remembered the true meaning of Christmas.

Christmas Food

Food was always fantastic, ranging from croissants for breakfast with ‘fresh orange juice’ through an actual starter, which I do remember removing the ‘pith’ off orange segments, to the fabled Christmas Cake soaked in brandy and covered with marzipan and deep royal icing. Yes, food has always played a great part of Christmas! There was always homemade mince pies in cake tins and plenty of selection books to meet our sugar needs throughout the day and week! There was even chocolate hanging on the Christmas Tree!

Getting presents on my birthday

Christmas Television

Other highlights would be the Queen’s Speech, Top of the Pops Christmas edition and of course, the afternoon film which we all would sit down to watch and any elderly relative we had invited round would fall to sleep during. I am remembering the time when there was no Sky or FreeView on the television. We always used to buy the Christmas Edition of the Radio Times and circle everything which we would like to record on VHS tapes. The was a major expenditure over Christmas for me – buying the right number of tapes needed to record everything which I would like to watch again

After Christmas

Time always seems to go slower when you are younger. I remember the lead up to Christmas to seem to take a life time! I still got excited about Christmas well into my teens. But one thing I have always remembered doing is going up stairs at one point or when I was lying in bed on Christmas Day night and thinking – ‘Well that’s Christmas over for another year’ and feeling a bit sad about that. Of course I have my birthday on the 28th and then its new year, but it doesn’t seem the same as Christmas

Now and then

I think that the magic actually goes from Christmas the older you get. Having younger children around always maintains the magic of the day, but the whole lead up seems to become more of a chore rather than a build up of excitement. Is it that we don’t believe in Christmas any more, or is it that we now realise that magic doesn’t exist. For me, its a time of the year when I have very fond memories of Christmases past. I enjoy spending time with the family during the day and I still enjoy buying presents for people although I still find it just as stressful.

As I am sat writing this, I think that the Christmas decorations in the coffee shop seem strangely out of place. Facebook posts have already started to mention the countdown to next Christmas and I’m sure when I get back to work there will be numerous new items around which people given for Christmas. I really like December, all in all it’s a great month and although Christmas has changed a lot from when I was younger, I feel that I am going to start up some Christmas traditions which I am going to enjoy. I might have changed, but Christmas hasn’t and next year I am determined to be writing this saying how well my new traditions have gone.

And what could be a better way to finish this post but to finish on a quote from the Christmas Carol. No, not the one which Tiny Tim says, but this one – why because I hope that it refers to me…

“I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.”

“And it was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge. May that be truly said of us, and all of us!’’

The Christmas Carol

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