When you think of Christmasses gone by, what memories spring to mind? Do you reminisce over time spent with family and loved ones, do you smile at the thought of gifts received or special celebrations?
For me Christmas has always been about family. Up until the age of 11 my Mum and I lived with my Nanna and Grandad. Every Christmas my aunts, uncles and cousins would return home for a big family Christmas. Evenings would be spent snuggled in front of the coal fire before going up to bed where it was FREEZING (but our Mums had put hot water bottles in our beds!) On Christmas Eve my cousins and I would talk and play in our bedroom until late, vying to stay awake long enough to hear Santa and his reindeer. Of course we never did, we always fell asleep one by one but excitedly woke up early and squealed in delight when we saw our pillow cases spilling over with presents at the end of our beds. We would wake our parents and Grandparents and plead with them to get up early and come downstairs then wait with a little bit of patience for everyone to settle so that we could start opening our presents.
In the afternoon after lunch invariably Grandad would fall asleep and my cousins and I would tickle his nose or pull at his lips to make him have a funny face whilst sleeping. Grandad was a bit of a wind-up merchant himself so it was his own fault we would do the same to him.
I remember one year my cousins and I all received a Cabbage Patch Kid, we were soooo excited because these dolls had their own birth certificate. We each received a different one and I still have mine to this day, well Little Bean does now. I also remember the year that we were given beautiful Austrian Crystal rings and our first make-up sets. Large black No. 17 cases with eyeshadows and lip gloss. I remember them well because mine were browns and natural colours whereas my cousin had pinks and blues. At the time I was so jealous but of course ‘Santa’ knew me well and pinks and blues really weren’t my colour. It’s having memories like these that make me carefully consider what we buy for our Beans at Christmas because I want them to have happy memories of Christmas past, to remember the special times we shared as a family and recall their favourite toys as I do.
Years later my Nanna passed away and my Grandad moved to Northampton across the road from one of my Aunts. At Christmas Mum and I would go to stay at my Aunties and our Christmasses continued as large family celebrations. Still trying to stay awake until late into the night trying to catch a sneak peak of Santa (and later of our parents putting out our presents). We would enjoy a large family Christmas dinner and spend the afternoon playing with our new toys whilst our parents all fell asleep on the sofa.
Things don’t change much really, now we are the parents who fall asleep on the sofa on Christmas afternoon and our children are the ones who try their hardest to stay awake. They tell each other they can hear the jingle bells of Santa’s sleigh or the Reindeer hooves clip-clopping on the rooftop. Each year as the Beans grow makes Christmas more and more special as they each grasp the excitement of Christmas coming, Jelly Bean is still slightly too young to ‘get it’ but he will feed off his siblings’ excitement this year.
DISCLAIMER: I received a selection of toys from House of Fraser in return for this post. All words, images and opinions are my own and may not be copied without my permission.