As we prepare for the festive months and we get caught up in the hub bub of all things commercial, lets think back to our childhood Christmas days and the memories we hold on the build up to the festivities in the 70’s and 80’s ….
For some I fully understand that it may have been a time of sadness for personal reasons that sadly left scars on your hearts …perhaps you felt unloved or were uncared for…
Perhaps you were desperately lonely or afraid and the special day came and went without a sense of love, unity or joy ….
Looking at christmas over many centuries it has changed considerably …Can you picture your mother or father as a kid at Christmas ??
They would have looked so happy,their excitement as genuine and as magical as I remember me being at the time of the year where we revel in happiness and abundant love ….
My buils up at school was magical …I remember our classroom filled with amazing homemade christmas cards, latterns covered in glitter crepe paper chrisms crackers and an abundance of snowflakes all shapes and sizes stuck to the single glazed windows, teasing us as we waited in anticipation for the snow to start falling ….
I remember our welly boots sat in a puddle of water when the snow had stuck to them on a fun snowy walk in …..sometimes pulled on a sledge which was super fun ….my wellies sat pegged together with a wooden clothes peg with my nam etched onto it and they sat below my full length navy marks and sparks school coat, our free be safe be seen reflector attached to the top button hole and my mittens bouncing on elastic because they were attached through the arms. They were attached this way so we didn’t lose them on our way home from school….
You see money was tight in the early 80’s and I had one hat gloves and scarf set a year not like today where I have a drawer full of different colours depending on what I am wearing ….
My childhood evenings running up to Christmas involved a team effort with my mum mixing paper mache and clearing space at the table for dinner in time for Dad to come home. I remember spending the time before supper crafting my christmas hat ready for the annual hat parade ….i will add whilst driving my dear mum nuts as i practised all the christmas songs for the christmas concert ….
proudly one year I won ….
It was a paper mache red bricked chimney with Santa’s black boots sticking out of the top ….It was lavishly laced with cottonwool and I remember having to walk so slowly around the school hall so it didn’t topple off ….
A lot of kids hared round the floor one hand on their head balancing copious amounts of all things xmas on their heads …some hats were incredible that surely it was obvious they had been crafted completely by mummy and daddy ….
There were nativity scenes (and I will add )they had a full house including suspended angels … there were babbles by the bucket load stitched onto green tights piles high on top of old knitted hats to look like christmas trees and they were covered in fake snow …
Do you remember the 80’s fad of stencilled snow images in your windows ….lanterns and snowmen or holly leaves and angels .They were in nearly every window….people also got creative spraying onto the corners of the windows to look like we were in the middle a snow blizzard …
My mum spent most of The new year cleaning the windows up POOR WOMAN !!!
Back to the hats …there were sleighs with bells on them …sacks made of black bin liners spilling out with gifts ….white snowmen with wonky heads and missing noses as they dropped off on route to school ….
It was as I remember so super splendidly festive and great fun on our last week at school ….so much effort went into making Christmas special for kids and staff alike …..
I remember the Chrismas party and tables full of pink wafers party rings and smelly egg sandwiches and I remember being allowed to take a game in on the last day…battle ships, kurplunk ,operation and buckaroo were dead set favourites …..
I also remember having to take a plastic bag in with your name on it so that all your homemade goodies came home safe and sound protected from the wind and rain or the snow of those dark December months …..The bag was full of decorations…. painted pasta garlands ,paper chains …paper plates covered in frilly paper dollies, cut and glued into amazing 3d angels that would sit wonky on the top of the chrisms tree and reappear twisted bent and torn the following year ….and the best present ever presented to mummy …..a calendar that I had cross stitched with a monthly tear off calendar hanging from it’s bottom ……
I loved the school carol concert at the Winter gardens … We sang so many wonderful songs ,songs that I can still remember today like Mary had a baby boy and the little drummer boy
oh and my favourite ….
Little donkey ….
I sang a solo in front of hundreds of people and the mayor in 1984 ….I sadly won the opportunity to this solo because I had lost my mum to cancer that year ….It was a bitter sweet moment and one that still if I here the song reduces me to tears …..
So christmas at present ….
well its super special to have my own family around me now and in my kiddies younger years we endeavoured to never have them return to school without the latest want but then life started to shift …
Commercial christmas was creeping in .my kids demanded the latest whatever was trending …shops sold out of toys that had been “bigged up ”
Our tree slowly lost the hand made trinkets as the trees became designer and colour coordinated …The plastic table clothes of days gone by covered in poinsettias or holly print were replaced with pressed cotton table sets trimmed with all things matching to include runners, candles ,napkins…. god you name it , you could get it ….
The 3 for 2’s became the norm in the shops …The same old junk year after year ..The packaging taking up most of the floorspace and the wheelie bins brimming with waste… …OMG how many times did i jump in the bin trying to fit it all in year after year ….everything took batteries which was an expense we could have done without and most toys broke within the day …..
Now its designer crackers to make the Christmas dinner more entertaining with a price ticket of well over the £10 mark and gift vouchers for anybody you find difficult to buy for or lets be honest don’t know their interests anymore ….
For the young adults that you buy for, but cant afford what they buy themselves, its a date night that seems to get a thank you nowadays …The cinema or Frankie and Bennys (well at least that useful is my thoughts )
So now onto parents…
who’s parents have all that they want ?? …..In this modern day most adult adults want for nothing …They buy stuff if they want it and have no sentiment in smelly candles or boxed bath sets ….
So i tried sentement 2years in a row ….Last year I made home made plum Jam and plum chutney and the year before fudge and truffles …
I spent hours following a recipe for the plum jam and learning to peel and prep fruit again was tiff for me …. my MS relapse had left me battered and unable to coordinate properly ….so it was a huge heartfelt effort to produce these gifts ….
Did anyone thank me ??
what do you think ?? …..
The jars I had trimmed with Christmas ribbon and festive buttons I had made and gifted the jars with love ….
I had one thank you back from a friend ….
so guess what ….
I wont be doing it again ….
So the future Christmas….
It’s back to basics for me ….
I want to fill my tree with loving memories …
Take part in simple, meaningful festivities that we have built our Christmas around with loved ones by my side ….
Spend time with people who have no expectations other than appreciating the time we have together ….
and the best present of all ….
is feeling loved …..
We had over the years been dragged into all things commercial or obligatory with the modern day Christmas ,well that came to a grinding holt when our family came across a few hard years and we began to change it up a bit gradually over 5 years …..its not been easy but its been important for me and my family ….
We eat on Christmas eve to alleviate the pressure of it all cramped into one day ….
We swim in the sea for cancer on Christmas morning to raise money for our local hospice and to take time to think of our loved ones lost to such a devastating illness ….
and we spend the precious time we have off with people who we love and love us in return …..
no expectations …
well just one actually ….
To love unconditionally …..
what do you expect at Christmas ???
love and light kirsten xxx