With Christmas 2020 not quite being the same as any other year, with loved ones gone and restrictions imposed, I thought I’d look back through some memories of Christmas gone by.
Every year, a month or so before Christmas (or whenever I started talking about it), Mum would say “Christmas is cancelled this year!”. Every year!
Going to see Father Christmas at our local department store was always an exciting trip. Downstairs in the basement, us kids would queue up to see Father Christmas. You didn’t just get to see Father Christmas, you went on a journey too! We would all file into a room with benches. It was like a big sleigh. I think some music would play and the sides would move with snowy scenery going by. After a few minutes, it would all come to a stop and we’d queue to see Father Christmas and get a present. I used to think it was amazing. I totally expected to walk out of Father Christmas’s grotto and be somewhere else. No other Father Christmas experience ever matched it!
When I was around 9 years old or so, a school friend told me she’d seen Father Christmas in the sky the previous year. I was at that age where I was questioning his existence, but if a friend had seen him flying through the sky with his reindeer and sleigh then surely he must exist! Late that Christmas Eve, I crept out of my bedroom and spent a good while looking out of the landing window (I have no idea why I didn’t look out through my bedroom window!). I didn’t see him, but then I shouldn’t have expected to… My Christmas stocking (a.k.a. One of Dad’s welly socks) was never filled until gone 5am on Christmas morning. It’s almost as if he delivered everyone else’s presents and then came back to ours!
Sitting on the floor in the school hall, eagerly awaiting a visit from Father Christmas and everyone debating which village stalwart would be pretending to be him that year. Would it be Mr Kendrick or maybe Mr Haynes? Hushed whispers as Father Christmas walked in. Class by class we would be called up to see Father Christmas and be given a small, token Christmas present.
Singing carols in the school choir… One year I recall us singing at the church and then at the pub opposite the school. Someone offered us a mince pie each. I politely declined, but they were most insistent and put one in my hand anyway. I couldn’t eat it, so I carried that bloody, sticky mince pie until we got back to the school and I could put it in the bin!
One Christmas Day, someone had the idea of driving to the seaside (about an hour’s drive away). So after lunch, off we all went (my parents, Nan & Grandad, my brother and I) to a cold and windy Borth! My overriding memory of that day? We saw Father Christmas get out of a car, wave at us and go and visit some old folks. It turns out that Father Christmas retires to Borth after a long night of delivering presents!
Christmas evenings would be spent in front of the TV and we’d often play draughts. Well, that was until the year I beat Dad 8-1 and I don’t think we’ve played it since! These days, Mum and I will play Scrabble (which can be interesting after a few glasses of wine!).
What are your memories of Christmas Past?