Christmas

I used to love Christmas. Who didn’t? Well people who got very little I suppose.

But I got loads. Loads and loads. There was no big family Christmas get together or meal or anything like that, sometimes just the two grandmothers were there, with my father drinking, in the hopes that eventually they would disappear in front of his eyes.

I loved waking up to my stocking so early in the morning. It was a large stocking and had lots and lots of goodies in it. It always had clementines and some new coins in the bottom. My godmother, an older cousin, had got some made for us all and it had my name on it. In glitter.

One year, I sprung my mother bringing it in, to place it on the end of my bed. I then realised Santa didn’t bring my stocking but I knew he still came down the chimney to bring me all my presents.

He lined them down the staircase, all around the sitting room, in the hall, and – when I forgot to look in the dining room – my parents pointed out that he had put presents against all the walls in there.

Kind Santa. But when my parents knew that I had tumbled to the stocking wheeze they inadvertently let out that he didn’t come down the chimney either.

That moment of disillusionment is pretty sad. There are others in life too, but no Santa ranks pretty highly.

We never got our tree early. We didn’t do the tree up on Christmas Eve thing like my mother’s family did, but it was always after their birthdays in mid December and usually bought on the last Saturday before Christmas.

We had an old (well, 1930s) house, so it was high enough for a big tree. The Saturday when the tree was bought, my mum and I would decorate the tree in the evening, with the record player playing our favourite Christmas carols.

All the precious and some very old and treasured ornaments were carefully hung. Most – rare – breakages were caused by wagging dogs’ tails but not when we were decorating. Then the lights, the tinsel (which my mother loathed), and finally the lovely fairy at the top of the tree.

How I loved that night. Even taking it down by Epiphany wasn’t sad because I could always look forward to next year. Next Christmas. There would always be one.

On Boxing Day, my mother would always give me an extra present. Christmas didn’t end for me on Christmas Day – she made sure that the holiday and the giving extended. There was no let-down after Chrismas Day, there was something else to look forward to.

Many years later, Partner and I visited them in their new old bungalow (which all old people buy) at Christmas. No tree. No decorations. No interest in it. Christmas was always about giving their little girl what they had never had.

And me? Well I’m the same now with my minimalist non-existent Christmas. I have no kids, no parents, no family. What does that lovely Christmas of my childhood mean now? It went a long time ago. Not only that, but December brings back so many memories of my parents, their birthdays on consecutive days (just like mine and Partner’s), the last time I saw my mum in December the year before she died, and my father, who was rushed into hospital on Christmas Eve just before he died shortly afterwards. I remember, too, that Boxing Day when I started my trek back to the UK to see my dying father for the last time. link to earlier blog post here

I would put up a tree if I had the space. I do like the trees. Even small ones can look so pretty. But otherwise? Christmas is a bit of an inconvenience because the shops are shut for too long.

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8 comments on “Christmas

  1. If I didn't have kids, or grandkids, I might be right there with you. After reading this post, I can certainly see why Christmas isn't a cheerful time. You do, however, still have the memories of how much your parents loved making you happy on Christmas morning.

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  2. It sounds like you had some wonderful Christmas times as a child. I have memories of childhood Christmas times that are so special.I understand how you feel about Christmas now, I have mixed feelings really. We don't go in for lots of decorations here… but I do think there is something special about this time of year.

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  3. Love your post of your memories. I also understand your current thoughts. They mirror many of my sentiments. We do have kids and my mother is still around. For me Christmas is for them. We have a four foot tree this year. Only because the kids are coming. Christmas is overly commercial and has lost its true purpose. That said,we wish you, A and Pippa a wonderful holiday. Hope your spinach has begun growing..James, Suzy and family

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  4. Have the same sentiments to you towards Christmas! Some good but a lot of bad too! and don't get me going on the xmas music! ;0needless to say, I wish you and your partner, and sweet pippa a wonderful relaxing holiday! it's all about the food, and warm furry hugs, and catching up on sleep for me!

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  5. It is sad, but understandable that you feel that way…We didn't do a tree this year because we were gone…it is a pain to decorate sometimes, but I never regret when I do…I think the Christmas spirit is infectious and next year it might lift your spirits…Christmas is about hope and life and that's something we all can enjoy, regardless of religion…

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  6. You have a beautiful vignette of Christmas’ past here. I got emotional at the end though already having read about your parents dying. Damn, forgot what I wanted to say now. Nevermind. Touching post, Kate. :)

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    • When I re-read it after seeing your comment, it struck me that it was like some of Miedo with that reflective looking back approach from so many years later.

      We had a couple of weeks off last year for Christmas shut-down so I did put up a a tree at the finca. It was lovely. Maybe in 2010 I still hadn’t moved on enough from their deaths. It’s taken a long time.

      Thanks Kev.

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