As I make final preparations for the big day, my thoughts turn to the Christmases of my childhood and how some things have changed and some things will never change.
1. The decorations. This is a big change - you used to put up your tree one week before, now the middle of November is quite acceptable (not for me mind!). Nowadays, lights adorn every house in the street, my tree matches my living room, no fairies made from the inside of a toilet roll and cotton wool resides on the top of my Nordman fir.
My childhood tree was artificial, had baubles in every hue, no lights (too posh and expensive for us), and a ton of tinsel. We decorated the room corner to corner with paper decorations, one I remember resembled an ice cream wafer when taken out of the dusty old cardboard box. You pulled it apart and ....voila! Concertina decorations. Or you could make your own paper chains with strips of coloured paper and plenty of spit!
2. Christmas Eve. This for me still evokes very happy memories. The excitement was unbearable, I can still smell the turkey cooking as my mum used to "half" cook it and finish it off Christmas morning. Salmonella wasn't invented then! Val Doonican was ALWAYS on the telly on Christmas Eve in his Christmas jumper (although they weren't called that in those days, it was just a very jazzy patterned jumper) and his rocking chair.
Val Doonican was ALWAYS on the telly on Christmas Eve in his Christmas jumper - although they weren't called that in those days, it was just a very jazzy patterned jumper - and his rocking chair.
These days, Christmas Eve is almost as big a deal as Christmas Day with friends calling round for drinks and specially planned meals. The excitement is still unbearable though.
3. Christmas morning. Up at the crack of dawn, bouncing on my parents' bed, urging them to get up because we weren't allowed to go downstairs to see if Santa had been without them. This is something I still do now and my youngest is 23!
We didn't have a stocking then, we had a pillow case full to the brim! I can't ever remember getting boring old clothes, it was toys all the way - and books of course. I was, and still am, a real book worm. I looked forward to The Guinness Book of World Records every year, everything and everybody was forgotten when I got my nose in that book. So if anyone wants to know how long the longest nails were, or how big the tallest man was, I'm your woman. I still have some of them to this day.
4. Christmas dinner. This had to be turkey and all the trimmings, no other choice. I can't remember having a starter. If we did, it would have been Knorr soup out of a small square box, the precursor to Cup-a Soup. This year we have a choice, Equadorian prawns and scallops for the adults and Brussels pate for the kids. The nearest I got to pate when I was young was Shippam's salmon paste in my sarnies!
Although my dad was known to like a drink or two, we never had wine with our Christmas dinner. I would imagine my mum would have had a cup of tea and us kids would have Underwood's fizzy, glow in the dark, orange which we got off the pop man on a Saturday. We would have it in a mug. I can't remember drinking anything out of a glass. This year, I already have the champers chilling, the reds warming up and the organic orange juice in the fridge for the grandchildren.
So that's it! My memories of Christmases past, very different from today, but just as exciting. Well, I must go and finish co-ordinating my dining room to my napkins, my wrapping paper to my living room and put the sprouts on. Some traditions NEVER change. Merry Christmas everyone!!
We always laid our stockings on the foot of the bed. I still remember stretching out my feet in the very early morning to see if Santa had been yet. Oh the excitement if the stocking was full. We tried to contain ourselves until a reasonable hour, but could never manage more than about six o'clock.
Well this GNer is rather younger than me. I remember my granny having a tiny artificial tree about 2ft with a few ancient baubles on. They probably had that when my mother was young. My current tree is artificial at least while the DGs' are small. I have no bows they are bannedand most of the ornaments are ones I have had for years. Three plastic teddies from 1978 spotted by my then 1 yr old son. Some little wooden toys from Woolworths and some painted baubles and a lovely fabric podgy angel and a father christmas bought by my daughter in recent years.
I am a traditionalist. No black trees in my house.