Every year we would be the last to stick up our tree. It was always a rushed sort of event, with my dad racing out to try and find the last straggly tree. I don’t know why but our ornaments seemed to get less and less each year.. The only ornaments that seemed to survive were the handmade ones we made at school.
Then just as our tree would be put up in a hurry every year it seemed to sit there long after Christmas with its pine needles falling off until it was a very sorry state of affairs!
In stark contrast to this we had a tradition of going to my grandparents house every year to decorate the tree with our cousins. My granny’s tree always seemed so majestic and beautiful. There were loads of decorations, tinsel galore and without fail Christmas lights that always worked.
Christmas eve I would always fall asleep with butterflies in my stomach knowing that as soon as I close my eyes Father Christmas would be wiggling down our fire chimney laden with gifts.
For me growing up Christmas always had such a magical feel to it. My sisters and I would wake up crack of sparrows and empty our Christmas stockings, since this was the only thing we were allowed to touch before my mother got up and gave the go ahead to open presents.
We would be all over my mom and my dad in the morning begging to open presents. You see we weren’t allowed to just charge in and rip wrapping paper off willy nilly. We had to wait for my mom to get up and we all had to have a bite to eat first.
It was excruciatingly painful and felt like forever until my parents made it over with their morning tea. In reality it was probably only 10 minutes or so.
We would open the presents from our family unit with my dad handing out the presents. We would sit in our pajamas opening our presents.
It would then take us all a while to scrub up and get dressed and pack the presents into the car for our extended family. We would pile into the car and head on over to my grandparent’s house.
My aunt, uncle and two cousins were always there. Some years my other uncle would come much to my happiness.
My mom would add the gifts we brought under the Christmas tree before we sat down to lunch. There were so many happy memories and traditions that I loved.
My granny always made a Christmas pudding and put coins in it. She would then light a spoon of brandy and pour it over the pudding before cutting it up. She always made sure that each grandchild got a coin in his or her pudding.
After traditional Christmas lunch my grandpa would choose a little helper (usually the youngest grandchild) to help him hand out the gifts. I
It is not the presents really that stand out for me, although I must admit I did love the presents. I have these memories of being in my granny’s lounge, with the beautiful tree and my grandpa kidding around saying all the gifts were from him, surrounded by family.
I remember the love and the magic around this day.
My granny died when I was 21 and with her died a lot of the traditions that were carried out at Christmas.
I remember one year my grandpa trying to light the pudding like my granny used to but he licked the spoon afterwards burning his tongue badly. There were no coins in the pudding.
Then everyone seemed to be in a different place at Christmas every year. My older sister moved to the UK.
Life had happened, I had grown up. You know like you do right?
And suddenly the magic of Christmas was just gone. I can’t say exactly when it disappeared but it had slowly leaked away over time. From the time my granny died the magic of Christmas started disappearing.
Merry Christmas 2016
The magic is back in full force and my two kids are glowing with it. I can literally see it flying out of their ears.
Leading up to Christmas we open the doors on our advent calendars every day. If I forget I have two children shrieking in a panic that they need to open their Christmas chocolates.
Our Christmas tree is up 3 weeks before the day and putting it up and decorating it is a huge event. We always have less decorations than the year before because if you have a Christmas tree up for a few weeks with a three year old and a five year old you will find them ripping the decorations off the tree.
Only the decorations you buy mind you, not the ones that we make ourselves or that they make in school. Those are all still there in full force.
On Christmas eve we leave a plate of cookies and some milk for Father Christmas.
In the morning the kids scream in excitement and inspect the crumbs and the last drop of milk that Santa left.
The Christmas stockings are packed full and once the kids have pulled everything out and examined their loot they will be on me like a shot wanting to open their presents from me and their father.
They roll their eyes and complain bitterly when I say breakfast and some coffee first. Hang on that sounds familiar!
Later on in the day my parents and my parents in law will be over for a traditional lunch. Afterwards my sister will arrive and we will open up more presents. With grandpa choosing a little elf (probably my youngest) to help him hand out the presents.
I’ve realized now that the magic of Christmas is not just about family, it is about children. They are the vital missing ingredient for a magical Christmas.
I wish you all a very Merry Christmas 2016, filled with love and magic!
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