I can remember when I was a child how the excitement of Christmas built up day by day. Just as the summers were always sunny so the winters were cold, frosty and snowy and sitting in front of glorious log fires and toasting chestnuts or curled up reading an exciting book was all part of the fun.
Several weeks before Christmas it all started with elder my sister Amanda and I being allowed to stir the Christmas pudding; I think I must have been very young as I remember it was quite an effort getting the large wooden spoon to move at all but I can still recall the lingering smell of delicious spices.
Next came the decorations; being allowed to help with the parents with Christmas tree; gold and silver stars, yards and yards of sparkling tinsel, fragile glittering glass baubles of all shapes and sizes which had to be handled with greatest of care in case they fell and broke, and then the crowning glory of the angel which had seen better days, right at the top of the tree.
Decorations seemed to be everywhere throughout the whole house or so it seemed to me and the excitement grew and grew.
We made presents for our parents and relations. When very small we just wrapped silver paper round chicken wishbones and tied them with blue or pink ribbons; as we grew a little older we made mats and purses from multicoloured raffia and later we made hand-embroidered handkerchiefs and little sachets. We also made calendars and of course we always hand-drew or painted our Christmas cards.
We always had a large jigsaw puzzle going throughout the Christmas period and we still love doing them to this day and can sit engrossed for ages carefully selecting that special piece that should go in just there but doesn’t always!
The house was always buzzing with our huge family, grandmother, Great Aunt, Aunts, Uncles and cousins who came to stay over Christmas, beds were made up, and rooms that we were normally used for other things became bedrooms, and suddenly it was all happening.
I remember groups of grownups and children coming to the house and singing carols and if it wasn’t too late we could stay up and listen to them. As we grew older, we also learnt the carols ourselves and the one called the Holly and the Ivy was one of our favourites.
I used to get so excited that sometimes I became ill, so when there were children’s parties I was never told about them until a few moments before putting on my party dress!
Christmas stockings were the magical start of Christmas day. There was always an apple and an orange at the toe of the stocking and then it was packed with exciting little gifts such as yoyos and coloured crayons, rubbers and little colouring books. Of course it was during the war, so there was not a lot from which to choose and certainly they were not filled with the huge expensive things that are now used to cram a stocking. (In later years this was also a moment of huge excitement and anticipation for my two sons.)
We joined everyone for Christmas lunch and Christmas tea and pulling the Christmas crackers was the best part of all. The Christmas pudding (which I didn’t like) was full of small pure silver treats such as silver sixpences, silver horse shoes, the silver Bachelor’s Button, the Old Maid’s silver Thimble and a silver Ring.
Christmas seemed to last at least a week as some family members had come a long way. As soon as we were able to write, we were made to write our Thank You letters within the first week after Christmas (the same for Birthdays) and this has remained a habit.
So now with Christmas approaching again within a few weeks, I have some wonderful Christmas presents suggestions for you from my web site. Special and unusual presents that can be enjoyed by everyone.
I still produce the ever popular and wonderful calendars, and you will also find special wooden jigsaw puzzles. There is only place in the UK that still makes wooden ones and they also make them for Prince Charles. Being wooden they will last from one generation to the next and they contain special little pieces relating to the subject such a small crop circles in the Crop Circle puzzles and riding gear in the White Horse puzzle.
I will try and write again before Christmas.
With love and great happiness.