Huge thanks to Sue for asking me on here!
My Christmas Stocking: full of memories and traditions and even things to do!
Not surprisingly, given the time of year, I’ve been thinking about Christmas. So this blog post is a sort of Christmas stocking: full of all sorts of different things.
I always think Christmas makes special memories. I know it’s over-hyped and seems to last longer every year but it still works its magic if you let it. I love this time of year, maybe because I’m a late November baby. Some of my most treasured moments have happened during this season.
My father adored Christmas, perhaps because, as a boy, he had a fairly Spartan upbringing; a tangerine and a toy car was the most he could expect from his Christmas stocking. So, for us, he always tried to make it as magical a time as possible. I remember thick snow on the day itself and my aunt and uncle struggling up the steep hill to our house, to visit, my aunt stubbornly insisting on wearing stiletto heels. Leaving out carrots and a glass of sherry – for them to be gone in the morning. The tangible expectation in the air. I also remember Father Christmas managing to squeeze my very first bike down the chimney. The real miracle being how my parents scraped together enough money to buy me one.
Some good friends of the family lived in the middle of a forest and it was a tradition to visit near Christmas and take presents and cards. The house sang with the smell of the pines trees they’d cut down.
I’ve celebrated Christmas away from home too. Once, in the middle of the Atlantic, on a geography field trip and once in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. Strange, disorientating times. Christmas and yet somehow not.
When first married, my new husband and I saw Love Actually on Christmas Eve afternoon and came out, feeling all loved-up, to be greeted by a spectacular sunset. The sky was orange and pink and violet and the air cold and fresh. Wonderful.
For some years I taught in primary schools. In mid December we’d all troop off to the carol service in a local minster. It was packed with children and parents, teachers and friends, all singing the old favourites.
Father Christmas has updated his image nowadays – who else tracks his progress across the globe with this?
and another lovely site for small children is:
For me, a real tree is a must. We get ours from a local farm. When I first met ‘Dave’ (as I’ll call him, to spare his blushes), who runs the business, I developed the most enormous crush. Largely due to the fact he was enormous. And gorgeous. With a fetching dimple in his cheek. He even inspired a short story. It’s one reason to buy a real tree every year; I get a once a year treat of seeing ‘Dave’ again!
Traditions necessarily change, according to circumstance. A new one for me is to sit down on Boxing Day afternoon, with husband out at a football match, and watch While You Were Sleeping. I have a selection of Christmassy leftovers (why are they always yummier than on the day itself?), light the wood-burner, grab a dog or two to cuddle and settle down. Guaranteed bliss every year.
This year we’re making a new tradition – a doggie walk on the beach on Christmas Day. I’ve tried taking cute pictures with them wearing those felt reindeer antlers. No good, my two just chew them! Spaniels have no respect for tradition.
Afterwards, I’ll be sitting down to watch the Christmas Special of Strictly Come Dancing as usual. With Say it with Sequins: The Rumba being inspired by the show, how could I not?
Whatever you’re doing this year, whoever you’re spending it with, may I wish you a very Happy Christmas and a peaceful and prosperous New Year.
Say it with Sequins: The Rumba is out with Harper Impulse on 19th December.
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