Ghosts Of Christmas Past Part Two

Another year has flown by and Christmas is around the corner yet again, another excuse for some of us to go down memory lane and remember some of the more memorable Christmas times, but not all of them for the right reasons. Christmas isn’t just one day though and over the years  things have happened in the run up to Christmas, in the few days between Christmas and New year, and New Year’s Eve itself.

Like the time I had to have a neighbour arrested  as she’d been to a house party and couldn’t remember who was looking after her kids. She decided they must be at my house even though her kids and mine weren’t even friends, and not believing me when I said they weren’t with me (at 3 o’clock in the morning) she tried to break in. She was so adamant that I had them that the police searched my house from top to bottom before taking her to the police station. It turned out that they were at the party with her and she’d forgotten to tell them she was leaving.

The time a few of us mums got alcohol poisoning at the school fayre after drinking two plastic cups of warm wine.

The time I’d gone Christmas shopping with a friend who spent every penny of the money she had for Christmas presents in the first shop we went into, on herself. She treated herself to a lovely dress and shoes from Wallis and that was it, game over, we had to come back home before I’d even bought anything. It’s a good job she looked fab in that outfit.

The time we lived in Australia and spent Christmas day on the beach, twice.

The time I went out to bring a bike in from the garden shed on Christmas Eve and slipped on the step that had iced over convinced I’d broken a leg.

The time I went Christmas shopping with my young daughter knowing that when we got back my friend had called round with a hamster that I’d agreed to have as my friend had just got a kitten, the kids loved it.

The time years and years ago when an idiot I was seeing drove all the way from Manchester to Bath (where I was living at the time) in a snowstorm on New Year’s Eve to pick me up to drive all the way back to Manchester as he said he had two tickets for Peter Stringfellow’s club The Millionaire.  He dropped me off at a friend’s house and said he’d come back once he dropped his car off.  He didn’t come back and I didn’t see him again until 6 months later, just his way of making sure I wasn’t going anywhere that night.

The one time I bought a Christmas hamper and because I wasn’t in when the Rotary club came round with their float, someone gave them two tins of salmon.

I’m sure that there’s lots of other instances but one Christmas I remember was when I was a child and both my sister and I got a doll for Christmas. In those days parents didn’t buy every single thing that was on a child’s Christmas list, you got one main present as well as an annual, chocolate coins, an apple and orange and a couple of other bits, all in a pillow case. Anyway I got a Sindy doll but my sister got a Tressy.  A Tressy doll had hair that grew when you pressed her belly button and there was a wind up thing on her back that pulled the hair back in, next to her my Sindy looked drab and boring. Sindy had short dark hair but Tressy was far more glamorous and to top it all, after a couple of days Sindy’s head fell off. She didn’t go back to wherever she’d come from and get replaced as there were probably no consumer rights back then, so I lost interest and probably drew all over Tressy’s face with a ballpoint pen in temper.

Every parent wants to give their children the best Christmas, to buy every toy that’s on that Christmas list (even though not many kids will be able to tell you what they got last year) as proof of how much you love them. As you get older you realise that corny as it sounds it’s not what’s under the tree, it’s who’s around it that matters.

True story.

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Ghosts of Christmas Past.

With Christmas practically upon us I have to say that for me (and thousands of others) it’s not the same now that the kids have grown up, and yet it doesn’t seem two minutes since we were writing out the Christmas lists for Father Christmas. Two minutes, also a lifetime ago, but I remember it well.

Although it’s a busy stressful time of year it’s also enjoyable trying to juggle work with attending nativity plays, carol singing concerts, school Christmas fayres and spending a great deal of time trying to track down the most popular toy of the year. As parents we all want to make sure that our children have the best possible Christmas that we can give them, so of course we want to get them the main present on the wanted list which will always be the one thing that you can’t get for love or money.( My Little Pony Princess Bride springs to mind) and this quest will consume all your spare time trying to track it down. Trust me, after opening all the thousands of presents they get the disappointment of not getting their little heart’s desire will not even register, but unfortunately you will have cultivated a few grey hairs and worry lines in the process.

Back in the day you couldn’t just walk into a supermarket and pick up a fancy dress costume for the nativity, you either had to make your own or hope that something could be fashioned out of the school’s dressing-up box. Waiting to hear which child had which part would either mean having to find some green felt as they’d been given the part of a blade of grass, or a white sheet for a star with some silver tinsel wrapped around the head, and everyone knows the old trick of a tea towel with a crown on top for one of the three wise men. It didn’t matter if any of the kids forgot their lines,(which usually happens when they see mum and dad) it was seeing all of them singing and getting into the whole nativity thing, but you can bet that there will always be that group of mothers who are sat there, seething because their little cherub hasn’t got a main part.

Christmas eve when you have young children is a lovely lovely day. The Snowman is always shown on Christmas eve and then you have the rituals of leaving a mince pie and a drink for Father Christmas with a couple of carrots for the reindeer although looking back there must have been a hell of a fight between them if every house only left one or two carrots between eight of them. What it shouldn’t involve is having to go outside to retrieve a bike that’s hidden in the garden shed, slipping on the back step that has iced over when the temperature dropped, and lying there convinced you’ve broken your leg while realising that no one can see or hear you, and no, there’s going to be no magic sleigh transporting you to A&E.

We all know what happens on Christmas day, watching the presents being ripped open, looking at the sheer joy on little kid’s faces, so what if you’re all on beans on toast all of January? Christmas is for children but as you get older you realise it’s not what’s under the tree, it’s who’s around it that matters so with that in mind, Merry Christmas.

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