Christmas Memories - What do you remember of Christmas past?
Those days of your childhood and youth when Christmas was oh so special. Just like a jigsaw puzzle needs all the pieces to be completed, your perfect Christmas memory will include many things. Whilst none are essential to having a wonderful Christmas some will be the necessary ingredients for your childhood Christmas memories.
In Yorkshire, England in the late fifties and early sixties my Christmas was always quirky and individual; well it seemed that way to me. Each year my brother and I had a new bicycle but in truth the bikes were not new. Dad would spend much of his spare time during the Christmas countdown building a bike from a basic frame and what parts he could get hold of. It was years before we realised the effort he went to for this gift. 50 years later, more or less, we remember those bikes with great fondness.
Then there was his woodworking endeavours. With a treadle fret-saw machine he would work away, when we were small children, in the old coal shed of our home.
Come Christmas we always had a wonderful array of weird and wacky individual toys.
Mum was creative too, but crochet and knitting was her thing. She would make beautiful clothes for my dolls, hats, gloves and scarves for us and so much more.
We were not poor, as in Tiny Tim's family in the Dickens novel Scrooge, but like so many families in the early period after the Second World War money was tight. Yet for all that I have glorious memories of family parties, gifts, Santa and a decorated home. Back then it was tissue paper decorations and paper chains which you spent hours sticking together but it was fun and Christmassy.
My childhood cosy Christmas has a tiny tree, a loving family, a warm home, good food and laughter. So what is needed now for my perfect cosy Christmas?
Let it snow
Snow may not be an essential ingredient of Christmas and in fact it can be a pain in the backside. However most of us have a romantic idea of a cosy Christmas at home, tucked up warm and safe from the snow which is coming down in flurries outside.
A white Christmas in the UK remains elusive yet most of us think of snow when we remember Christmas past. In truth a snowy Christmas may be few and far between.
The large house shown in this image is located on my journey home from work. During a particularly snowy winter of recent years chaos ensued. As usual in the UK snow puts a stop to life as we know it, albeit temporarily. Buses do not run, cars skid off roads and pavements or walkways remain under snow for days. This particular year it was for weeks and it was deep, hard packed down snow. Having to walk home may have been a bind but it was scenic.
Trudging home means that you appreciate your home all the more. You yearn for the warmth which will welcome you home. For me the heart of our home is our cosy fire. We may have central heating but the fire is the focal point of our room and a great place to relax. At Christmas it is dressed with a pre-lit Garland which is not made of real greenery but still looks fab. As the flames lick the back of the chimney the Christmas tree lights provide the only other lighting it is cosy, Christmassy and spells HOME.
Home is where the heart is
Our home may be small compared to the large house above but it may be a palace compared to those who live in shanty towns with little cheer at any time of year. We should never forget though that home is where the heart is. Whether you can afford to dress your home to the nines for Christmas or not in some ways is immaterial.
Arriving home from my snowy trek my heart lifted as soon as I approached. The light had taken on a strange eerie blue glow which when shown on Christmas Cards looks false and unreal. It is however a fact of certain snowy conditions. It made everything look colder though and so added to the anticipation of getting in front of my fireplace.
Hearth and Home
Our Victorian styled hearth has a fire that springs to life at the flick of a switch. It is a gas fire with realistic looking coals. Gone are the days when I can be bothered to faff about and light a real, living fire. The one we have is economical, easy to use, environmentally OK and efficient. Once it is lit the flames flicker away and all visitors always remark how cosy it is.
You may prefer a real fire which will be that one step better. Either way though it offers a warm glow, which is cosy to snuggle around, unlike our central heating radiators.
For me our fire and hearth is central to our Christmas. Here in Yorkshire whether it snows or not it will be cold. It could be a damp cold as winds tend to blow off the North Sea. Whatever happens outdoors though will not affect my cosy Christmas.
I will be snuggled up in front of a roaring fire revelling in the glow of Christmas.