As I write this, I remember from the twinkles’ advent calendars that there are now just nine sleeps to go until the big day. I’ve been trying to remember over the last day or two, what Christmas meant to me when I was growing up and what it means to me now.
I don’t know at what age your daily experiences become etched into your brain so much that they become memories but I’m pretty sure I don’t recall much before four years old. So why do we bother putting so much effort into something that’s not going to be remembered?
I do remember lots from childhood Christmases though. I remember the bowl of nuts by the fireplace in the living room with the nut crackers buried somewhere in the bowl. I remember the two fake trees that used to go up very year: in the same place, in the same room, with the same lights, the same tinsel and the same baubles. There’s a comfort in familiarity, a warmth in repetition. I used to love remembering where all the decorations went; all over the house, but especially in my room. Decorating my room as a child was really important, looking back.
There was of course the excitement of the advent calendar every day and the overwhelming excitement at the prospect of Father Christmas visiting MY house (yes, MY house!!) to deliver the presents. And he always did, leaving the little table in the hallway knocked over, port half drunk and the carrot half nibbled. The stockings which were hung from the fireplace (somewhere above the nuts) filled to the top with it didn’t matter what. And then the pile of presents under the tree. HE’D BEEN!! And it was so blimmin’ exciting!
Christmas day itself always followed a relatively set routine every year: up early to open stockings on my parents’ bed, then breakfast, bath and dressed for the day before playing with all the gifts from the stockings (while lunch was being cooked; not that I knew much about that) and opening most of the main presents. Said lunch magically appeared on the table which was eaten before opening the final, biggest gifts of the year.
And so it went on. Memory after memory after memory being made. They’re important things, memories. It’s memories that make us who we are, experiences and traditions being the stuff memories are made of.
Since the twinkles were born, Christmas has changed beyond measure. They’re exciting again, just like they were when I was a child, desperately listening for the jingle of the reindeer but desperately trying to be asleep at the same time. I hope we (me and MuMum) can make our girls as excited as this in the years to come. I think the traditions we’re already making will help Christmas to be that way for the girls.
I wonder how Christmas will be different for them than it was for me, growing up. For a start, the girls are the same age and the same gender (obviously!!) and are mainly interested in the same thing and they’ve always got their best mate and play pal with them. My sister is three years older than I am and I was never that interested in playing My Little Pony so we tended to do our own thing while trying not to annoy each other too much. Will that make the magic of Christmas even more exciting for them than it was for me? I don’t know if it will be more exciting, just a different kind of exciting maybe.
I’ve not met anyone yet who doesn’t like their own Christmas traditions no matter how different they are to mine. So whatever your traditions are, no matter whether you’re doing it for the first year or the twenty first year, just remember that it’s one of the most important things you can do: making memories.
Jingle all the way!