I was always a night owl. I would stay up reading with a torch under my covers; or listening for steps on the creaky stairs so I could pretend to be asleep when my dad came to check on me. I would slow my breathing and make sure my eyes didn’t flutter – I became pretty good at it. As a result, I found that it was actually (spoiler alert) my parents putting presents out at Christmas. It was so exciting! I admit for a few years, my brothers and I would try and find where they were hidden. I don’t remember us succeeding.
Christmas morning was an 80’s extravaganza. It was the 5 of us; Dad last downstairs, the rest of us calling for him to hurry up, mum in her dressing gown with a cup of tea and a cigarette (80’s style). Older brother being a teenager, but still knowing he had to sit in a required place, younger brother being shouted at for trying to open a present early. Dog and cat generally in the way. We had to all have a cup of tea before presents. It was the law.
Then my mum would put the bin liner in the middle of the room, dad would put on the radio and would throw – literally – our presents at us one-by-one, whilst being chastised by my mum to be careful! The lurid foil decorations were hanging from the ceiling and the multicoloured lights on the tree would flash intermittently. It was loud, there were arguments between siblings (usually over whose selection box it was) and the telly would go on as soon as we were done. It was like that every year. We all knew the deal.
Even years later, I can remember my brothers and I playing Rock Band together whilst my mum had a nap upstairs and my dad snored on the sofa. Or attempting to set up some complicated electronic device whilst my mum looked in ‘the drawer’ for spare batteries for a toy. If we were lucky we got snow.
Those are the Christmases of my past – the Girls World, the Roller Boots, the Care Bears; the cups of tea, the bacon sandwiches, the sound of the potatoes sizzling as they hit the hot fat. The call to dad to do the gravy and the fact that nobody really wanted any pudding, they just wanted to see it get set alight…
Nowadays and especially now, my Christmas is a lot more subdued. It’s just me and my daughter. She’s almost a teenager, so the magic of Christmas is not phone calls from Santa and Reindeer hooves. It’s the rituals; the cups of tea and the bin bags. The radio on and the sound of potatoes hitting the hot fat. We watch Elf every Christmas eve and drink hot chocolate. My own daughter is now the night owl, so we sit up together and talk. It’s a different Christmas to the one I grew up with, but it’s the rituals we remember and the ones we create, that makes the magic that will stay with us for generations.
I hope you all have a great Christmas.
Notes on the Author
This post is from ‘C ‘ of T.B.C. We hope you enjoyed reading a further insight into another personal account from us. We hope you are enjoying our Christmas Collaborations series and hearing from our friends in the blogging community. Thank you for continuing to support us in our blogging journey.
Notes on the Illustrator