with my parents when I was young
Before we set off for the service on Christmas Eve night, we set up the Christmas tree unlike many of our friends who had had theirs up since December 1. The most we got during Advent was usually an Advent Calendar or in latter years an Advent Candle.
Since my brothers and I were in the choir at the local Anglican parish church – we were allowed to open one present upon our return from Midnight Mass, then bed quickly. Then Santa came round on his second trip* round the UK. Then in the morning we were allowed to see what Santa had left in the stocking.
Something every child could get
Nearly every year, a coin, an orange and an apple, a book, a diary, a pencil, a pen, a toy, and some other small thing that would fit in our small stockings would appear at the end of our beds where we hung our stockings. We had no chimney, so were told that Santa came in through the letterbox.
Christmas Day – off to church
Then we went to church – in later years we would both ring and sing (like most Sunday mornings and evenings), and on our return we would watch television or play with whatever toys we had until it was time for lunch. After lunch we would watch the Christmas Message from Her Majesty The Queen – and then, only then, would it be time to open anymore presents. I know that every family has its own traditions, and in no way do I want to say ours was the ‘right’ way. But it did make us think that Christmas was not just about getting or opening presents.
The start of new traditions
This year, Andrew and I opened our presents to each other on Wednesday evening after a ‘Turkey and Ham’ meal in Robinson’s in Great Victoria Street, as he was flying to Birmingham to spend Christmas with his best mate, Rob. A large part of me wishes that I had asked him not to go: but I did not. It would have been great to have spent Christmas Day with him: waking up next to him, eating some breakfast, to have got up, cooked something for lunch, and opened the presents round the tree today. There’s always next year!