Today I want to talk about Christmas memories. As parents/adults, I think sometimes we lose track of what Christmas meant to us as children. In my recent blog post about reducing stress at Christmas I mentioned a recent discussion I had with my friend Sam aka Mrs Mulled Wine about Christmas and how the burden often falls more on women/mothers. To help deal with the stress, she said we should take some time to think about what it is we remember about Christmas as children and then that would help us to focus on what was really important. I tried to remember Christmas as a child and my mind was a bit foggy so I took some time out and really thought about it.
Here’s some things I remembered about Christmas as a child:
- The year my mam and dad said F it and we went to Pizza Hut on Christmas Day, brought back pizzas and we ate them on the living room floor. It was so novel and all my friends said how cool my parents were.
- Struggling to sleep from excitement and my mam sprinkling magic sleeping dust over my head
- Listening to see if we could hear the reindeers with my sister. We shared a bedroom so would be excitedly listening together. My sister features heavily in my Christmas memories, experiencing it with her was a huge part of it for me. I’m very thankful I have a sister so close in age.
- The year (1994) we got Donkey Kong Country on the Super Nintendo and it had a snow game that I was playing while my grandparents visited sticks in my memory
- Looking for presents with my sister – climbing on the kitchen counters to see what was on top of the cupboards and bouncing on my parents beds to see on top of the wardrobes
- Opening stockings to get Pringles, satsumas and coins – counting up the coins to see how ‘rich’ I had become
- All the gifts, not being able to believe how much I had to open. Returning to my pile of gifts later in the days, excited to look/play with them.
- Grandparents visiting on Boxing Day and us having a buffet. I loved the buffet, especially the pickles. My nana gave the world’s best cuddles, if I close my eyes and think of it right now I can practically feel it. It was usually us who went to visit our grandparents at their house so having them to come to our house for the day felt special too.
- My mam baking on Christmas Eve – especially when she made her famous corned beef pie. It was the best corned beef pie ever – ready for the Boxing Day buffet. Sometimes she let me eat the excess filling with a spoon, yas!
- Helping my dad to wrap gifts
- Going Christmas shopping at the Metro Centre and walking until my legs ached. We’d even get a McDonald’s if we were lucky!
- Checking the landing windowsill where we kept the milk and mince pie all night with my sister to see if Santa had been yet and then screaming ‘he’s been, he’s been’ and running into to wake mam and dad up when we could see the milk/food had gone. My mam was usually the most excited and up before even we were.
- Watching Christmas Day Top of the Pops
We moved house when I was 6 and I don’t have many memories of my Christmases aged 1-5 at the old house. I can vaguely remember feeling blown away at all my toys and not believing my luck and being excited about playing with them but that’s about it. Likewise, the house we moved to was a shell that my parents were doing up and I don’t remember caring at all about the house being a mess over Christmas aged 6/7.
Other than Christmas decorations and feeling cosy I don’t remember what the house looked like much at all really. If it was stylish or fashionable. If my mam had the ‘in’ dining table decorations. I barely remember eating Christmas dinner – despite all the effort that must have gone into it each year. I just remember being super excited and enjoying being with my family and exchanging gifts.
Not satisfied purely with what I remembered though, I thought I would ask my mam what SHE remembers from the Christmases of my childhood? Does she remember it differently to me?
Here’s what she said…
- Watching you both study your Argos catalogue/bible and putting some serious thought into what you both wanted to put on your list for Christmas – the poor catalogue was in tatters by time you had finished.
- Having our Christmas Eve bubble bath together with loads of bubbles and making snowmen out of the bubbles while Christmas carols played on the CD player. Then putting new PJs on and having extra special treats.
- We also used to watch a Christmas film on Christmas eve, all snuggled up on the couch with dad
- Putting a mince pie and some milk out for Santa
- Making sure I had my invisible magic dust off Santa for my emergency Christmas Eve non sleepers (NYOMI!)
- Waking stupidly early Christmas morning and trying to wake you both up by suddenly developing a weak bladder – toilet trips, a cough, being ‘clumsy’ and banging about, which never got you awake. I could even shake you and say ‘he’s been’ and run back to bed giggling – nada nought nope no wakeups.
- Then watching your beautiful little faces opening your presents…priceless
- We always watched Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer on Christmas morning.
It’s funny how my mam’s memories are entirely focussed around us. I really understand that now I’m a mother too. As a mother now myself, I’m interested in what I remember as an indication of what my children might remember but also what my mam remembers as an indication of what I might remember when my kids are all grown (sob). Of course we all gloss over any of the bad stuff and remember the good. Will I forget all the hard work and stress that goes into creating such precious memories?
It’s been really nice taking a little time out to reflect on my childhood Christmas memories. So my Christmas challenge to you is to spend 5-10 minutes reflecting on your own Christmas memories from your childhood and consider whether that affects how you want to spend your Christmases going forward. Go through your old Christmas photos from your childhood. Speak to your parents (if you can), what do they remember? Are you investing time and getting stressed over things that ultimately won’t matter, that no one will remember? Does it matter that no one will remember? What is truly important to you?
I’d love it if you shared your top memories with me in the comments!
And have a very merry Christmas!
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