*****Is going there and back to see how far it is.*****

Hi I am Jo…wife, lover, best friend and soulmate to Keith. Lover of all things to do with nature and the canals. I am passionate about the Waterways and its history.

I hope you will join me in my rambles and do please comment – I love to hear from and meet new people in blogland!

Life on the cut through my eyes.

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*****Stay safe and warm out there..*****

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Christmas's past and present.

Hi Folks.

None of you can have failed to have noticed that Christmas is literally just around the corner and it got me thinking about my childhood and what Christmas was like for me all those years ago. I now have to wipe the cobwebs off of my brain to go back that far, I can honestly say I do not remember much about the days leading up to Christmas, because like most children, I was to busy hoping that Father Christmas was going to come to our house and of course rehearsing for the Nativity play at school (I never played Mary), although, I know it was a busy time for the family, what with deciding who was coming to stay, shopping and baking. I am not even sure I ever went Christmas shopping with my parents, I actually think my mother did all the Christmas Shopping, because my father was always at work. Oh I should say, we lived on a farm and my father was the cowman, so was on duty for much of the time. For some strange reason he would always work on Christmas Day. Maybe he knew something we did not ha ha ha. It is also true to say that I do not remember ever going to see Father Christmas, but then my memory could be failing me.I do have memories of the excitement on Christmas Eve, when the extended family would arrive, and chaos would take over. Usually my mother’s sister, mum (My nan) and children would come down from Birmingham for Christmas, which was lovely because I loved my Nan, she was always the life and soul of the party. The party usually began when they arrived. We would have to settle everyone in and then go through the rituals of hugs and kisses all around. Then everyone would tell their news, followed by festive drinks being served, of course us children had to have Orange juice. After all that we would be sent off to bed at an early hour so that Father Christmas could call (That is what we were told), when really it was just so the adults could have a party, which we were not invited too. Of course like any child at Christmas my brother and I would be tossing in our beds until eventually we would drift off to sleep and yes when we woke up hey presto there were presents at the foot of the bed and around the Christmas tree. I remember creeping down to the living room to see if Father Christmas had eaten the Mince Pies and drunk the Milk. Mother would not put out anything stronger, because she did not want Father Christmas getting drunk.

Even though everyone was up early, we were only ever allowed to open one small present, because Dad was always the last to arrive in the morning, as he had been milking the cows. Carols would be playing and mother would be preparing the vegetables and roasties for dinner. When Father did eventually get in, we would all sit around the tree and hand out a present each to someone else. There was always a lot of ripping of paper and screeches of delight, when we got what we wanted. I always thought Father Christmas must have thought I was a very good girl.

When there was nothing left but piles of Christmas paper and ribbons, Mother would get a Black bin bag and gather up the rubbish and stash it in the coal shed ready for the binmen. It became the norm that any toy that needed batteries was always the last thing to be played with because someone had forgotten to actually buy the batteries in the first place. So we would have to sit and look at the toy until some batteries could be either found or bought. I think we all remember our favourite toy and mine was a walking doll which I named Penny. She stood 3 foot tall and had long blonde hair. She wore a pink dress and even had underwear on. To make her walk you pushed down on her shoulders and her legs would move. She was so special to me and I remember her to this day. Of course I have had other wonderful presents. Like the Bay City Rollers Album, Yes I was the No1 fan and I put tartan on my clothes. I know how sad that must seem and I dare say some of you reading this are think “Who the hell are the Bay City Rollers”. But they were my big love along with David Cassidy and Donny Osmond. I also remember having my first brand new bike, which caused huge excitement, my brother also got a new bike that year. Just before lunch was due to be served Father and the male members of the family would walk down to the pub on the corner of our road for a Christmas drink, which usually ended up being a session, so one of us would have to go down to the pub to tell them dinner was ready. Mother was always then a little cross, because she had been slaving over a hot stove, whilst they had been out enjoying themselves (You know how it goes). Everyone would be seated in their places at the dinner table and Father would carve the Turkey. Toasts would then be given and lunch eaten. As a child I was never a fan of Sprouts, but was always told at Christmas I had to eat at least one Brussel Sprout and I could leave the rest. I now absolutely love Brussel Sprouts (How odd is that).

The years have passed and I am of course a grown up and, I have done all of the family stuff with my children and parents. I was the one making all the decisions on what to buy and who to invite for the big day. It was a huge part of my life and I loved every moment of it. Nowadays I take a back seat when it comes to Christmas and all the hype. Keith and I spend it quietly on our own, which is just the way we like it. We do not bother with presents or cards for each other, because there is very little room on the boat for all of that, but we do have decorations up as you have seen on the blog. We have a lovely time all the same, it comes without the stresses and strains of a family Christmas, because I know that some will know where I am coming from when I say that Christmas also bought arguments and tantrums when I was a child. I remember the rows the adult members of the family would have. I still recall my father being so drunk that he lost his false teeth down the toilet. They do say that Christmas can bring out the worst in family members, because you do not see each other all year and then you are suddenly thrown together for a week or more. Tensions arise and the arguments begin, well they did in our household. So a quiet Christmas in front of the TV is preferred by both Keith and I these days.

I can really say I do not envy anyone at Christmas, because it has become too commercial and people seem to get so stressed out just to keep others happy. All we will be doing is eating out on Christmas Day, letting someone else take the strain of cooking dinner. We will then be relaxing in front of the TV watching all of the cheesy Christmas films. There will be Mince Pies and Sausage Rolls in the oven, for us to pick at and nibbles a plenty, so we will have a wonderful festive time. We do not have the gift giving stresses, and I won’t be bothered with crazed shoppers and the Christmas party. I am getting a good deal.

So I do hope that you all have a wonderful Christmas and that it is not to stressful or mad and that you get from Father Christmas whatever your heart desires.
Yes of course I still believe in Father Christmas and he can call at our boat if he likes. I will put out the Mince Pies and a little tipple, because unlike my Mother, I believe Father Christmas deserves to get drunk, because he works hard to make sure all the children across the world get their presents for Christmas Day. HAPPY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE.

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