Well, another Christmas bites the dust. Now, sitting quietly remembering so many Christmases, I feel a bit sorry remembering what was and the changes we see now.
Or being a bit Charles Dickens – remembering Christmasses past, moving backward quite a long way to the ’40s.
I was an only child, so a tad on the quiet side. I remember ruffling around in the pillowcase containing a few pressies from aunties which did leave me with a few doubts about Santa, then dressed and off outside with a hoard of other kids still in pj’s, showing off our goodies. I wasn’t overly pleased with mine, I always thought the boys got the best presents. I really yearned for a cap pistol.
The medieval feasts of today weren’t in evidence, and certainly no turkey or even ham at lunch, ham was sliced from the butcher, and in our house, was a light tea.
But the great treat was a baked chook. No Maccas then, just a golden bird, yes only one, no stuffing oneself in our house. On the plus side, the chook was cooked in heaps of fat accompanied by heaps of calorific crispy potatoes, pumpkin, and beans from our own garden.
The pudding? Of course, no Christmas is complete without one. But one Christmas it was a Tom Piper tinned delight. My dad, being the baker, made puddings to die for and they were ordered. One family missed out so dad gave them ours and being just a kid, I didn’t understand the act of kindness and sat at the table looking at the tinned offering with my lip so far stuck out in disapproval you could have put a cup and saucer on it.
Many others came and went without fanfare until I saw what a real family Christmas was. At 16, I met the man who was to be my husband and he took me to their celebration, four family members in one street, his backyard was packed with food, gifts flowed freely, and a pretend Santa shared Christmas joy with a few unwanted kisses – it was wonderful.
Seven years later, my very own family arrived one by one, and Christmas day was wonderful. Eventually, four kids were on our bed, at a painfully early time, yelling look what Santa brought. That belief kept on for a long time as we always managed to do a Santa and gifts from mum and dad. Even now my children and grandchildren made everything memorable. Year after year the pudding got bigger, never a tin but one year did get close. I made a huge one for us all – brother, his wife, and cousins – and hung it in the garage to dry. When I went to get it down the day before, I found an empty cloth, rotten mice had had their Christmas cheer early. Of course, panic ensued, but my lovely husband raced to the shop for supplies, a boiled fruitcake recipe with a liberal dose of whisky and it was the best pud ever.
In conclusion, our world became a new world, but Christmas, children, memories, and the meaning of it all will continue.