Christmas was always observed and celebrated in my parents’ home.
Both were committed to their Christian faith so the day was always a religious occasion, but the day was also celebrated with decorations and food and presents despite how little money my parents had, and often they had little money.
My father gives this account of the Christmas he was eight years old, and this is certainly the reason he was determined his children would always find Christmas a joy:
‘Christmas 1928 we were in a room at Glebe, I hoped Santa Claus would come; when I woke on Christmas morning there was a letter for me by my sock –
I was unable to call on you this year, but I will call on you next year. Santa.
That Christmas day 1928, we left Sydney for Melbourne. My father took his last remaining coins and we went to the Liverpool tram terminus, from there we commenced to walk. We received several lifts in cars and some people gave us food. We were somewhere past the Razor Back Mountain by night time. We slept out in the open’.
My father also had two Christmas traditions. He would recite Johnson’s Antidote, a bush ballad after lunch. And ours was a temperance household.
He would also say, with a satisfying survey of a room littered with gift wrapping and presents, “There ‘s nothing so over as Christmas.”
I’ll miss you and remember you on Christmas day as I do every day, Dad.