Your Memories of Christmas Past
Christmas again. It’s a truly wonderful time of year. We think it’s pretty clear, from our special Christmas website, and the music we play this festive time, that here at Your Christmas station, we really do love this time of the year.
Perhaps it’s the fact that, for once a year, we are all a little more tolerant, a little more caring of each other. Perhaps it’s because for just a day or two, we all try, at least, to treat each other a little better. Or perhaps it’s because Christmas brings with it some of our most powerful emotions, memories and deep feelings of nostalgia.
It is truly a wonderful time, and yes, we unashamedly love it very much indeed.
It’s not too late to get involved.
If you have a memory of Christmas past, whether it is as recent as last year, or even something that is happening to you this year, or if it goes back further, perhaps to your own childhood, we would love to share it here on our Christmas website. Simply send them to firstname.lastname@example.org
We look forward to hearing from you.
Christmas magic when I was 6 years old
Peter Graham, Your Christmas Station
I love Christmas. I mean, I seriously love this time of year. When I was a kid, I used to get so excited and now I’m an actual adult, I still do!. Actually, it’s the build-up to Christmas that I particularly like. It’s that sense of wonder. It’s still very much alive. The tree lights, the shopping malls and the way the city sparkles. And, of course, the music. There’s something special about those great songs we bring out every year at this time.
I think the way we feel about Christmas very much depends on how our parents were at this time of year when we were children. My mam loved it, and it was probably the only time of year when we were actually like everyone else.
When I was 6, my Mam and Dad divorced. The years that followed were quite difficult. It hit Mam really hard and although I know she did everything she could do to make life as good and normal as possible, yes, she did lose her way for a bit. I don’t blame her, I think the end of a marriage that lasted 25 years must have been very difficult. It would be for anyone. Plus, I truly believe that you never know what it is like for anyone else until you’ve walked in their shoes, and been in their position.
So, we really did have it hard. But at Christmas, Mam would pull out all the stops to make sure it was as brilliant as it could be, that’s what I mean by it being the only time of the year when we were like every other family. I don’t know how she did it, or how she paid for it, but we always had everything we wanted at Christmas.
And, funnily enough, it was that first Christmas after my Mum and Dad’s divorce that I remember so warmly…
Following my parent’s divorce, we left our family home. A lovely house with 4 bedrooms and gardens on all sides. From this, we moved to a rented and rather run down 2 up 2 down. It was unheated apart from one room with a coal fire. It had one downstairs toilet and was quite different from where we had lived before. I didn’t really care. At 6 years old, all I really wanted was to be with my Mam, and as long as that was happening, I was happy. It must have been dreadful for her though. Looking back, I don’t know how she survived sometimes, but somehow, eventually, she did.
Anyway, back to that Christmas. Yes, Christmas was coming, and with it a glimmer of colour and sparkle. As ever, I was getting excited about it. I can clearly remember the real Christmas tree that we had had trouble standing straight that year, and the warm and sweet smells that seemingly continued to abound from the house. We had had our first Christmas day together without Dad. It wasn’t as bad as you might think, and although I can’t actually remember all the details of the day, I do so clearly remember that night. Or at least this part of it.
Christmas Day was coming to a close, and we had gone to bed. I can remember a voice shouting goodnight, and Mam turning out all of the lights off. For some reason I couldn’t sleep, perhaps I was still excited from the day. I don’t know for sure. I mean, you’d think I’d have been exhausted after the 5 am rising!. It must have been less than 15 minutes, but that’s an eternity at 6 years old, so I got up out of bed. The two unkempt bedrooms were always freezing in that house. I made my way to Mams bed. She was still awake. I remember climbing into her bed and we snuggled up. We talked about Christmas, and the presents, and what we were going to do the next day, and probably everything else too.
After a few minutes of this, Mam asked if I wanted a cup of tea (I always loved my tea, even at 6 years old). By now, it was way after 11 o’clock, but I enthusiastically announced a resounding definite YES PLEASE!.
I remember this next part so clearly.
We went downstairs, and mam went and put the kettle on. She asked me if I would like some chocolate cake. I, of course, shouted YES once again to this! So, from the kitchen emerged Mam with two cups of tea, and some delicious looking (and tasting, I remember) chocolate cake.
And this is the very heart of my memory. I can remember the way I felt. It was just, well, special. The room was lit by the dying embers of the fire and the colourful lights of the tree, and I can still feel that warm glow. I think we both felt safe and, for just a while at least like the world was a perfect place to be.
And right then, right at that precise moment, it actually was.
The whole thing lasted a few minutes and then we went back to bed. But I still remember the way I felt, and I still remember that special Christmas feeling. I know, it might not seem like much, and it’s hardly the greatest Christmas story ever, but the power of that memory is made up of pure love and contentment, that incredible feeling you really only get at Christmas, that I can still almost reach out and touch it.
I’ve had a lot of special Christmases since, and I thank God for that. But I cherish this one memory of a childhood Christmas more than most. I can’t even begin to tell you what we did the day after or the day before for that matter, but I do recall that Christmas night like it was yesterday. Awww, if only.
My Mam died nearly 10 years ago. I can’t remember ever telling her about this special recollection of mine, but I’m sure I must have at some point. I am positive that she will be very happy knowing that I still remember that night. Perhaps more so because it had been a very difficult year for us as a family.
The fact that here, too many years to admit later, I still talk about that one night with such vivid brilliance and affection is testament to the fact that, after all is said and done, it’s family and love, and home that really matters, regardless of how hard life may or may not be. My Mam will see this as a real success. She should. I do.
We had tough times in the years that followed. Real hardship at times. But those particular unpleasant memories seem distant and faint, and of little real importance when compared to that very special Christmas night. We should learn from the hard times, and live and love from the magic we get from recalling the happy ones.
I will keep this Christmas memory in my heart forever. And for that one Christmas night, I am so very grateful.
God Bless and Happy Christmas everyone.
Making Christmas Traditions Last
One of the things that stands out for me in my Christmas memories is the smell of Christmas.
My mom was always in the kitchen, baking cookies or bread for friends, family and neighbors. I have carried on her tradition for years now and my kids and I bake for family (even Mom), neighbors, co-workers, teachers, etc.
The family votes on what our baking list for the year will be and everyone (even my husband) pitches in.
The kids love being able to take home-baked goodies to teachers and bus drivers and baking something every night as a family tends to cut down on the Christmas bustle that goes on around us. While we bake we listen to Christmas music and share our day.
Gift Treasure Hunt
Have a “treasure hunt” to find the “one gift.”
My dad used to leave a note with a clue for each of us in the tree, which we would follow to the next clue, and next until we found where the gift was hidden. I remember this more than any gift I received (except for the banana seat, red white and blue “Miss America” bicycle that was my first bike, that is).
Our First Christmas Together
I have tons of wonderful childhood memories of Christmas, like seeing snow for the first time, family gatherings, baking and decorating cookies, etc.
But, I suppose my favourite Christmas memory is of the first Christmas morning spent with my husband, after getting married just six weeks earlier.
I was in my 30s, he in his 40s, so we were very thankful to finally share the most precious day of the year with the long awaited “loves of our lives.” We enjoyed a peaceful morning listening to Christmas music, sipping coffee, opening gifts, and then spent the afternoon with family.
Christmas With Mum and Dad
Peter, I loved your story and it reminded me of Christmases back in England when I was a kid. There was me and my sister, my Mum and Dad and we had it tough at times to. This was in the late sixties and Dad was out of work for a couple of years due to poor health. I remember that we were on a very strict regime of saving everything and spending money was not even possible, given the circumstances. It was Christmas of 1969 that I remember most. I still recall the warmth of that house and the way Mum would work her socks off at Christmas. We always had a full house. And if money was in short supply, love certainly was not. I have very special recollections.
Now I live with my wife Kay in Wisconsin and we have three daughters, all grown up, and five grandchildren. We will all be spending a traditional Christmas together, very American. Big tree, big turkey and snow is something we take for granted at this time of the year. I have very happy Christmases here, but those of my childhood are still very important to me.
Thank you to AllHeart for bringing a little bit of ‘home’ to me here.
My Christmas Story
Sherree Link, England
I was with 5 kids at school was were saying Father Christmas was not a real person it had to be mom dad or a family member. So this one Christmas eve I had visit from Santa. And I had Rudolf on the roof – actually hoofing at the roof! Father Christmas came in my room we spoke about what I would get Christmas day. Then Rudolf was hoofing the roof once again. Father Christmas opened the window told Rudolf to behave. After he left me he went over the road stood under the street light and bell in hand at top of his voice yelled YO HO HO.
All the little children were all at the windows that night. Looking out at Santa under the street lamp little eyes a glow.
Later on that same nite to lads being very merry walking home from the public-house. Walked past Santa under the street lamp and carried on walking. When it suddenly dawned on them who was stood right there under that street lamp.
They both turn round and one said looking quite amazed “Father Christmas”
A Real Christmas
Dorothy Bull, London
CHRISTMAS! Huh, it isn’t like it used to be at all!
It’s not a bit like Christmases of old that I recall
Oh, we knew how to celebrate the season then, alright,
Although It was hard work for Mother, and the money tight.
Why, I remember how we stirred the Christmas puddings, and
Made wishes as we mixed them in the bowl from the washstand!
The aroma of them cooking in the wash-house copper
Made us feel the Christmas season was upon us proper
We liked to peep and see them on the shelf under the stairs
The cloths tied in a double knot and neatly stacked in pairs
But just a little “taster-pud” we’d try before the day
To make sure they were good enough to please our Auntie May
For Mum said “Ev’rything she makes turns out to be just fine
And I don’t want her puddings turning out better than mine!”
But now they’re bought from Supermarkets in a plastic basin
And cost too much to buy if you are on an old age pension –
Oh! Christmas isn’t like it was at all!
I’d eat a plateful of mince pies when I was just a kid
Hoping that I would find a “silver joey” ‘neath the lid!
Today they’re sold in boxes and packed in cellophane –
Just one bite of the pastry gives me indigestion pain.
You wont find any silver pieces in amongst the filling –
You’ll have a job to even find the mincemeat, bet a shilling!
The Christmas cakes are square now – they can cut a smaller slice –
The little bit I got last year would hardly feed the mice!
But anyway, the thin and tasteless marzipan beneath
An icing hard as concrete – well, it nearly broke my teeth!
We used to wash the fruit ourselves and lay it out on trays
Which rested on the fireplace fender by the fire’s blaze;
And when, the mixing over, it was turned into the tin
We’d lick the spoon and scrape the bowl as clean as a new pin
The smell of that cake cooking is a memory I treasure
It’s simple things like that, that made my childhood such a pleasure –
Oh, Christmas isn’t like it was at all!
The Christmas tree was magical and filled us with delight
It had real candles on it, casting their mysterious light
Today, it wouldn’t be allowed – ‘twould be a fire-risk, so
They have those gaudy fairy-lights instead of candle glow
We hung our sugar mice and candy shapes, just two a penny
Upon a real fir tree – nowadays you don’t see many
A lovely angel topped our tree, we thought she was divine
Now Santa in a plastic space-craft costs five ninety-nine!
Our trimmings were of paper chains we children had hand-made –
Although we got more paste upon ourselves, I am afraid!
Today they spend a fortune just to decorate, you know
And you can get an aerosol of ‘artificial snow.’!
I still enjoy receiving cards and letters in the post
But while a few have Christmas scenes, or Santa, or mice,
Or funny red-nosed reindeer, or skaters on the ice….
Oh, Christmas isn’t like it was at all.
You never saw a Christmas feast like we had, I’ll be bound!
For all the Aunts and Uncles and our cousins would come around
There were jellies and blancmanges – some in a rabbit shape
And we pulled the Christmas crackers and wore hats made of crepe
We played Charades and Blind Man’s Buff when we had finished tea –
But now, they “Shush” me if I speak, their eyes glued to T.V.
It wouldn’t be so bad if they spoke up so I could hear
And now my sight is failing so I really have to peer
They sit me in a corner, and they say to me “All right?”
And I mutter, “I suppose so – though I wish there was more light!”
They say that I’m asleep when my eyes close, they never know
I’m thinking of someone who kissed me ‘neath the mistletoe
He was a handsome soldier-boy, and I was just sixteen
And what a lot has happened in the seventy years between!
Then I remember carol-singers knocking on our door
They sounded just like angels, and we always asked for more
“Once in royal David’s city”, or my favourite, “Silent night.”
Their rosy faces seemed to glow with an unearthly light!
But now, they clap and holler and strum on their guitars
And sing strange tunes, and shake their tins – then dash off in their cars!
I often used to wonder as I sang the carols, why
They told that the Lord Jesus came down on earth to die
But what a comfort later when at last I understood –
“He died that we might be forgiven, He died to make us good!”
Forgive me for complaining, I shouldn’t really moan
It must be my arthritis, and the hours I spend alone
I need to “get things off my chest”, but I can thank the Lord
He always listens to me – He has time – He wont get bored!
He knows the pain and weariness of life, He felt it too
So I will count my blessings, and just say this to you –
The REAL CHRISTMAS hasn’t changed at all!!