Today it’s the turn of younger son. He and his elder brother used to give out the presents until Daughter was able to read. Being several years younger than them, it meant that we had the magic of Santa in our house for longer than we might otherwise have had. I have loved re-living Christmas through their eyes.
The tree on the porch was taken some years ago, decorated by Granddaughter. Last year she declared that she was too old to do it now. At the time she was nine! I’d planned to ask the little grandsons to come over and do it but it wasn’t to be. I hope that next year will be very different.
I remember Christmas as a kid so clearly that I’m sure I must have had about twenty of them…at least ten! But really, how many do you remember before the age of five? And by the time you’re in your teens it’s still good, but never as good as it was. So when I think about Christmas as a kid, I’m really only talking about a five or six year period.
Our Christmas days were like clockwork. My brother and I would usually wake up somewhere between 2am-3am – yep, 2 or 3AM. We even devised a schedule. It was so thorough that it included times to go to the toilet. The schedule would involve opening our stockings, having a rummage thought the wrapped presents under the tree, and generally killing time playing computer games or watching videos until our parents got up about five hours later.
We weren’t allowed to go into the front room (we never really went in there anyway, except for Sunday’s, at Christmas, or when we had guests) until my dad had lit a fire, nor until we’d eaten something that wasn’t chocolate. So, after hastily guzzling the most unwanted piece of toast I’d eaten all year, with the fire lit, we were good to go.
My brother and I would be on present duty – making sure each one was given to the correct recipient; the name tags helped. The bigger the box, the better the present, obviously. And then we just opened them – there was my new football, my new Beano annual, the videos and computer games we asked for, gift vouchers, tonnes of chocolate which never lasted as long as it should’ve, and then the things you wanted without even realising that you wanted them. All done while keeping an eye on what my brother was opening too, just in case his presents were better than mine, while also noticing how boring grown-up’s presents were.
Presents opened, there was never too long to wait until more family came. More presents. More vouchers or money. Another successful haul. By now, the effects of a breakfast of chocolate and toast had worn off and I’d be hungry – ready for the best meal of the year. I mean, who doesn’t love a Christmas dinner? I’d eat until I’d feel sick. After dinner, there were more presents. Smaller things, usually some sort of gadget or something. I’d have space for a bit more chocolate by now too.
The rest of the day would be spent playing with new toys, playing on new computer games, or watching new videos. I don’t remember staying up particularly late on Christmas day, but then I’d been up since about 2am. It was a long shift. Usually I’d fall asleep reading an annual and eating chocolate. Christmas was always an exciting time in my house as a kid, which is probably why I remember them so well. I still love Christmas, and so does my wife, and I’m pretty sure than when my own kids grow up they’ll have similar memories to my own.