Monday, 1 December 2014

Magical memories are made of this...

This is one of my most favourites times of the year and I think it stems back to my childhood.

Christmas in our house was a big event, even though money was tight when I was small my parents still made sure that the festive season was magical in fact they still do and I have carried on that tradition for my children.

We would have family to stay at our house - on Christmas morning there would be four adults, six children and usually a couple of dogs as well, added to that by lunchtime there would be a couple of sets of grandparents too - it was madness, mayhem and absolutely brilliant.

I couldn't particularly tell you what presents I had... my most important memories are from the event itself.

Waking up with all  my cousins and opening our stockings, having to set up extra tables and chairs to fit so many people in for lunch, board games, Christmas music, wrapping paper everywhere, crackers and general merriment.

One year I remember we went out to get the tree, always a real tree when we were younger and we chose a huge one...and had to strap it to the roof of a VW Beetle to get it home...

Encouraging my younger brother to creep into my parents bedroom before Christmas to show him where all the presents had been hidden...

The Christmas that Santa got our stockings mixed up...think he'd (actually she'd) had too many mince pies...

Visiting Blackbush market the week before Christmas, all the people and all the stall holders shouting and offering 'good deals'.

Heading to London to see the lights, driving around oohing and ahhing and visiting the Donut Diner on the way home.

Decorating the tree in the dining room...although I am pretty sure my mum used to take all the decorations off and re-arrange them once we had gone to bed...

It all made for wonderful memories and to me that is the important part and the part that I hope my own children are now experiencing.

Yesterday we went into the city centre, not to do any shopping (that's all done) but because there is a German Christmas market in the high street - we walked, we listened to the music being piped out loud, we looked at all the stalls and we ate German sausage hot dogs - all for the festive experience.

This year our 13 year old daughter decorated our trees and did our window display and I have to admit - she did it all much better than I could have done!

This morning we all opened our advent calenders (yes my husband and I have calendars as well as the children) and we will start to take turns to pick Christmas film DVDs to watch all together, we will make hot chocolate and sit on the sofa under blankets as a family.

The children have both made their own gift tags for the presents they will give and they will be making cards for their grandparents.

Once the school breaks up we have plans for baking days together - iced cream filled buns and an ambitious gingerbread cookie tree are on the list.

When my husband and I were first courting we started the tradition of choosing a tree bauble for each Yule, we have 23 so far...and when our children were born we started the same tradition for them, a new bauble for each year, we are getting a huge collection but each one has a special memory attached to it.  Quite often the bauble will reflect something important that has happened during the past year, for instance the year we went to Disney in Florida we brought back a Mickey Mouse tree decoration and each year I take it out and hang it on the tree I remember our holiday.  This year we chose our bauble in a shop in Salisbury on the way to a weekend break in Bath, next year when I hang it on the tree I will remember our lovely trip.

We are I hope, creating magical memories that our children will take with them into adulthood, not memories of battling other shoppers, not memories of how many presents they get but special memories of the spirit of the season, about how important family and spending time together is.

And of course my husband proposed to me on Christmas morning a gazillion years ago too...I was so excited I couldn't eat my huge fried breakfast...that will always be a very special Christmas memory for me ♥

As I am the only pagan in my family I do my own special celebration at the winter solstice but I carry that with me to Christmas to celebrate with my family.

It is the magic of the season that creates the best memories not the amount of money that is spent.

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