Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas Past

(Paula is posting Margaret's blog for her today as she is away in sunny Florida)

I have been thinking of Christmas past. This is the first Christmas in thirty-eight years I don’t have John. I was dreading it but my lovely son and his wife bought me a flight to be with them. How wonderful is that.

When I was a little girl we were quite poor, for Christmas I was always given a couple of books and lots of tangerines. A rare treat when I was growing up. Everything I had, like a board and easel, was home made, as was my doll’s house but they were wonderful nonetheless.

I always spent Christmas at home with my family, Mum and Dad, Granddad and Grandma. I had no brother’s and sisters but I had lots of books to read and the wonderful radio to listen to. We always had turkey, sprouts, carrots, and two lots of potatoes.

It was generally pretty quiet. Gran came from a Scottish background so it was always New Year for us, that’s when the fun began. The whole family came round; we had singsongs and lots of laughter. We would pile out onto the street at five minutes to twelve, and my dad who was always first in, carried a basket containing a lump of coal, and slice of bread,. These would signify the essentials in life, keeping warm and having something to eat. There was generally a tot of Scotch when we went back inside (oh not for me!).

These were usually quite sober affairs but one year a Jewish lad I was seeing came around, he brought a case of beer, and you should have seen my Granddad’s eyes light up!

John and I were living in St Tropez one winter and we had a “French Christmas” We ate a huge meal on Christmas Eve. I shall never forget my friend Fernande peeling a mound of chestnuts to make chestnut stuffing. The food was mouthwateringly delicious. It was a glorious evening. Christmas Day was a more sober affair, but it was one of the most memorable Christmases John and I enjoyed.

Christmas in Cyprus proved interesting too. Not much happening Christmas Day, we had no trouble finding a place to eat, but on the Feast of the Epiphany, everyone was out and celebrating joyously. The dockside was laid with greenery and boys dived into the Med after the coins people threw. You couldn’t get a table in a restaurant for love or money.
New Year’s Eve we spent with a Cypriot family and ended up celebrating New Year in London and then New Year in Cyprus, Greek dancing was mandatory!

All these Christmases had a touch of magic. That is what Christmas is, magical. Forget the commercialization; let Christmas into your heart you won’t be disappointed.

How will I fare in Florida? Well in the loving arms of my family it will be perfect.

A Very Happy Christmas and a good New Year to you all.



  1. Lovely reminders of Christmas past, Margaret. I well remember the tangerine at the foot of my Christmas stocking!
    And chestnut stuffing - mmm. I remember my Mum roasting the chestnuts on an open fire (sounds like the cue for a song, doesn't it?) Then we all set to, peeling them (and eating a few at the same time too!)

  2. Wonderful memories, Margaret! It is so interesting to spend Advent in a foreign country. Customs and traditions vary a lot.

  3. Lovely memories Margaret. You will always have him in your heart. I have a 'Christmas Past' piece on Berengaria Browns (fellow creek author)blog on the 23rd, if you get time to take a look. Merry Christmas!

  4. Christmas in the loving arms of your family sounds perfect. Enjoy!

    And what wonderful memories...