Reflections on Christmases Past

Monday 26th December

Well, Christmas is over for another year.  As a child I always seemed to enjoy Boxing Day better than Christmas day.  There was no anticipation, and of course no disappointment, though looking back, was I really so disappointed; for a few years I harboured the secret wish that under the tree might be a gift from my father, and as the pile of presents slowly dwindled the fears began to take over from the hope, and when the last one was gone I knew what I had known all along, that there never would be any surprise present for me.  Grandma had made sure of that, and the door seemed so well and truly closed shut that I would get annoyed with myself for having such silly ideas.  In a way though, I was also a bit disappointed with the gifts from Mummy and Grandma, they never seemed to have any idea of what a young girl might like, they did once get me a bicycle, well it was second hand, but had been re-sprayed and the chrome all polished up a and a pretty pink saddle, so it looked all new and sparkling but mostly it was cardigans and brooches and ear-rings that made me look far older than I really was, or silk scarves, handy but hardly young girly.  I suppose that they were out of touch themselves, and they had no relatives with young daughters to compare, so I got what I think Grandma secretly desired for herself.

And once the ritual of Christmas presents was gone through there was the even worse palaver of Christmas Dinner.  Grandma used to cook this for a few years, but then when the television arrived this was delegated to Mummy, who was, if anything a worse cook than Grandma, and we would wait at the table while she struggled with serving it all up, and inevitably half way through she would realise she had forgotten the gravy or the sprouts.  So on Boxing Day we could just relax, enjoy the programmes on the television, no anticipation, no feeling that you have to look ecstatically pleased as you unwrapped your presents, no secret worries that Grandma’s face would drop as she opened the little ornament or soaps I had worried so much about buying and no fears for the state of the famous turkey.  We could happily tuck into cold turkey and mashed potatoes and Picallilly and Branston Pickle to our hearts content, and settle down to watch Morecambe and Wise on the television, safe in the knowledge that we had successfully gotten through another Christmas.