Thursday, November 26, 2009
My Christmases as a child, seem always to have been magical and the weeks beforehand with their mounting crescendo of excitement were almost as exciting as the big day itself. I have vivid memories of producing yards of paper chains from coloured strips of paper bought in the local newsagents, the Christmas tree bought one year and carefully planted out in the garden before being brought in for the following festive season, the shiny glass baubles - and woe betide if any of them got broken and of course, the fairy, resplendent in crepe paper and tinsel.
Fast forward to my children's early years. The best Christmases are when there are children around who believe in Santa, but then, of course, you have to stay up half the night waiting for them to go to sleep before creeping into their bedrooms with pillow-cases full of presents. Staying awake until the early hours as an overworked mother is made all the more difficult if you have previously eaten the mince pie and drunk the glass of sherry left out for Santa (I drew the line as eating Rudolph's carrot as well) and on many of those Christmas days, my dearest wish, after about two hours sleep during the night, was to disappear back to bed for the afternoon to catch up on some zeds, but of course, I never could.
Of my four children, Hugh was the one who took Christmas present list writing the most seriously, usually beginning in October but occasionally, even earlier. Lengthy discussions would ensue over what were or were not considered reasonable requests. Then, of course, the children all got older and harder to buy for, although Hugh was always fairly easy as he was a prolific reader and a gift of books was always welcome.
When I asked him this summer, what he would like for his birthday, he couldn't think of anything to suggest and I didn't press it, thinking I would have plenty of time to look for something nearer the time.
These days, as I wander round the shops looking for presents to buy, the things that catch my attention are invariably just what I would buy for him - if I still could.