I've always loved Christmas. It's those traditions, those memories, the cosy evenings, it's the most nostalgic time of year by far. My parents always did such a great job of making it special, we didn't have loads of money, we didn't go on those fancy outings that have become an almost expected requirement these days, but to me it was perfect.
When I look back on Christmas as a child there are things that stand out. Little traditions that we had each year. Not big events but little things that created that magic that I long to give to my children.
It was about us, about family. Creating moments, forging memories and sparking that magic.
It was the tree. It wasn't fashionable, not a vintage, two-tone colour coordinated one that you just had to snap a photo of and share with friends. It wasn't minimalist (not by any stretch), but it was magical.
There was that smell. That tree smell, you know the one? This wasn't a real tree, and I now realise that the smell was merely the dust that had collected on the tree and the box of decorations after spending the last 11 months sat in the loft, but I still loved it. When we get our own tree out the loft even now and I smell that scent it's just Christmas to me.
Then there was the tinsel, a rare sight on today's trees. It was colourful, shimmering with the lights reflecting on it and to the young girl I was then, it was like a beautiful piece of elegant ribbon, wrapped around that perfect tree.
The baubles didn't all match. To be honest, I couldn't even tell you exactly what types we had, but I do remember hanging them, the gold, silver & red ones, hung where we wanted. I remember that special one that was mine. Two polar bears standing side by side wearing little green coats and a scarf. It didn't match but it was mine and each year I loved rediscovering it in that old box of decorations and choosing its' spot on our tree.
Each year my Dad would put on a Christmas record. The mince pies would come out and my parents would enjoy a sherry. It was our tradition, so memorable, so special, an event in itself. Not expensive, not over the top but magical.
My Dad would hang the ceiling decorations, you would probably laugh if you saw them these days. You know the ones, gold, silver and red foil decorations that were blu-tacked to the ceiling and hung down like a paper silhouette. Our lounge was transformed into a magical, glittering grotto of decorations. Bright, bold, almost obnoxious in their over the top presence but I remember them clearly. I didn't care what it looked like, I loved it.
Don't get me wrong, we all want our tree to look perfect, cosy, rustic and like it's stepped out the pages of a Christmas special of the Ideal Home magazine. We probably all enjoy taking our children to those Christmas events that cost far more than we'd normally spend on one outing, but when I think back on Christmas as a child I'm filled with such beautiful memories of the season and I realise something, it wasn't those events that created that magic, it was those little moments, creating traditions that filled my heart with joy.
It really wasn't about what it looked like or where we went. But it was about us, about family. Creating moments, forging memories and sparking that magic.
I hope to do the same for my children. We may still do those outings, but when my son started talking about his special Christmas Santa bauble that we'd given him two years back, it filled my heart with joy. A special memory of my childhood was now becoming his. He loved rediscovering his special Santa and giving it pride of place on our tree. Just a moment, one little tradition but hopefully creating something magical!
Happy Christmas everyone x