I don’t know about you – but I have some really vivid memories of my childhood Christmas. So I thought it might make quite a nice post for me to talk about those years gone by in the Stevenson family – as I’ve done previously in blog posts – and share a small part of my Childhood Christmas with you this Blogmas.
Christmas for me has always been a double whammy of excitement – with my birthday being just 4 days before. That meant that for pretty much all of December, I would be buzzing. For me, it’s the best time of year – even more so if it’s icy cold and snowing – that’s the real dream. Although since I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned to appreciate the summer a lot more (maybe its since becoming a Dad and having plans ruined by bad weather, or since drinking beer and appreciating a gloriously sunny day in a beer garden – who knows!)
I was *that* person that would be playing Christmas songs in November, and counting down the days until I could open my advent calendar – like, a pre-advent advent. The Christmas songs starting on the radio is one of the big parts of my Childhood Christmas for sure.
Food and Drink
From my very early memories, I remember a family member (I think it was my Dads Uncle, my Grandads brother, maybe) always dropping a box of fruit off about a week before Christmas – if the fruit didn’t arrive, something was wrong! Now, that seems like a weird thing, I think, but for me, that was the start of Christmas. It was quite a mixed array of fruit from what I remember – pears, apples, oranges. Was this just a Stevenson thing!? Who knows.
I also remember another really vivid part of Christmas in the Stevenson household, and that was the joint of Ham, and Oranges! Dad would always get 12 or so giant oranges (I mean, they weren’t that big I guess, but in my memory, they were huge, HUGE). The house would absolutely stink of Orange when one was opened – but it was nice.
The joint of ham would be from the butcher, and cooked by mum on Christmas eve. Dad would then carve it Christmas day morning, and we’d have it with toast, sausage rolls, salad cream (well, me, at least!). I won’t lie – I still get a joint of Ham, and eat it myself. Maybe Grayson will have some this year, maybe I’ll be selfish, we’ll see 😉 I remember this used to cause Dad some stress if one of us carved the ham and took massive chunks out of it!
We’d always have Turkey – without exception. It’s funny really, because Turkey is (in my opinion), a really bad meat! We don’t have it here at Christmas – this year we’re going Roast Beef.
Mum would prepare the vegetables Christmas eve – we’d all chip in and peel carrots, prepare sprouts and cut potatoes. Normally whilst watching something festive on telly. It’s amazing how my parents masterminded that – all 4 of us helping to prepare the vegetables – I’ll be honest, I don’t remember what they were doing at the time – probably not very much by the sounds of it!
Dad would always make a Christmas cake – and then proceed to eat it himself because none of us like Christmas Cake! Neither of my parents are drinkers, so it was rare that alcohol was involved in things – but I do remember when my Gran(s) would arrive on Christmas Day, the Cherry would be opened! I can safely say, it won’t be cherry in our house this Christmas – Whisky and Wine (not mixed…not early on anyway 😉 )
The Big Day
Having 3 older brothers meant that excitement levels were high from the off! Christmas Eve would be spent generally being silly – sliding down the stairs in sleeping bags, watching Christmas Movies. I don’t really remember much, but I do remember that feeling on Christmas Eve. Mum would sometimes vanish upstairs and shake the car keys – when we were ‘believers’, it would really set the mood for the night. We’d look out of the window to see if we could see Santas sleigh – and we’d get ushered up to bed a little bit later than normal.
For me, getting to sleep was difficult – Christmas Eve was never a heavy sleep because I was simply too excited. I was listening to hear if the stockings were being left outside the door (did all parents do this? A great trick to keep the kids in their bedrooms for an extra hour in the morning, kids wake up, get stockings and open in bedrooms!). I’d often be woken up in the morning by one of my brothers saying “he’s been”, or the sneaky noise of one of them trying to sneak their stocking in to their bedroom!
Once the stockings were destroyed, we’d go down and have breakfast (see above!). The living room door would be closed until we were all ready, then we’d be allowed in to see all the presents under the tree. And for a family of 4 kids, and 2 adults, there were always a LOT of presents! Dad would take control and hand out the presents, one each, in order, and we’d just keep going round until they’d all been dished out.
The Christmas music would be on, we’d all be full from breakfast, and wrapping paper would be thrown around the room despite mum and dads frantic attempts to keep it all in a bin bag!
By 11am, we were all unwrapped, and off to our separate rooms to play with whatever we’d got! Sometimes there were joint presents, like Scalextric or something for us all to use – but normally, we’d have our own stuff and that was that.
Dinner would be served – the very traditional spread of Turkey and vegetables – and Cake / Pudding / Grans Trifle for afters. Maybe a Viennetta and a pack of After Eights. To be fair, by now, it was game over for me – I’d be full of chocolate and Turkey – and the afternoon would be spent chilling watching Noels Christmas and the Queens Speech! (Come on, who remembers Noel Edmonds on Christmas day – getting the nation in tears!)
I don’t remember there being a bed time of Christmas day – I’ll be honest, I imagine we were all exhausted, and full, that by 8pm we’d be asleep anyway!
Boxing day started just as Christmas day ended – with food! It’d be cold ham and turkey for breakfast, followed by whatever movie was on TV. Normally, there would be a football match in the afternoon – and if it was a home game, it would dictate the plans for the day. If it wasn’t at home, then we’d often head to a family members (Uncles and Aunties), and have another go at eating ourselves into a food coma. For me, another win, because it also meant I would get Birthday presents from those less-organised family members who couldn’t be bothered to get it sorted for the real day 😉
If there’s one thing I do remember, it’s that I was never bored. With school holidays, and 3 brothers, there was always something to get involved with!
Apart from the Christmas where I finally twigged that Santa wasn’t all that (long story short, I heard my parents talking about a present that they forgot to wrap or something) – I can safely say I have nothing incredibly happy memories of my childhood Christmas. The excitement, the anticipation, the day itself – everything that a kid could want. I guess my parents did a good job! I can only hope that Grayson gets filled with that same excitement as the years go by and he starts to understand things a bit more.
If he can look back on his childhood Christmas memories and be as fond of them as I am of mine – then I’ll be happy.
Please do share your Childhood Christmas memories in the comments below!
You can check out our other Blogmas posts here.