Sunday, 29 November 2020

“Have Yourself A Merry Little.....”

 
This evening I was asked what is my favourite memory of any Christmas 
What a hard question this is to answer.
I’m feeling rather anti social tonight, and the hospice remains quiet , so I busied myself with some mindless checks of sell by dates of the unit’s drugs, and I thought about specific Christmases of note.

Having a Christmas review, I think, is very much like owning a succession of dogs. Each one has its own personality but there is a tendency of every one merging into each other.

Some stand out for the oddest reasons.
The year my father fell under the Christmas tree in his underpants with one of his more glamorous but equally pissed in laws. 
The year each one of the family had to share some sort of dramatic or comic performance, each one excelling the other.
Lying on a sofa with a partner covered in dogs one sunny and lazy Christmas morning 
Last year listening to a colleague sing silent night with a dying patient at 6 am 
Childhood memories are a collage of 1970s tv, warm prawn cocktails and peanuts in glass bowls that before had been used as ash trays .
A visit to a poor psychiatric patient in their home , which had no carpets but still being offered me a mince pie and a cup of tea

The memories feed off each other and bounce around like poleroid photos in the wind.

I am reminded of a late shift one Christmas Day ( always the most hated) when I was charge Nurse on Osborn 1 at The Princess Royal Spinal Unit in Sheffield
It was dark, perhaps late afternoon and the majority of bed fast patients had many visitors surrounding them ,like musk oxen surrounding their young and weak 
Three African nurses were on duty with me and they were pushing a very drunk and smiling patient on his bed back to the ward from the smoking room .
He was nursing a rather robust looking bottle of port
And true to form, they were singing all in low easy voices......one pushing the bed, one pulling and the other holding tight to the patient’s hand.
Several of the relatives came and stood in the corridor to listen, as I did at my office door as the procession went passed and I cannot hear this song without thinking of the pure humanity of that little moment 



What’s your special Christmas memory ?

142 comments:

  1. Barbara Anne12:55 am

    Christmas Eve, 1979, when our first son was born 6 weeks early, but weighing 6lb 2 oz.! On Dec. 23 I was supposed to host a Christmas gathering of the emergency room staff at our home. Instead, I went into labor 6 weeks early after after a hellacious 3p-11p shift the night before, Dec 22.
    DH went to his grandmother's home for the family Christmas Eve party that night and walked in singing "Unto us a child is born, unto us, a son is given!"
    I was still in hospital having had a C section because said son was breech. Memorable, indeed. :)

    Hugs!

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  2. Anonymous1:34 am

    Not related to Christmas but prompted by the St Louis reference. I picked up an old book in a charity shop...Somerset Maugham's Of Human Bondage. Glued on the front of the cover was a document saying it belonged to Fremantle Prison (closed many years ago now) and it listed the conditions applying to borrowing it. Not writing on the pages was one of them. But someone had written 'I am' over and over again as a frontispiece, with the occasional 'I am going.' At the back of the book they had written 'I hate to see the evening sun go down' (from St Louis Blues) and especially poignant as it was quite possible the prisoner had a view from the prison to the west and could see the sun go down.

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    1. It has a touch of Shawshank Redemption to this one x

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  3. There was the one where my father got rip roaring drunk, and his uncle (who was just as rip roaring drunk) took him outside to 'straighten him out'. My father got angry at him and gave him a shove. Uncle Leonard fell into an open septic tank which was due to be pumped out the day after Christmas. They both returned to the house in a rage, and my uncle got angry at my mother because she didn't want him sitting on the furniture. I was sure that Santa wasn't coming. He did though. I remember being a small child, and the excitement of waiting til morning. I remember being a mother of young children myself. I had so many memories of waking up early and all of us congregating in one bed to wait until my parents agreed that we could get up. The excited whispering in the dark. It was special that when I had children of my own, the rule was that they could not go downstairs until the clock struck 6. But if they didn't wake up by 5:30, I'd ho-ho-ho through a wrapping paper tube. I'd hear pattering feet as they went to each other's rooms and they'd sit at the top of the stairs whispering excitedly, waiting for that clock to chime six. There is no one memory, I guess. It is the building of memories, year by year, each memory precious and added to the string of memories before it, like a necklace of precious jewels.

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    1. Except for the septic tank debacle. Nothing precious about that, but pretty much the rest of it.

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    2. I loved this as it was so full of detail
      Details are often things that I was lacking in my memory of my childhood x

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  4. Many December nights just sitting in the glow of lights on the tree, with soft holiday music playing, and absorbing tbe peacefulness of being happy, warm, at leisure, and filled with gentle anticipation. It gets harder to find that peace as I get older, but it's what makes this whole season special.

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  5. Christmas eve, 1967 remember some of it, got a photograph from a guy who was there. We got a lot of incoming that night.

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    1. got a photo, but I guess you're blog doesn't allow photo's in comments. I'll put it in mine.

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    2. I’ve checked your blogs and they arnt there mike
      You can always send it me, I’m intrigued and will post it here

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  6. The year my aunt and uncle dropped off my Nan before going off to their sons home for xmas day. Nan got nicely pickled through the day on a drop of whisky. She had her xmas dinner with us it was all nicely merry and then she got pickled a little more. We had our tea and then my aunt and uncle came to pick her up. Still merry off she went. Now there was a bit of competition between my Nan and her cousin I called her Aunt and when she got home Nan rang my Dad and played hell with my Dad for allowing my aunt and uncle to see her whilst she was pickled. The biggest insult to her though was that we hadnt given her tea. She was that pickled she couldnt remember tucking in like a good un.She forgot that bit completely. We were just pleased that she was having a good time. It was the first Christmas without my Grandad. It took her a few weeks to accept that she had been fed and watered before going home. Needless to say my Aunt had seen her pickled before. Nan gave us many happy memories. The most favourite though is a bottle of whidky in the Nursing home at Christmas and she was dishing it out to all the residents. Two days later she passed and thats how I like to remember her x

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    1. This comment is so full of warmth and love that it glows

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    2. Thank u John she was a bit of a character and much loved by all of us. Happy days x

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  7. Some of my favorite Christmas memories aren't about Christmas per se, but about the owl prowls I got to do when I was in Indiana up by the Lake Michigan shore. I was working for a county park service, and owls start breeding late December. So Christmas time is when we'd go to our parks after dark to listen for owl calls. Being out in the snowy woods under a winter night sky was just magical.

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    1. Owl prowl

      Now there’s a phrase to conjure with

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  8. I do remember one Christmas morning finding a length of ribbon going all round the house, from room to room. It was my mother's present from my father, and it started at the Christmas tree. She followed it, and eventually had to pull it, and masses of bank notes floated down from above some cupboard. My father was very busy, and wasn't the type to choose proper presents.

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    1. How magical.....love the word “ masses”

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    2. I must add how wonderful was Judy Garland. A great actress AND singer.

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    3. Amen, she lives this song

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  9. My favorite Christmas memories are from my early childhood when Christmas was so magical and I was still too young to be aware of anything but the good. I still feel the magic of Christmas but not as easily as I did in childhood.

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    1. I remember the “ sense” of excitement without having remembering the specifics of things does that make sense ?

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    2. That makes perfect sense. It's a special "feeling" of excitement and anticipation and a joy of the season.

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  10. I was so excited opening my presents alongside mum and dad who sat on the floor with me-still not daylight,magical fairy lights,aroma of coffee,rum,dinner cooking,cigars-aqua manda-my mum had apple blossom or blue grass perfume,nylons,slips-but then I looked at my dad and felt sad as he never had as many as us and when I was older I made sure he had several to open x

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    1. Yes the smells of Christmas are just as important ....brut gift.setd from distant aunts

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  11. I recall happy Christmases with my mother and aunt during my early childhood, and then the anxiety of Christmases with my alcoholic father, hoping he would be OK. As a parent my best memory of christmas are of an excited boy opening his Christmas stocking and us realising the big orange digger is still in the top cupboard. So one of us sneaked off and put it by the fireplace. The lad was then encouraged to go and find it - the excuse being that Father Christmas must have dropped it - after all he had his hands full! Quite reasonable really!

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    1. ThE white lie compounding the memory ...

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  12. I'm stealing one of yours, but, peanuts in glass bowls is 1970's Christmas encapsulated. I don't think I ate peanuts at any other time of the year. My Grandma's hadn't been used as an ashtray though. It was a dedicated snack bowl with 4 compartments. I still have it and used to get it out when the children were small and put pringles and mini cheddars in it. I must find it but it isn't allowed anything more sophisticated than dry roasted peanuts in it.

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    1. That memory resonated with me so I am so glad someone else shared it
      Thank you

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  13. The Christmas Eve we had a blackout. A policeman knocked on the door and told us it was caused by an underground fire and we might have to be evacuated. On Christmas Eve!! We stayed put in the end and sat around telling ghost stories in the candlelight. My children and their cousins say it's the Christmas they remember the most.

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    1. Yes , the sharing of stories is an almost forgotton art and one children adore

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  14. The total magic of having wonderful parents . The year my parents had no money but made my younger sister and myself a dolly crib each out of orange boxes begged from the market and old worn sheets made into the bed clothes.So much love put into that gift and neither my sister or I knew we had no money! Another year my mum watched my dad sailing past her on his bike in the snow - waving to her merrily as he crossed the bottom of our road and flew over someone's hedge. We found him sat in some poor persons garden with a grin on his face - dad had imbibed too much at the factory Xmas do after a 12 hour stint. And yes my mum did leave him along with his bike stuck in the hedge to return to making mince pies! So grateful to have had such loving and caring parents who always made the best of everything and enjoyed life. (I won't mention the time the dog got drunk and slept for a day! - worried mum silly!) Best wishes to all Wandax

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    1. Wanda
      It sounds like a chapter from Little Women
      You look and notice the small and the magical and I like to think , even though I am sentimental, that I do the same x

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  15. John, you have a beautiful way with words. "The memories feed off each other and bounce around like poleroid photos in the wind." So true. So many memories, a favourite one was looking out of the window on Christmas eve with my 3 year old son, and a plane flying across the sky. All you could see in the dark was its lights flashing. I told my son, "There's Father Christmas! Better get into bed." His face was a picture. xx

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  16. Christmas 1967. I had been convinced there would be no Christmas in our house that year. My father had died a few months before (my mother had died 7 years earlier). I was barely 12, my sister 17 and my brother 20 - they kept our little home of 3 together, but I knew there wasn't any money. I woke up not expecting anything, but there were simple presents, board games, food, and a welcome sense of fun after the terrible time we had been through. I can't think of Christmas without remembering what they did for me that day. We are still close, 50+ years on.

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    1. I understand that sibling bond very well.
      This moved me greatly thank ux

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  17. The belly aching laughter when I put a plastic fly in my dads prawn cocktail and waited for him to notice.

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    1. Yes prawn cocktails ....
      Was it made with salad cream with a dash of kechup in it?

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    2. Of course is there any other way lol

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  18. A memory of the several Xmas nights when I was between the ages of, perhaps, 6 and 12, was the whole family going together to Midnight Mass, itself a magical event, the Church festooned in holly and blazing in multi-candle-light - and then returning to our freezing terraced house (back in the 1950s the luxury of central heating was way beyond the reach of my dad's income), the living room coal-fire having all but gone out. It was a ritual for us each to have a slice of Christmas cake with a cup of cold tea - it had gone cold, my mum having made a large tea-cosied pot just before we'd set our for church, returning something like an hour and a half later. Then we five children would retire to our beds, excited for the morrow, hoping that our hot water bottles still had some comforting heat in them.
    We didn't complain or moan. It was just the way Xmas was 'supposed' to happen.

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    1. Those were the days before central heating
      I remember them
      Your front toasty hot from the fire , your back frozen

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    2. Ah, there speaks another soul who's gone through the experience.

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  19. It seems like Christmas has come very early for you John. It is still November here, at least I think it is.

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    1. It’s four weeks to Christmas and I felt like a positive post.
      All your recent posts are all positive ones

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    2. I hope all my posts are positive , I don't't do negative.

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  20. My favourite memory is one Christmas when I was about 3 years old. We had the entire family round, Grandparents, Great Grandmothers, Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, all crammed into our sitting room. My Dad was teasing me about something and my Nan told him off! Then my Great Nana told my Nan off for picking on Dad! Everyone just collapsed into sherry-fueled giggles. Of course I didn't realise they were all a bit sozzled! Standing there, in that room with the log fire and smell of Mums cooking, mixed with cigar/cigarette smoke and the faint smell of pine I just felt such overwhelming love.

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    1. Oh yes those days of passive smoking
      You have rekindled another memory in me lol

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  21. Seeing the farmer heat the brandy for the Christmas pud on the Aga then put a match to it and pour it over the Christmas pudding and carry it, flaming, on to the Christmas table.

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  22. My special Christmas memory, well it might seem sad at first but it quickly switched itself around. It was the year I had just left my first husband, Jason my youngest son was 15 then and had come with me to my little rented terraced house, we didn't have much stuff, as I had left with just my clothes, books and four cats ... along with Jason. We had no cooker but had bought microwaveable stuff, wine for me and Schloer for Jason ... and LOTS of chocolate. My husband came at 10am on Christmas morning bringing our grandson with him to pick up Jason so he could spend a couple of days with him and his new girlfriend. I went from having the three of them in the tiny living room laughing and joking to suddenly being on my own.

    Reality hit and I sat and sobbed my heart out for over an hour, realising the momentous change I had made to my life. Then just as I had worn myself out something clicked in me and I felt the immense strength it had taken to do that, and all the good things that would surely be lying ahead of me if I just had faith in myself. I can honestly say I never looked back from that moment.

    I made some sandwiches, filled a bowl with Pringles and poured a large glass of wine and watched Christmas television for the rest of the day. It was possibly one of my best Christmases ever!!

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  23. When my children were little they weren't allowed to come downstairs until everyone was ready to go down. One year we wanted a lie in so told them not to get up until 8am. When hubby and I went to bed we sneaked into their rooms and moved their clocks back 1 hour. Bliss, an extra hour of peace and quiet.

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  24. For me JG my Dad, first his contribution to Christmas, he provided the obligatory box of After Eight Mints ! And after he had eaten his Christmas dinner, he said, Norm, I don't like turkey, but that was awfully good. Our first Christmas without everyone sat at the table, dreading that moment when we had finished our meal, dreading that moment when Jim would would give his comment about the dinner ! We still say it now xx

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    1. Oh the complaints !
      I think each cook on Xmas day could write a book on those

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  25. You have a unique perspective and memories. While mine all seem to blend together, they are still pleasant. Thanks for the visit.

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    1. John, I guess my unique ones are few and far between after 58 Christmases experienced ....like you most of mine morphs into one

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  26. So beautifully written John. When I was young I used to share bunk beds with my sister. I used to sleep on the lower bunk and on Christmas morning I would wake bright and early and get all my presents out of the pillowcase that was on the end of my bed. As well as wrapped gifts there would be a few upwrapped bits and pieces such as chocolate coins or selection boxes or stocking fillers. I would wake my sleepy sister up and start to tell her the things I got so it was hardly a surprise when she looked in her pillowcase to see what she had! I was a naughty little sister!

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    1. I have a twin sister so the excitement was always doubled

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  27. It was 1954. My gentle mother always made a magical show of our Christmas tree and set up a village underneath it on top of a white quilt batting (snow). My military father’s task was to set up our Lionel train set and a wooden house he had made with a removable red roof--complete with a chimney. Because he was a gadget man, he thought it would be fun to set up a small recording device in the house that he could control from a few feet away. I was 4. My sister, 7. We made our way down the stairs that morning and saw the glory of Christmas before us, my parents watching from across the room. My father triggered the recording. All of a sudden, the booming voice of (our) Father Christmas chimed out HO, HO, HO! The reaction was not quite what my (chagrined) father expected as my sister loudly exclaimed, “What the Hell was that!!” Memorable, indeed. :)

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  28. Me thinks John Gray may be behind this headline !!!

    Scotch eggs all round! Environment Secretary George Eustice says snack DOES count as a 'substantial meal' and you CAN finish your drink once you've eaten it in bid to clarify bizarre No10 diktat !!! Courtesy of the Daily Mail

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    1. Perhaps he is a regular here John-it Is quite odd because people who prefer to partake of a pastie Must ask for a portion of chips also but will not be allowed to loiter x

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  29. When I was small, back in the early 70s, we lived in a bungalow that had been built in the back garden of a grand house, approached by a long and narrow drive surfaced with gravel, with houses with long gardens at either side of us. I was a terror for staying up late, so my mother instituted a fib that in the run up to Christmas Santa came every Wednesday night at 7pm to collect a contribution towards my presents, so he could afford to give more to poorer children, and that if he caught me up and about there'd be no presents at all. And true to her word at 7pm on Wednesdays I'd hear the crunch of steps approaching the house, dive into my nightie, pull the covers over my head and not come out in case Santa was watching. What I never cottoned on to was that my father would disappear about 10 minutes before 7. It was only years later I realised he slipped through a gap in the neighbours' hedge and walked down to the road so he could noisily stomp up the drive and he and my long-suffering mother could enjoy one night to themselves each week.

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    1. Your story is as vivid as it was in reality x

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  30. Only one Christmas comes immediately to mind -- when I was in the sixth grade and we had just moved to a different house, in a less desirable location to me. I snuck a peak before Christmas at unwrapped presents to see if I had received what I wanted though I'm not sure what it was now, but it may have been an Esterbrook lever-fill ink pen. I immediately felt remorse because I realized then I had to pretend Christmas Day to be excited because I didn't want to disappoint my mother by depriving her of seeing my enthusiasm. I ruined Christmas for myself and never did that again.

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    1. A life lesson as so many of theses seem to be

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  31. Anonymous1:06 pm

    Xmas 2008 is 'memorable'
    Daughter says come to us, you always do everything mum, let me do it this year.
    Okay, husband, Rottweiler and l pack a bag and look forward......
    Only, son in law has bought himself, a brand new Harley Davidson Motorbike, using the money earmaked for house renovations....
    The air was blue, the dog knocked over an 8 foot real tree as she was upset at the screaming, my daughter miss-timed the food and l had to do my best to rescue the dinner.
    Husband got very drunk and fell asleep on their sofa, son in law went out to the shed to play with his new bike. Daughter stormed off to bed with new baby and they stayed there.
    I tip-toed to the kitchen, gave Ella the dog a ham hock in the utility room and spent most of the late afternoon clearing up the bomb site kitchen, with all the fancy china and glass that couldn'd go in a dishwasher, then mopped the floor . Covered husband with a blanket, put the tree back together and clock watched till l could go to bed.
    Went home next day, whew, lucky escape.
    And that was one of the better Christmases, you can see why l don't much care for it, and also why l prefer to remain annonymous on here.
    Tess xx

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    1. Yes I understand Christmas is not always a lovely affair
      I’ve had my share of bad ones
      Your 2008 version shows what you probably are
      A peacemaker and a realist x

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    2. Anonymous1:29 pm

      Realist definately, but Battleaxe when riled! T x

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  32. There was the year we went to Paris for Christmas. I out pouted the maitre d in the restaurant on the Eiffel Tower and got a table for Christmas lunch.

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  33. xmess at the maternal grandparents; a few hours break from the abusive shit at home. this stopped in the late 60s after grandmom had a heart attack.

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    1. Yes there are many with rather different memories of Christmas x

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  34. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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    1. If you managed to get my ex to come back to me I would track you down and stab you! Repeatedly!

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  35. Oh, Judy. My mom and I watched Meet Me in St. Louis for Thanksgiving afternoon. It was lovely. I will always enjoy that. My fave memory? I was Stubtoe the Elf at a Mall and got snowed in. My mom called an old high school friend of hers and she agreed to put me up. She had a little boy who was obsessed with Stubtoe. I stole a stuffed dog from the toy pile in my little workshop (filed with mechanical elves - they looked the other way). He was already in bed but was super excited that Stubtoe was staying overnight. In the morning, I left super early and left that stuffed animal under the tree with a note from Stubtoe. Later heard that he was super happy about it. I was not happy as Stubtoe, but glad I could brighten that little fella's holiday.

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    1. Lol....now that reads like a Hollywood movie

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  36. My soon to be step son was maybe 7 or 8 ... right on the verge of not believing in Santa Claus anymore so in an attempt to give him one more year of believing my soon to be husband stepped outside the house unnoticed and started ringing a little jingle bell and i told my son 'Oh theres Santa better get to bed! Oh my goodness what a reaction!! And when he tried to get his shoes off they were double knotted and he couldn't get them untied and he started crying! Crying! So not the reaction we wanted.. I wonder what his memory is of that night..

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  37. Anonymous3:25 pm

    Among my favorite Christmas memories... my husband and I could finally afford to be extravagant, we had seven Christmas trees. Seen through the falling snow from outside every window cast the warm glow of colored lights. We had been at a store where I watched him admire things he wouldn't get for himself,so I had gone back alone to get them for his presents.He passed away not long afterwards. I'll forever be grateful for each time we made each other feel so loved.-Mary

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  38. The best Christmas for me was last year, it was my daughters first Christmas. My wife and I had spent years, suffering losses along the way, trying to have a child so it was truly magical watching her little face watch all the lights on the tree and getting to share our traditions with her.
    My other memorable Christmas was the last one I spent with my grandad, of course at the time I didn't know it would be the last. We always had a full chaotic house at Christmas, I loved it that way but I remember sitting at the dining table with him and just chatting away as he watched me play with the furby he had bought me. He was one of those people that when he gave you attention he gave it all to you and I thanked him for talking to me and playing with me. I cherished that moment then and I cherish it more now, he passed away less than six months later - I still have the furby.

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  39. I grew up an only child with a mentally disturbed, narcissistic personality disordered, possibly Bi Polar, demon of a Mother and a weak, enabling `eyes wide shut` Father with a nasty temper but every Christmas we went to my Aunts for tea on Christmas Day. It was like stepping from hell into Heaven. The house was dressed to the nines with Christmas, all you could eat, party games, carols around the piano and a real fire with homemade mince pies keep warm on the hearth. Thank you Aunty Doreen for the sheer magic of it all.

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    1. Many of us survive the bite marks of dysfunction by having oasis of love around us

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  40. My father was the personification of Christmas magic. Every Christmas was wonderful ... until after the eveningmeal when he’d have had too much to drink and he’d get grumpy. By then we’d go to our rooms with our presents and bathe in the glow of the day.
    I remember many Christmases but the one I now remember most is the one that came 10 days after he died. The magic of the season had died with him. I had to pretend, though, because I have two daughters and they needed to have a happy Christmas. It was a tough one for me, but I think I pulled it off.

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    1. Fake it to make it deArheart.... that’s how many survive the season x

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  41. The year that our low cost, plastic tree began biodegrading. The graduate architectural history classes I was taking slowed me down, but I attempted to cover that poor smelly tree with as many bulbs as I could. And did.

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  42. We had some friends round for a meal Christmas eve. We had a lovely time. I wanted to impress them and serve flaming sambucas. I got husband to turn the dining room light off and I made my entrance to oooo's and aaaah's, promptly tripped up and watched in horror as the burning liquid travelled down the many legs.
    I was mortified but it gives us call a laugh now!

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    1. Lol
      In Sheffield , I used to be a part of an urban family meal where 12 friends would turn up for a full meal ....I adored those lovely loud days

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  43. My mom made magical very German Christmases for us as little kids. After my dad left we had many very interesting and sometimes challenging holidays all over the map, physically as well as phycologically. The sheer tender loving warmth of those early memories is quite a treasure to me now.

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  44. We lived next door to the local children’s home and one year my brother was home so we ended up having 35 for Christmas dinner, we found out that one little boy was still in the home his parents hadn’t turned up to collect him and two staff had to cancel their Christmas Day to stay with him, he was friends with my son so obviously he came to us but it was a mad panic to get some presents for him so he wouldn’t feel left out when my father dressed as Father Christmas gave out the family gifts, the look on his face when Father Christmas called out “Lee” and gave him the first of many presents ( mostly chocolates and football socks ) was magical, he joined the army when he left the home and still keeps in touch with us and brought his wife and baby last time, he often talks about that Christmas. I don’t want this to sound like we were “ do gooders “ because one small boy made no difference at all when there were so many for dinner.

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    1. Debbie, that is such a sweet story and I bet you and your brother learned so much about caring for others and the christmas message by participating directly in the care of someone else

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  45. I remember one happy Christmas moment. My friend Tinkerbell and I. She was opening the presents of her first Christmas stocking. There are few others I remember.

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    1. I’m intrigued , tell me more about tinker bell

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  46. Flying home for Christmas during college and as a young woman with a career in NYC. I loved flying into OHare or Hyannis, seeing my parents happy faces. Chicago always had snow, a white Christmas, to greet me; Cape Cod had greenery and December roses, heather in bloom. Magic.

    lizzy x

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    1. There is something very powerful “ going home “ for Christmas

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  47. I remember a xmas when I was a little boy when my older cousins and my mum and my gran all got into this thing that Santa was 'late' with my gifts and I had to go to the backyard (we had trees in our backyard) and check to see if some of the 'forgotten' gifts were there. I ran outside in my PJs and lo and behold: there were wrapped presents with my name in some of the branches. I was AMAZED that Santa would have such an aim. I checked the name because I didn't want to get other kid's gifts. They were all mine.
    I don't know why I remembered this event. I have not thought about it in years and years and years.
    You're a magician.

    XOXO

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    1. We all need to remember a bit of magic my friend

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  48. We spent Christmas Day driving to St. Louis to my moms side of the family so Christmas Eve is when we got to open our gifts. We eagerly waited for my dad to get home from work and clean up, then we would have to suffer through dinner, then finally get to open presents. The next morning we would get up extra early to see what Santa left, pack the car and head to St. Louis for a week. I was the only girl in the family so my grandpa absolutely spoiled me while I was there. He lovely made all my favorite foods, starting and ending with buckwheat pancakes. Thirty years later I was shopping in a speciality store and they had buckwheat pancake mix, I grabbed it and started crying. My friend looking sideways at me as I'm trying to explain how much I missed my grandpa and how he always made these pancakes for me. Needless to say I'll be having buckwheat pancakes Christmas morning.

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    1. That store gave you an extra Xmas gift x

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  49. Childhood Christmas with lots of waifs and strays who hadnt got relatives . Normally elderly ladies who had ended up looking after aged parents and letting love pass them by.
    Later Christmas on night duty and then years later marriage and my own children.
    Now parents all passed on but one elderly aunt will join us.
    A few years back before my father died, my husband sons and widowed dad sat down to tea and I went to get a bottle of lemonade . It fizzed out all over the floor. I proceeded to swear like a fishwife whist OH and sons looked on in horror. Dad bless him oblivious to the drama carried on eating his Melton mowbrary pork pie.

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  50. These are fascinating memories. Thanks to everyone for sharing. Mine is from the first year my husband and I were married. I always spent Christmas eve with my dad because my parents were divorced. We always had pizza. This particular year, my dad was on his third wife with a girlfriend in waiting. We got to their house and they were fighting and drinking heavily. Yep, both were drunk. While dad talked with us, wife #3 put the take-out pizzas in the oven to heat up. Then she went in the bedroom and passed out on the bed. Soon, my husband says he smells smoke and the three of us troop to the kitchen where the take-out pizzas are ablaze in the oven. Seems wife #3 left them in the boxes and turned on the broiler. After my husband put out the fire and we aired out the house, we discovered dad asleep in his recliner so we departed for our little apartment which was devoid of drama. (The following year we spent Christmas eve in wife #4's apartment.)

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    1. Ah yes...the joys of a dysfunctional Xmas x

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  51. “ Childhood Christmas with lots of waifs and strays who hadnt got relatives . Normally elderly ladies who had ended up looking after aged parents and letting love pass them by. “

    Nicely and touchingly observed

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  52. Thank you John. I love your observations of folk. Thanks for making me laugh and cry. Xx

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    1. It is posts like these I enjoy the most. Lovely non monopolising stories of self. No pontificating or making a point of telling someone they are wrong, just human stories

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  53. Forgot to add watching Christmas ghost story on TV usually on Christmas day eve. Usually from behind a cushion. Favourite was the signalman.

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    1. A good ghost story is synonymous with Christmas

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  54. I have many varied Christmas memories, some not so good but lots of very precious ones, reading all these comments has been wonderful, I have never commented on your blog before, but looking at previous posts and listening ,have to put it that way as I seem to hear you instead of just reading your words,I have to say that you are a VERY special person.May all your future Christmases be full of love and merriment, best wishes, Chrissie.x

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    Replies
    1. Welcome Christie
      The human stories from blog flowers all have a poignant importance and it’s lovely sharing them

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    2. Barbara Anne5:02 am

      "blog flowers", John? Love it!! No doubt a chapter title for your book.

      Hugs!

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  55. Going for a cycle ride with my long-term boyfriend. He proposed at the top of the steepest hill around!

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  56. Christmas Day was spent with mum's family and Boxing Day was another affair entirely with my dad's side which was much louder,quite exuberant and Italian spoken and red wine flowed for all and lots of hugging and kissy kissy 3 times x

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    1. Yes it’s interesting watching how two families enjoy Christmas ...how they have their own rituals and their own acceptable behaviours

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  57. Anonymous10:39 pm

    I remember the Christmas my father had been seriously injured in a car accident. He and I had gone to visit my brother and his family and the three of us were going Christmas shopping when we encountered very dense fog and our vehicle was rear ended. It was winter and my Dad always wore his seat belt but my brother had pulled over and my Dad had removed his seat belt to clear the ice from the windshield. He didn't have time to buckle up before we were hit. As we waited at the side of the road for an ambulance,the fog just disappeared. I cradled my Dad against me and waited for what seemed like forever. My Dad's head had hit the post of the windshield and he sustained a serious head injury. When we arrived at the small community hospital the Emergency Dr. indicated he needed to be transferred to a large trauma centre. They had ordered a helicopter but they had a very sick baby who had to be transported too so my Dad ended up going in an ambulance (2.5 hour drive). He had emergency surgery to relieve the pressure on his brain and he was admitted to the high level Neuro ICU. The hardest call I ever had to make was to my mother who was a nurse to tell her what had happened. She met us at the hospital and never left my Dad's side until he passed away a month later. The hospital had an annex so that family members from out of town could stay there.My Mom and I stayed at the hospital and we were encouraged to visit my Dad and keep talking to him even in the middle of the night if we wanted to. We saw so many tragic cases in that month and so many sad families, but we did see joy as well as some families relatives woke up from their coma's! My Mom and I got to know the families as we sat in the waiting room for a chance to go in an visit. On New Year's eve in that waiting room we all shared a toast and prayed that our family members would return to good health. I will never forget that Christmas . My Dad meant the world to me and Christmas was his favourite time of year. I still put the plastic Santa my Dad bought me when I was nine on the top of my tree.

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    1. And Christmas seen from a different perspective
      This is a powerful memory and a very powerful piece of writing
      Simply and directly told

      Thank you

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    2. Anonymous3:30 am

      John, bless you for all you to to help your patients. Nurses really are unsung heroes.
      from-
      Marilyn

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  58. You know what? I very rarely comment on blog posts but I have to say I love you. You are amazing and your blog posts make me cry and roar laughing on a regular basis. Never stop posting.

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    1. Ela
      Lol thank u , but these kind of posts are all with the commentators and not with me

      Delete
  59. What a great question to reconnect us to our memories and bring out the stories.
    I remember our first Christmas in the UK as Aussie postgrads studying in Manchester. It was an interesting time to arrive with a Bruce after The Monty Python skit where the University of Woolloomooloo philosophy department all introduced themselves as Bruces. We visited friends in Oxford for that first Christmas and they wisely souled their two year old onto us for the (very) early morning enquiries “are you getting up now?” We were introduced to roasted chestnuts. And the strange English passion for Brussel sprouts. Then at the local Anglican Church the vicar prayed for the people of Port Darwin after the cyclone. We know it as Darwin so I thought he’d made a mistake and meant Port Moresby. But no. And that was the first we heard of that disaster. Walking off Christmas dinner and splashing through puddles did become a bit of a theme. Sunny barbecues and seafood notwithstanding, Christmas definitely fits better in the northern hemisphere winter than the southern hemisphere summer

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  60. What a great question to reconnect us to our memories and bring out the stories.
    I remember our first Christmas in the UK as Aussie postgrads studying in Manchester. It was an interesting time to arrive with a Bruce after The Monty Python skit where the University of Woolloomooloo philosophy department all introduced themselves as Bruces. We visited friends in Oxford for that first Christmas and they wisely souled their two year old onto us for the (very) early morning enquiries “are you getting up now?” We were introduced to roasted chestnuts. And the strange English passion for Brussel sprouts. Then at the local Anglican Church the vicar prayed for the people of Port Darwin after the cyclone. We know it as Darwin so I thought he’d made a mistake and meant Port Moresby. But no. And that was the first we heard of that disaster. Walking off Christmas dinner and splashing through puddles did become a bit of a theme. Sunny barbecues and seafood notwithstanding, Christmas definitely fits better in the northern hemisphere winter than the southern hemisphere summer

    ReplyDelete
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    ReplyDelete
  62. I'm sure I've recounted this a previous year you asked, but it bears sharing again. Christmas 1970, the one & only time we all went to my maternal grandparents. (How they fitted us all in overnight, that Christmas Eve, I'll never know). A while after my cousins & I had been packed off to bed, my granddad persuaded my dad & my uncles to go into the loft with him & stomp about above the room we were all in, pretending to be Santa & his reindeer. And it snowed the following afternoon. Just a light dusting on the front lawn, but even so it seemed right.

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