Christmas; a time for giving. If public transport yesterday is anything to go by, there’s going to be a lot of giving, so many people are doing their last minute Christmas shopping. I, of course, can sit here quite smugly because I finished all mine a few weeks ago, but then I stated in June. I don’t normally start quite that early, but I saw something that I thought someone I was going to buy for would like, so I bought it. I don’t do well in crowds at any time, so I always start early.

I’ll be spending Christmas with my family, as usual, which is always lovely, although we’ll be having Christmas dinner at my brother’s home this year, for the first time in several years. We’ve gone out to a local hotel for the past few years, which was great, but it’s safe to be at home this year, now that Bro and his wife have bought a dishwasher.

My memories of Christmas when I was a child are a house full of people coming round on Christmas morning, having a drink and eating the sausage rolls and mince pies that my mum used to make. I was allowed port and lemonade, although I think the port was only there for colouring. Later on, I progressed to snowballs, with a cherry on the top.


There were always bowls full of nuts in their shells, and dried figs and dried dates. There was always a lot of food in the house – a full English breakfast was a common start to the day, and Christmas dinner… I know we had turkey when I was an older child, but I’m not sure that’s what we had when I was very young. That said, I don’t remember what we did have, but I do remember there were always boiled potatoes as well as roasties. We always had the traditional Christmas crackers with Christmas dinner too. And we had to sit there wearing the paper hats that were inside.

The dessert. Well, this was always home-made Christmas pudding, complete with sixpenny pieces in it, a couple of mince pies and custard or cream. Or both. And if that wasn’t enough food for one day, we always had turkey sandwiches for tea. My Dad did take us out for a walk after we’d had lunch, and because we lived in the country, we could do a few miles around the country lanes.


Boxing Day always involved a boiled ham, and bubble and squeak. I love bubble and squeak, the proper stuff made from leftovers, not the frozen, pre-prepared stuff. Boiled potatoes and pickles finished off the dish. I think the only thing that surprises me with all that food is that we were not all obese.

We always had Christmas stockings too, when we were children, full of small presents; the big presents went under the tree. The tree was always real and tall, and I think my Dad used to stand it in a bucket of sand. We kids were allowed to help decorate the tree, and help put the rest of the Christmas decorations up. We went for it big style with decorations back then.


Life was good, but time passes by and we lose people we love, but that’s just life. I started this post by saying that Christmas is a time for giving, and I’m going to end with a little advert.

My dear friend Geoff contracted a rare form of leukaemia some years ago. I wrote about it here:

Geoff has two granddaughters, Izzie and Hari. They are the apple of Geoff’s eye and Hari is running the Rome Marathon in March, to raise money for leukaemia and lymphoma research. I’ll update you about this in due course, but if anyone does want to donate, please click on the link below.

Meantime, wishing you all a very, very happy and peaceful Christmas.


© Susan Shirley 2014

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