Twas the night before Christmas
Yes folks it is Christmas Eve, always a magical time for me and my sister when we were children, our parents always managed to give us a really good Christmas even though they didn't have much money, we always decorated the tree ( a real one) on Christmas Eve, we didn't have Christmas lights but little candles in holders that were lit, health and safety wouldn't allow it now, there were chocolates to hang on the tree too, I couldn't wait to eat them, the old fashioned decorations were put up, draped all over the ceiling and around the sides until you couldn't see any ceiling, then we put up balloons, these would very often go bang at a later time, frightening the life out of us all.
Christmas morning I was always unable to sleep passed 6am (I am still like that now as a pensioner) Mum would say we had to have breakfast but we were too excited to think about breakfast when there were so many gifts to unwrap! so she would give in and allow us into the front room ( the best room ) we always had a stocking and yes it is true that we had things like an orange in there, they weren't as plentiful as they are now and it was always lovely to receive one, there were sugar mice too and sugared almonds, Mum would say don't scrunch them but suck them, well I didn't have the inclination or patience to do that and would scrunch them with gusto, probably why I have so many fillings now. :)
There were lots of other goodies such as snakes and ladders games and a Mr potato head, now this was a box of stuff like ears, lips, eyes eyebrows and noses, you then had to acquire a potato from the pantry to stick them all on and make Mr Potato - we had things like a pretend diamond necklace and pretend earrings and a pretend lipstick - oh yes and a piece of coal for good luck. of course there was always a big present which was anything from a doll with a set of clothes that Mum had sat up all night to finish knitting to a brand new Raleigh bike that I had when I was 10, at least I think it was new! which I remember insisting on riding to my Gran's in the snow and came off grazing my knees.
We were not really allowed to eat any of our sweets but we did of course until after dinner which Dad always cooked, he was the cook in our house (it was his hobby) and he was very good at it, there was always a cake of some sort, maybe why I am the size I am now :)
Speaking of the Christmas dinner, it was a spectacular event with our Uncle and Auntie and cousins joining us round the table, my Uncle was a farmer and always gave us a turkey of about 30lbs, sometimes Dad would have to cut it up to get it in the oven, there would always be all the trimmings with veg from the garden and cranberry sauce and Sage & onion stuffing (home made of course), we loved our food and never questioned what was on our plates, we wouldn't have dared. we were always ready for seconds. then we would force down the Homemade Christmas Pudding ever hopeful to find the lucky silver sixpence or three-penny bit, then we settled down to playing games, I remember once I got a compendium of card tricks and Dad was so good at card tricks and we would gather round the piano with Dad playing and all of us singing Carols (this was before television). And of course there was always snow, we were in the middle of nowhere so when it snowed we usually got snowed in but we didn't care it was an adventure. Most of all we were happy and contented and have memories that will stay with us forever.