Christmas stories

I suppose every family has Christmas stories which get repeated as we approach the big day, we certainly do! The time Dad didn’t get a Christmas tree in time and they were all sold so we decorated the rubber plant; the time a cat broke into the shed where dad had hung the turkeys but only attacked the one due to go to my aunty; the time I was making mincemeat, Christmas puddings and cake but couldn’t remember which bowl of mixed fruit soaking in spirits was for which recipe; the time my husband and friend were trying to assemble a pink bicycle for a small girl, way past midnight and having been to the pub; the times we had eleven of us plus children squashed round the dining table with extensions on both ends; walking the children round the village on Christmas Eve collecting ‘hay’ for the reindeer and trying to tire them out before bedtime…

Then there are the stories from my parents’ Christmases before my sister and I arrived – the night known as ‘the rum Christmas’ when dad cycled round visiting old friends and relations before cycling across town to visit Mum – he’d been given a large tot of rum at his first call and decided to keep on it at each further visit so by the time he eventually cycled home he had to stop in the village of Trumpington to ‘rest’ on the steps of the war memorial, and was woken at dawn by a passing policeman – he never fancied rum after that adventure. Then there was the time when he was again visiting Mum, might it have been the same Christmas? – and he and his future father-in-law and two future brothers-in-law went on what ended up as something of a pub crawl and on the way home realised they had no Christmas tree… They tried to cut down a fir tree but only arrived home with a few mangled branches… goodness knows what grandma said! When he and mum were married and had us two children and we lived in the flat, like many families, the turkey (or maybe it was a large chicken) was taken to the baker’s along with many other Christmas fowl… the funny thing was when the dads went to collect the cooked birds, having visited the pub while waiting, and couldn’t remember which chicken, turkey or goose belonged to them!

I wonder what Christmas stories our children will have!

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