Christmas time, of course, was always a magical time for us when I was young. We would always have a real Christmas tree with lights, decorations and lots of tinsel. Christmas was always cold, sometimes snowy in England, so I remember the glow of the fire, the smell of the tree, paper chains hanging from the ceiling, and all of those wonderful cooking smells that you only get at Christmas time. And of course there was that wonderful feeling of excitement and anticipation that only kids can feel when they believe in the magic of Christmas. Mum and dad would place a pillowcase on the end of each of our beds when we went to bed, so that Father Christmas would have something to put all of our presents in when he visited. We would always wake up really early, while it was still dark, and we would feel at the bottom of our beds to see if Father Christmas had been. If those pillowcases were full there would be no more sleep for anybody that night. We would open our Christmas presents in bed while mum and dad tried to get a bit more rest before facing the day, but I'm sure they didn't get any more sleep. Most of our presents back then would be dolls, books, board games, colouring books, colouring pencils, oranges, chocolate money, and sweets. I devoured books when I was a kid, so if I got books for Christmas I was in heaven.We would play with our new toys while mum got Christmas lunch ready. It would usually be a chicken, ham, roast potatoes, hot vegetables and gravy. We would then have Christmas pudding, the black sort, which I just adored. Sometimes the Christmas pudding would have some silver sixpences in it. We would have Christmas crackers and wear those silly paper hats that came out of them. Sometimes my aunty and cousins would come over in the afternoon, or maybe my nanna and grandad would come round, other times dads mates and their families would come for tea. Most of the time though, as far as I can remember, we had most Christmases on our own. Whether that is right or not I don't know. Christmas was really special to us kids because this would be the time we would have dates, figs, nuts, sausage rolls and mince pies to eat. This was very much Christmas fare, except for the sausage rolls, but even they were a real treat. Both Christmas day and Boxing day were spent relaxing, playing, eating delicious food and spending time together.
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