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so what were your childhood christmases like

(25 Posts)
pieinthesky Sat 20-Nov-10 16:20:52

first post from a newbie, been lurking for a while. Curious as to what memories everyone has of their childhood christmases, do you try and copy them for your own children??

piscesmoon Sat 20-Nov-10 17:04:54

Lots of magic and time together as a family and I have carried on more or less the same.

4plus1 Sat 20-Nov-10 17:46:02

My parents owned a large clothes shop, selling ladies, gents and childrens,so christmas was really busy time for them. I remember working there at christmas from really young. It was actually very christmassy as people would be in looking outfits for nights out or shopping for presents. It was back in the day before shopping mals were the centre of things. The town centre and shops like ours would be so busy. Come half 5 on christmas eve the door would be locked and all of us and the staff would exchange gifts and the adults have a drink. It was only then that xmas at home really got going! I have lots of memories over the years at christmas its only now with dc that I realise how hard my parents worked to make it special for us.

Bucharest Sat 20-Nov-10 17:49:34

Bloody marvellous. I am always waxing lyrical about the sheer thrill of Christmas Eve, even though looking back, my dolly clothes were hand knitted by Marjorie-up-the-street and the doll's furniture I had my best ever Christmas had been made by my Grandad in his shed. When I was really little, we and all the cousins were at my Gran's with drunk old Uncle Mac who always used to eat gorgonzola which was terribly exotic at the time. All the men would get pissed and play cards...

I would love to find that 80s Christmas thread from last year, but have a feeling it was in chat so will have disappeared. That was so nostalgic.

DioneTheDiabolist Sat 20-Nov-10 18:00:34

Wake up at 3.30am. Sit with my sisters on the landing wondering if Santa had been.
Be told to go back to bed, Santa hasn't been yet.
Wake up at 6.00am and go downstairs with sisters.
Eat chocolate and one satsuma from stocking, put the rest of the fruit in fruit bowl.
Look out the window at all the kids who got bikes/rollerskates, playing on the street in their pjs. Joined them the year I got a bike.
Get ready and go to mass, stop off at granny's on the way home for a bit of homemade christmas pud.
Go home where dad has made a fry up.
Play with toys and watch TOTP. Eat more chocolate.
Have dinner at 4.30pm.
Dad would go to work at 7.00pm and I would go to bed shortly after.

It was brilliant.

Now, I go to mass Christmas Eve.
Come home, put DS to bed.
Have my seafood feast with something sparkling to drink.
Put out DS's presents (them having nasty tags removed, batteries inserted and wrapped a few days previously).
Go to bed.
Wake up with DS, go downstairs and soak up his glow and excitement.
ExH arrives around 11.00am.
Put ham in the oven.
Have brunch at 11.30am.
ExH leaves at 2.00pm.
Go to parents for dinner at 4.30.
Get home at 7.30pm. Put DS to bed.
Lie on the sofa in my PJs drinking red wine and eating chocolates and leftover ham. Mmmmm Christmas ham.

sarah293 Sat 20-Nov-10 18:01:45

Message withdrawn

motherinferior Sat 20-Nov-10 18:04:06



Involving my parents, my sister, and an arid 'celebration' - every year my father would tell people who asked 'oh no, we are having a quiet Christmas this year. So we would be stuck with each other, in this mock-festivity, handing round presents dutifullly and saying 'thank you' and giving a kiss to whoever had given you whatever it was. I find the whole memory retch-makingly horrifying.

I rather dread Christmas, as a result. I still haven't done anything about this year's.

motherinferior Sat 20-Nov-10 18:04:39

It was the 'time together as a family' bit that was the most horrifying.

fruitful Sat 20-Nov-10 18:16:36

Similar to motherinferior's really. It took me to the age of 21 to realise that I didn't have to do this anymore.

Then I met Dh and realised that it was possible to enjoy yourself on Christmas day smile. My parents don't invite us for Christmas and we don't invite them, it's good. We're having MIL, PIL, SIL, BIL, and their children to ours this year, looking forward to it. We will NOT be sitting politely handing presents around.

maktaitai Sat 20-Nov-10 18:16:51

Christmas Day as a child was SO boring it was kind of an art form, apart from the extreme sensory overload of the presents, which was all over in an hour. My siblings were sunk in teenage gloom and parental conflict at its height, with the weird contrasts of vast amounts of eating, plus hideously long compulsory walks, plus not being allowed to watch telly (Mum used to put the Christmas tree in front of it). The apoethesis was when I was around 9 or so, when my brother persuaded us all to have a small bowl of soup at lunch and give the money we would have spent on the meal to Oxfam (note: we still had usual enormo Christmas dinner [grin)]

I aim for less extremes in each direction tbh, with the result that it is probably a bit tepid. I do try to have fewer Rules about it all though.

motherinferior Sat 20-Nov-10 18:17:58

I am loving 'so boring was a kind of art form' grin

herbietea Sat 20-Nov-10 18:23:50

Message withdrawn

Dolittlest Sat 20-Nov-10 18:30:30

My mum managed to make Christmas magical every year, including a lovely run up to Xmas. We always made heaps of homemade decorations and had all our neighbours over for drinks in the week running up to Xmas. Just simple little things, really, but she made it very cosy and Christmassy.

Christmas Day itself was stressful for quite a few years, as my parents divorced and my dad harassed my mum for years - coming round banging on the door, swearing and shouting to see us etc. We never knew if my mum would give in and let him in (which she did a few years) or not (again, a few years she stood firm - not that she ever really stopped us from seeing him, she just didn't want him drunk and abusive around us). So there were some anxious moments on the day itself.

But my best memories of my childhood are also of Christmas.

My mum and gran always peeled the sprouts, chestnuts etc on Xmas Eve, with Carols from Kings on the TV or radio, and the living room all Christmassy (we had the ultimate 70s/80s spread laid out on a table with special tablecloth in our front room - assorted nuts, Quality Street, After Eights, satsumas, cheesy footballs and dates grin).

Then, when we were 'in bed', we'd sneak down and spy on them having a sherry and wrapping our last few presents.

It was lovely.

Showaddywaddy Sat 20-Nov-10 18:34:06

Magical. We had no money and didn't really do anything but the air thrummed with excitement.

My mother would cry over Noel's Bleeding Christmas Presents and my Dad would swear at the fiddly toys that we needed help with. Mum would also moan about the dinner taking all day and nobody helping whilst simultaneously accepting no help.

And Back To The Future was always on.

But new colouring pens and maybe a new dress (made by my Mum). And chocolate mid-morning. That never happened otherwise. My Grandma always bought me a box of Toffifee and my Dad bought me a selection box. Oh God I loved it all.

bigTillyMint Sat 20-Nov-10 18:34:39

Very lonely and not a cosy family time as my dad was usually either out drinking or too drunk to be coherentsad and I was an only child and my mum wouldn't let me call round for my friends over Christmas. Crap, really.

DioneTheDiabolist Sat 20-Nov-10 18:37:07

Sorry to hear that BigTilly. I hope current christmas's are more fun.

expatinscotland Sat 20-Nov-10 18:40:02

Brilliant! Full of magic, parties and entertaining, lots of sweet things to eat and tons of toys.

LadyInPink Sat 20-Nov-10 18:54:22

Being one of 6 kids made Christmas quite crazy especially for my mum who had to cook for us all. We would have a roast dinner christmas eve and open our "carrier bags" which were giant bags filled with bits and bobs my mum had collected from January onwards (fave book series,socks,smellies, choccies and arty stuff etc) then we would watch a dvd (no TV as too many of us not to argue). In the morning we would play with our pressies from night before so as to give parents a lie in (great idea - i have nicked that one) and then we would come down for breakfast where carols would be playing on the radio, then go to church all morning. Lunch would be a full Xmas dinner again and after the clearing up we would have our "BIG" presents (dolls/trains etc) from parents and mum would invite a lonely old person from church to join us for tea and it was great fun. Presents from G'parents would be given on Boxing day when we visited them and after New year from aunts and uncles when they visited so it spread it out.

I give DC presents spread out each evening in the run up to Christmas especially from family members who we aren't supposed to still be in touch with (ex fil etc) so as not to offend present moment fil who we always see on Xmas day. My family we see Boxing day and then i have all family who want to round for Xmas buffet on the 27th as it's my Dsis b'day and so it is a mad fun time and completely for the kids. I will be putting the tree up next weekend and have already put on Xmas CD on ipod to have on from now on.

I wasn't allowed to believe in Santa as family were very churchy and so I have done it with my DC as think it a lovely tradition (also tooth fairy and Easter bunny) and love to see happy smiles when they come in with stockings and open them on our bed smile. We don't go to church and so Xmas morning is never rushed - just how i like it!


tulpe Sat 20-Nov-10 18:54:26

I like to remember them as a time when mum did her best with what she could but she didn't really seem that interested in us I think that point is more salient than the lack of money. I always, to this day, believed in the magic of christmas - that somehow a miracle would happen and she would raise a smile or sit and join in with us on some level. Sorry. Am suddenly having a bit of a moment when I type this as imagining my mum feeling quite lonely as a single parent

She always did loads of baking though and I have fond memories of great big chunks of christmas cake and the kind of fluttery light pastry that one dreams of being able to achieve with mince pies

I think because of this I go really overboard with Christmas for my kids. I have created and introduced traditions to our family from DS1's very first christmas (when he was just 6 months old). Now as the DCs get older they are beginning to say to each other "I can't wait until we do......" which is lovely to hear. I have also gotten a grip over the last 2 years and ensured that it really is about the DCs and not about being Uber Mama

nameymcnamechange Sat 20-Nov-10 18:59:19

Was always aware on some level that it was an awful lot of work for my mother. I knew from a very young age that she just didn't enjoy it.

She still tells me now - age 79 - "oh, I hate all the shopping and preparations for Christmas", even though for at least the past 10 years I have told her exactly what to buy for everyone, even bought some of the gifts for her, and had her to stay at ours for at least three days.

I don't want my children to feel guilty about the amount of stuff the grown-ups need to do to achieve a good Christmas.

Ilythia Sat 20-Nov-10 19:06:55

Tense as we all knew the littlest thing would set our father off.

One year I woke early and looked through my stocking, he found me and binned it. I was not allowed it.

Stockings opened in parents bed, then church, then long breakfast followed by openeing presents in strict order so details coudl be recorded for thank you letters.
Letters were then written and read through by my father, if they were not satisfactory back to our desks we woudl go. Letters had to be done before lunch.

Any sense of ungratefulness or spoiltness would be stamped on. But then my father was a violent narcisistic bully.

Glitterandglue Sat 20-Nov-10 19:11:01

My childhood Christmasses were lovely. I'd wake up to a stocking at the end of the bed, would go in to mom and dad to open it, then go downstairs to get breakfast [i.e. half a selection box, and a banana on mum's insistence] and hop about anxiously waiting for dad to drag himself out of bed so I could open all my big presents. Would then spend the next few hours looking at everything, making lots of mess. At about twelve we'd drive over to my cousins' house, where we'd have dinner with my aunt, uncle, their kids and my nan [and grandad when I was very young], and after dinner all the rest of the family [two more uncles, four more aunts, many more cousins] would turn up and we would have this great big production of getting presents from the cars before it just descended into chaos. We kids had so much stuff it was unbelievable. After presents it was time for Pictionary, and then generally laying about eating chocolate and playing with things [and fighting happily with each other] until it was time to go home about nine o clock.

These days it is almost exactly the same, except my nan's no longer there [last Christmas was the first time, and we drank a toast to her] and the presents have long since turned into money [every year all the 'adults' swear we won't get anything as we're all over 18 now except for the two youngest; every year we still do!]. And about seven years ago my cousin and I began the tradition of The Christmas Quiz, so we do that instead of Pictionary. It is EPIC and ridiculous and probably my favourite bit of Christmas preparations. Also we do Doctor Who these days.

I love Christmas! grin

Timbachick Sat 20-Nov-10 19:13:06

Oh, I loved Christmas. My DDad was/is a HUGE fan of Christmas and always made a huge fuss - we would put up masses of decorations, play games, watch too much tv ... oh, I loved it.

I married a man who doesn't like Christmas and manages to put a damper on it (for me) every f**king year. As we have a DS I told him, in no uncertain terms, that if he ruined it for him the way he ruined it for me I would happily rip 'them' off and feed 'them' to him with sprouts!! grin

gillybean2 Sat 20-Nov-10 19:16:41

I certainly don't copy anything much of my childhood christmas for ds. Would be totally miserable if I did!!

Lead up to Christmas - Mum put the tree up when we weren't about. We had to literally beg her to get xmas cards for us to write to our sch friends to put in the post box at school.
Christmas day - we basically went to midnight mass. Always packed so we would be squished in the side chapel or porch often. Back home we'd put one of dads enormous socks at the end of the bed when we got home. Said sock would be filled by the morning and we were allowed to open those when we woke up.
There were always loads of presents under the tree. However most weren't a surprise as mum was useless at hiding them and I'd always have found (and played) with most well before xmas.

We had to have a full fry up breakfast (am now veggie so wouldn't be doing this) and everyone had to be fully dressed before we could open any presents. Mum like to take a long bath and we'd be climbing up the walls by the time we could open anything.

Presents had to be opened one at a time and in strict order. Said presents then had to be put in an individual pile which had to be taken upstairs and put away directly after present opening was done. I recall one year that one of my presents (an adding machine) was dropped by my sister. By the time it got to the bottom it was smashed. No one said anything I just had to accept it and never got a replacement. Most of my presents seemed to be things my sister had asked for. I got a gurls world doll one time (that my sister had wanted). I had to share it (even on xmas day) and my sister plastered it in the blue eye shadow crayon it came with and it didn't come off hmm

Mum would go off to cook dinner (it was always later than she said - our oven seemed to play up every xmas). Massive turkey, veg, christmsa pud and all the usual stuff that no-one likes much but you have just because you're meant too...

Rarely had relatives over though sometimes we did have the priest over (always more fun when he came as he told interesting stories about the vegetables and stuff). I remember my gran coming one year with my uncle, she brought us all cindy dolls and he brought me a vase (but it was broken - though I was too polite to say anything on that and dad glued it back together for me).

Dad was always on duty (doctor), so if the phone rang it was possibly a patient and he usually had to go out if it did. Though to be fair most people who called the doctor on xmas day were in need of a doctor and very apologetic for disturbing him on xmas day. But he would sometimes vanish and we'd not see him again for a few hours.

We'd be starving by 2pm (we didn't get much in the way of treats in our stocking, just a satsuma usually so nothing to munch on while waiting) told it wouldn't be long.... Rarely ate before 4pm in reality, often later when oven playing up...

No tv at all allowed, and as presents had all been put away upstairs we would then go upstairs to our rooms to play with any toys we got.

My parents are now abroad at Christmas time so we can do our own thing at least. It's just me and ds and we like it that way.

Before Christmas ds writes his letter to santa, goes to various school fetes and christmas fayres and he gets so excited in the build up! He's counting the days even now.
He gets to have an advent calendar and it's usually got chocolate in it (I never had even a religeous one as a child)
We go shopping together and I look the other way while he chooses my present (it's always a diary and usually he gets it in m&s)

I put the tree up with the lights, but he always helps decorate it (though I have to move some of the decs after otherwise there's be none at the top!)
He makes presents for his grandparents and aunts. Often he decorates the gift bags and makes Christmas cards too (we're making cards tomorrow in fact)

On Christmas eve he puts out a mince pie and carrot. He also leaves his slippers outside his bedroom door (a tradition I was told about by some german friends) and he gets to choose which stockig/sack he'd like to have on his bed.
We read lots of christmas stories on christmas eve before he goes to bed.

He wakes up early, drags his stocking through and climbs into bed with me to open it. We then go back to sleep till it's a more reasonable hour!
In the morning we get up and he then remembers his slippers which are always stuffed full of chocs. Then we go and see the pile of gifts under the tree. (His parenternal grammy sends a big parcel for me and sends money for me to buy more so I am able to make it look impressive with plenty of wrapped up packaged).
He gets to choose one for each of us to open (yes Santa brings me gifts too - last year was a frying pan, a nail polish and some slippers - I wouldn't get things otherwise).

We then have breakfast and he has his special christmas plate and mug which have his name on them and i put out the best cutlery and china that we only use for Christmas. He gets a variety pack of cereal to choose what he wants from (a treat for us).
There's always a hand written note on the table from Santa saying thank you for the mince pie and how much Rudolph enjoyed his carrot.
- Didn't realise how important this was until last year when said letter wasn't on table and he was really upset! It turned up later in the lounge... grin

We then get dressed and he gets to choose which presents we open and take turns opening. I never insist these go away (though I do get a bit fed up if I'm still tripping over them by the time the tree comes down on 12th night!)

Once presents are opened he gets to play with whatever he likes while I go and do dinner. We have a veggie Christmas. I do all the trimmings and have nut roast which I like. Hhe chooses vegi sausages to have with his as that's what he likes. We have loads of crackers with our lunch (at least three each) and usually get through another box full throughout the day as he loves them so much. We always have profeterols for pudding and a chocolate yule log for later, and I always have appeltiser as a treat to drink (for me, he doesn't like fizzy stuff).

Dinner is always on time and never takes more than an hour to cook all in all. I don't want to be slaving in the kitchen and missing all the fun while I do so...

After lunch we then usually watch a film on tv. In fact we watch loads of xmas tv (we get the radio times and go through marking everything we want to see). Never watch the queen's speech though.

Afternoon is spent relaxing, eating chocs and treats and playing games or watching tv together. I often fall asleep in front of tv, (but only as I've been up half the night)
We stay up as late as we like and no washing up is done until the next day.

Leftover and/or cheese crackers for dinner and we both go to bed tired and happy.

So no, not very much from my childhood I do with ds now (thank goodness!). It's far more special and I love that at 11 he still believes (mostly) and is excited about seeing Santa at the school fete next week and already knows what he is going to ask his for.

taffetacat Sat 20-Nov-10 20:24:34

Stockings at silly o'clock, allowed to eat some of the chocolate. Troop downstairs for dippy eggs and soldiers, get dressed, listen to Xmas music, play with stocking stuff.

Off to party at parents friends at midday, parents get a bit sloshed, we hang out with other kids watching TV/eating crisps/giggling/playing with cats etc. Mum goes home half way through to "do stuff" to Christmas lunch, then comes back and has some more punch. Leave around 3pm.

Christmas lunch at home around 3.30-4pm. Then whilst parents clear away my sister and I dole out presents for each person and then have big opening session which lasts about an hour.

Watch TV/play a board game/parents fall asleep. Mostly very happy memories. Have carried on the best bits, including making sure I am well oiled for serving Christmas lunch.

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