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The simple things you remember most about Christmas

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crochetmonkey74 Thu 16-Nov-17 12:00:37

I'm not one to judge - each to their own - but the juggernaut of Christmas 'extras' now seems mad and got me to thinking about my memories of Christmas- none of which were present based.
Things I remember most are : starting to see tangerines in the grocer, all stacked up next to the shelled nuts and with those boxes of dates. The grocers looked all lit up on the walk home from school- and it would make me feel really Christmassy.
My other big one is the feeling of a heavy stocking on the bottom of the bed- it was always filled with tiny things that I can't remember- but always a chocolate Father Christmas sticking out of the top!
We had a set of Christmas tapes from Readers Digest (just found a set on Amazon for way too much but bought it anyway)
also, we used to listen to the St Winifreds School Choir 'Christmas For Everyone' record and light our very cheap cinnamon smelling candle - even now any cheap christmas candle (the ones that smell of burnt plastic cinnamon) makes me feel all Christmassy

What are your simple festive memories?

Trottersindependenttraders Thu 16-Nov-17 12:06:33

Mine are from my 80’s childhood. Paper decorations which fell from the ceiling at least twice a day, Foil stars hanging on the wall, seeing Father Christmas at the grotto in town on Thursday night when it was late night shopping, opening my advent calendar to reveal a Christmassy picture- no chocolate, my bright orange pillowcase stuffed with presents. And it being cold - none of this mild and damp nonsense we now get at Christmas.

ShowOfHands Thu 16-Nov-17 12:07:21

Just the feeling of Christmas coming.

Watching the series which was shown on a Sunday in the run up to Christmas (Narnia, The Borrowers etc).

The weight of a stocking on the bed.

Christmas adverts.

Last day of winter term.

Christmas Radio Times.

Putting up the decorations.

Nuts and clementines in the house.

ShowOfHands Thu 16-Nov-17 12:09:36

Oh yes 80s decorations. Paper honeycomb shapes which snapped closed, foil chains, cardboard figures with pull strings to make them dance, lantern lights, Chinese lanterns, a crap tree and too much tinsel.

Plus a selection box which was a plastic stocking covered in netting.

ICanDoYeah Thu 16-Nov-17 12:12:05

Making paper chains with my mum and listening to Christmas music after school the week before we broke up from school for the holidays.

My mum setting up the 'treats table' in the front room a few days before Christmas, with all the goodies we never usually had (which seem very basic now - dates, whole nuts, cheesy footballs grin, Matchsticks, After Eights, Quality Street and big bottles of fizzy drink). We weren't allowed to touch it until Christmas Eve afternoon.

Me and my sister playing with our dolls under the Christmas tree, with all the sparkly lights and the lovely smell.

Me and my sister playing underneath the dinner table after Christmas dinner, when all the adults were comatose. It was the only time we had a tablecloth to hide us and we loved scoffing the chocolates under there.

1980s Christmases were the best.

Justmuddlingalong Thu 16-Nov-17 12:13:41

Our elderly neighbour's advent candle being lit in her hall window. That always cranked up the 'won't be long until Christmas' excitement.

DownTheChimney Thu 16-Nov-17 12:13:47

The red cardboard postbox at school. The smell of Tangerines, as we called them (whenever I eat a satsuma now, the smell takes me straight back). Running up the road and waiting at the top of the hill for my Nan to arrive on Christmas Eve. So exciting fsmile

sinceyouask Thu 16-Nov-17 12:14:59

Waiting for my dad to get home on Christmas Eve afternoon so we could finally open the tin of Roses.
Christmas tree chocolates and my brother carefully unwrapping them, eating the chocolate then reshaping the wrapper and hanging it back on the tree.
My mum saying every Boxing Day that it had been the best Christmas ever.
Satsumas in purple tissue paper smile

Justmuddlingalong Thu 16-Nov-17 12:15:20

Neapolitan chocolates.

Justmuddlingalong Thu 16-Nov-17 12:18:29

I still get a wee tear in my eye when I see little ones out on Christmas morning, with their new bikes, scooters or prams. 😢 I love their looks of pride and excitement. Lovely.

ShowOfHands Thu 16-Nov-17 12:19:27

My mum sayingeveryBoxing Day that it had been the best Christmas ever

I love your Mum.

CannotEvenThink Thu 16-Nov-17 12:19:28

Tree chocolates

My sister, my dad and me getting the tree from a place in the village and carrying it home. It is a pub now sad

My aunt's Florentines (I make them now you her recipe)

Christmas eve eating ham, salad and garlic bread on the hearth rug in front of a roaring fire.

Titsywoo Thu 16-Nov-17 12:24:14

The brilliantly tacky 80's xmas decorations

Playing with my cousins on Boxing Day and the buffets lunches at relatives houses (tinned salmon rolls and vol-au-vents - yummy! grin)

Xmas dinner at the dining room table and pulling crackers

Because my Dad working as management in a posh London hotel we often spent xmas day there and my memories of that were waiting for my Dad to stop working so we could open our presents (hated that), the hotel staff kids xmas party (loved that!) and seeing Father Xmas at Selfridges (also loved that!).

Titsywoo Thu 16-Nov-17 12:26:17

worked in management

Titsywoo Thu 16-Nov-17 12:29:51

Oh I forgot!

Making the xmas cake with my mum - noone ever ate it apart from my grandparents but I loved making it!

Nuts and nutcrackers - always a basket of these out at xmas

Tidypidy Thu 16-Nov-17 12:29:56

Carol singers
Scout post
Boxes of tangerines
The smell of a real Christmas tree

Scabbersley Thu 16-Nov-17 12:30:07

This is a lovely thread. Sadly all my xmas memories are overshadowed by my mum having enough and cracking on either xmas day or boxing day and screaming at us all sad

I am making new memories with my dh and kids :-) We all love Christmas.

wendz86 Thu 16-Nov-17 12:33:26

Circling the argos catalogue for things I wanted.
I had a friend whose dad used to take us to his work family party which was a disco, games and father Christmas.
School shows.
Making Chistingles.
Highlighting what i wanted to watch in radio times.
Parents having friends over and getting to stay up late and eat nibbles.
Waking up at 3 am on christmas day and playing a beauty and the beast board game until my dad came and told us off.

Justmuddlingalong Thu 16-Nov-17 12:36:23

Christmas parties at my DDad's work, where santa always put in an appearance. Oh, the excitement! Then, when we got older, the trip to a pantomime, again through DDad's work. Going on the coach in the dark was like a big adventure.

TroubledTribble28 Thu 16-Nov-17 12:37:17

Dad being slightly drunk on mint Baileys and commandeering the gravy.

EddieHitler Thu 16-Nov-17 12:37:48

First thing that comes to mind is the smell of the Turkey cooking (after being defrosted in a bucket for days on end!) and the utter excitement of it all on Christmas eve when we'd send our letter to Santy up the coal fire. Cutting it a bit fine, looking back.

Our house was tiny so we'd pull the kitchen table into the middle of the lounge, the only day of the year we did that. Random extended family members around the table wearing paper hats. And the smell of new dolls and 'Christmas' toffees.

Nuts/nutcrackers, After Eights, Top Of the Pops, Quality Street all come to mind too.

LizzieSiddal Thu 16-Nov-17 12:38:01

Visiting my grandparents on Christmas day and looking forward to eating their Jellied Fruits, which seemed quite exotic to me fgrin

Going to the Xmas Eve church service and looking at the Nativity.

Making paperchains and hanging them up.

Watching Morecome And wise on xmas day TV.

BexleyRae Thu 16-Nov-17 12:38:12

I'm actually crying a little at these memories.
Mine are, the decorations hung from the ceiling, big shiny ones that often fell down.
Nuts in nutshell, in a box my mum covered in Xmas wrapping
Tubes of sweets in my stocking, I always hoped for jelly tots. My mum bought us these right up until she passed away 4 years ago
I'm planning on re-creating all this for DD

Justmuddlingalong Thu 16-Nov-17 12:40:15

The cellophane fortune telling goldfish you used to get in crackers.

TheWorldIsMyCakePop Thu 16-Nov-17 12:43:43

The smell of a real tree

Johnnycomelately1 Thu 16-Nov-17 12:45:10

Just the absolute excitement and magic of waking up and seeing your stocking at the end of the bed. It wasn't what was in it that was the thing, but the possibility of a world with magic in it.

The smell of the After Eights box.

Christingle. and carrying my orange really carefully. And hoping I'd be picked to put Jesus in the manger.

The grotto at Hanningtons in Brighton and going down in the elevator (it wasn't real- the pictures moved).

DrCoconut Thu 16-Nov-17 12:47:42

If you've never seen it look up "a child's Christmas in Wales" on YouTube. It's an adaptation of the famous Dylan Thomas work and it has so much of the kind of thing this thread is about. I watch it every Christmas Eve without fail. I've threatened to do a commercialism free Christmas several times and one year I will do it.

DinaCaliente Thu 16-Nov-17 12:55:22

My mum's christmas LP that she'd play every christmas morning
I remember it had "I saw 3 Ships" on it.

RedBullBlood Thu 16-Nov-17 13:14:43

When did we stop calling tangerines tangerines?
Nuts in shells, for some reason we never had a nutcracker and relied on Dad and a hammer. He always got bored with cracking long before we'd had as many nuts as we wanted.
Chocolate pennies that used to taste nice and advent calendars with just pictures. My mother never getting all the food cooked at the same time.

Smarshian Thu 16-Nov-17 13:17:01

One of my best memories of Christmas was every Christmas Eve in the afternoon while the adults were prepping food etc we put on a Christmas film and decorated plain white pillow cases with our names and whatever pictures we wanted which then acted as stockings. Will definitely be doing that with my dd when she is older.

crochetmonkey74 Thu 16-Nov-17 13:18:10

DrCoconut- I LOVE that programme, I am Welsh and grew up in the 80s so it is a carbon copy of my experience- down to the houseproud mum and even the accent is so similer to my much missed Mum's!

Also- tangerines in tissue paper- Yes! I loved those

Allhallowseve Thu 16-Nov-17 13:23:01

I have strong memories of all my family being round at ours and my nan bringing a Sherry trifle. This was the only time we had everyone over and I remember it vividly!
Christmas adverts coming on to the tele.
Selection boxes were such a treat having all that chocolate all to yourself . I think my kids are a bit spoilt and don't see it like that.
Shopping in Rackham's and seeing all the beautiful toys.

PrivateParkin Thu 16-Nov-17 13:25:00

I was so pleased when I saw this thread title OP, because I knew it would have loads of lovely things in it! I remember when my mum or dad used to drive us across town to our grandparents' in the run up to Christmas, and my sister and I would sit in the back seat of the car counting how many Christmas trees we saw. I also remember my auntie used to always do a Christmas Eve tea for us and she had an open fire, so we used to send letters up the chimney to Father Christmas. And watching The Box of Delights or the Children of Green Knowe BBC Christmas adaptations. Very happy times smile

Justmuddlingalong Thu 16-Nov-17 13:28:30

The mention of Christmas trifle reminds me that if I got the cherry from the tinned fruit used in the trifle, I always gave it to my DDad. <blub>

AvoidingDM Thu 16-Nov-17 13:31:06

Counting Christmas trees the number would naturally increase every day from Dec 1st.
Christmas parties at school & church
Playing Trivial Pursuit in teams although not being able to answer the questions.

CannotEvenThink Thu 16-Nov-17 13:38:34

Love that others sent letters up the chimney. That is how my children send theirs still. Except we moved house over the summer and the new fireplace isn't quite ready for use yet so the younger 2 are getting a bit worried that Father Christmas won't have enough time to make their presents! Should finish getting it sorted this weekend.

One of my own making rather than a childhood memory is that where I live there is no really good deli to get candied peel and I can't stand the ready chopped supermarket stuff so I make my own. In the run up to Christmas every year my kitchen starts to smell of citrus as I make it and then all the surfaces are covered in trays gently dripping syrup as the peel dries and crystallises. I love it.

BoomalakkaWee Thu 16-Nov-17 13:38:43

The one thing that really made Christmas for me was a circular container of jelly orange and lemon segments.

Fond memories too of my parents stocking up with big glass bottles of Corona. I loved Corona cherryade, nothing else tasted quite like it: it was the true flavour of Christmas.

We always received a little netty-bag of chocolate coins each in our Christmas stockings - you never even saw them on sale at any other time of year. There was never exactly the same mix of coin sizes in any two bags, but my DB and I were expected to exercise restraint and "Eat just three of the medium ones after your dinner."

"But Daa-aaa-aaad, I've only got two medium ones in my bag and he's got five in his!"

allertse Thu 16-Nov-17 13:40:08

the absolutely overwhelming feeling of excitement in bed on xmas eve knowing that father christmas was coming and feeling sure that I would never be able to sleep with excitement.

opening stockings in my parents bed

sip of my dads sherry as relatives arrive (until i was old enough for my own glass!)

always sharing a cracker with my gran and sitting next to her at christmas dinner

swapping a rubbish chocolate bar from my selection box for the crunchie from my brothers as he hated them grin

candlefloozy Thu 16-Nov-17 13:42:12

I loved going in to wake my brother up on a Christmas Eve morning.
The decorations.
The music
Playing games with everyone and arguing over who lit the Christmas pudding

missyB1 Thu 16-Nov-17 13:45:06

Midnight mass on Christmas Eve. My mums amazing Christmas dinner, pudding with custard, and of course Christmas cake at tea time!
Oh and Tins of biscuits sent from Ireland by Granny!

I love my food as you can tell grin

ShatnersBassoon Thu 16-Nov-17 13:49:24

The tin of Quality Street so big you were up to your elbow trying to get all the best ones.

Frith1975 Thu 16-Nov-17 13:51:35

Does anyone else remember the sleigh rides in large Coop stores?

You sat in a “sleigh” and the scenery panels moved (I believed the sleigh was moving until I was about 7!) Mechanised reindeers moved in front.

CuppaSarah Thu 16-Nov-17 14:03:22

Finding the one unwrapped gift in the Christmas stocking, being made to eat breakfast before presents, despite being so excited I wanted to be sick. Setting up santa traps with my sister.

Playing video games on the downstairs telly. The jovial debates over the tv guide and what to watch. The extra present dad had bought in secret and hidden away till after lunch, every year he surprised, we somehow never knew it was coming!

Trottersindependenttraders Thu 16-Nov-17 14:04:28

The large tins (actual tins) of foil wrapped Roses being opened signalled that Christmas was here. Along with those packets of dates that we used to buy in for my Nan to eat, noone else would go near them!

Ddad making everyone Snowballs, he still does this now. I was allowed a weak one.

The first time I watched Santa Claus the Movie, I thought it was magical not so much these days.

Mum listening to Carols from Kings on Christmas Eve and to the pp who mentioned the LP upthread that had "I saw 3 ships" on it, I think we had the same one too grin

Love this thread. 80's Christmastastic

GoldInTheAirOfSummer Thu 16-Nov-17 14:09:21

I feel quite teary reading these - such lovely memories. For me it is:

the smell of the (fake) Christmas tree and the box of decorations when they came out of the loft
the absolute excitement when the rotary club carol wagon and sleigh made its annual trip up our road
making paper chains with my sister to put up in our bedroom
my grandparents drinking sherry
a boxing day buffet
Christmas Day Top of the Pops
selection boxes
that feeling in your stomach in the couple of days before hand

Little things really when you look back on them. Really hope that my children remember the simple things when they are older too.

AtlanticWaves Thu 16-Nov-17 14:12:36

Decorating the tree with my mum with Christmas music blazing. Then standing back and checking the overall distribution of decorations was ok, with the occasional ajustment.

The excitement as the pile of presents round the tree grew and grew in the days running up to Christmas --> reading the label of every new present to see if it was for me (we never opened them in advance. Ever)

Sitting in the dark in the living room with the christmas tree lights on and just hugging myself with excitement that tomorrow it was Christmas.

Elizabeth Shaw mints. I live abroad now and really miss them at Chrismas sad

Getting up really early and going into my brother's room to compare stocking presents - without opening them....

Going to visit our best friends on Christmas morning whilst the dinner was cooking and discovering that once again we had a lot of the same presents! (our mums swopped tips and sometimes even went shopping together to buy us all the same stuff!)

PinkSquash Thu 16-Nov-17 14:14:10

Christingles and the shiny foil stars hanging from the ceiling.

PrivateParkin Thu 16-Nov-17 14:15:44

Santa traps grin what were they, CuppaSarah ?!
I loved the Rotary sleigh too Gold
This is an emotional thread!

crochetmonkey74 Thu 16-Nov-17 14:20:17

Sitting in the dark in the living room with the christmas tree lights on and just hugging myself with excitement that tomorrow it was Christmas.

This has made me well up - god I miss my Mum and that lovely feeling.

Add to mine: Me and my sister making our annual list of Christmas Eve and Christmas morning plans and discussing at length how cute the reindeers are in Santa Claus The Movie and how we would love a bed in the wall like Mr and Mrs Claus

onlyonaTuesday Thu 16-Nov-17 14:23:22

Sneaking downstairs to look through the glass panel door to see “if he had been”

Eating chocolate for breakfast

Dionysuss Thu 16-Nov-17 14:26:24

Looking out of the window waiting for my uncle to drop off the turkey on Christmas Eve.

Then hearing my dad get up at the crack of dawn to put it in the oven.

Northumberlandlass Thu 16-Nov-17 14:27:13

We didn't have a chimney - 1970's. So Mum (and Dad if he was there) would put newspaper squares from the back door to the Christmas Tree, then put on biggest wellies run around in the garden to make muddy Santa foot prints to the tree.

Carol singers at the door (although I do still go to sing at care homes)
Christmas Concert Parties
Matching PJ's

ineedamoreadultieradult Thu 16-Nov-17 14:32:49

The main thing I remember about my childhood Christmas is going downstairs one time on Christmas day night after being out to bed I went in the living room and my parents and Grandma (who was staying over) were rolling my brother's skateboard to each other across the floor and on it were the nibbles etc they were sharing they rolled it to each other tomtale their turn. This is the one and only time I have ever looked at my parents and thought that they could actually be fun not just grumpy and shouty. Until they saw me then they were grumpy and shouty again.

ShowOfHands Thu 16-Nov-17 14:34:43

80s Christmas.

girlywhirly Thu 16-Nov-17 14:34:53

I was a child in the 1960’s, and I remember going for a day shopping in London with my parents. It was magical to me, and we always used to go in Hamleys and Selfridges to look at the toys.

The Christmas tree at home was about 2ft tall, silver tinsel and standing on a table. Christmas cards hung from vertical strings, held on by little pegs, and we had those foil concertina decorations across the ceiling.

I loved the satsumas and dates. The sweets and selection boxes made with proper chocolate, not adulterated with palm oil, and even though it was just my parents and I, Mum made the roast chicken dinner seem more special.

Mum was good at making her money go a long way, I remember tiny hand knitted dolls clothes in my stocking that cost very little from school and church Christmas fairs. There was always an apple and an orange in the foot. Bizarrely, the stocking was a nylon one, of Mum’s!

Needadvicetoleave Thu 16-Nov-17 14:41:19

We all used to wait in the hallway to gather before we were allowed in the lounge. We'd then get dad to check that 'he'd been' (I only later realised it was to check we hadn't been burgled in the night). When we went in the lounge the tree lights would be on and our main gift would be set up ready to play with (a play kitchen one year, a barbie dream house another). It looked so magical.

Hairq Thu 16-Nov-17 14:52:26

Satsumas taste of Christmas and excitement to me because we always had them in the house from November. They never taste as good by Christmas week though / the season for them
Must be drawing to a close then.

The local shop would start stocking chocolate tree decorations.

Leaving sherry out for Father Christmas in a special fancy looking sherry glass.

Waking really early on Christmas morning and the tingly excitement of seeing a lumpy, heavy stocking on the door handle. I never let myself open it until my parents woke though - I loved the anticipation of looking at it.

All the adults falling asleep in front of the obligatory Christmas Day Disney film, log fire burning, while I curled up
By the fire and cracked nuts and ate Quality Street and Roses, throwing the wrappers into the fire.

The smell of the tinsel that had been in the loft all year.

Singing Christmas carols in assembly at school and learning the songs for the Christmas play.

My mum having the rest of the WI over to do their 10 step cake icing stuff (make the cake, feed the cake, marzipan the cake, ice the cake, decorate the cake etc) throughout November and December.

Foil garlands everywhere.

susurration Thu 16-Nov-17 14:55:27

Mum used to wear this jumper that had the christmas song about 'you better watch out, you better not cry, 'cause santa claus is coming to town.' The original tacky christmas jumper!

I would always get excited too about christmas plays at primary school and at secondary school, the christmas assembly when the headteacher would dress as a chicken and sing The Twelve Days of Christmas.

Maverick66 Thu 16-Nov-17 14:55:41

Tinsel trees.
Multi coloured lights in shape of flowers.
New clothes.
Selection stockings.
Decorations on the ceiling.

MargoLovebutter Thu 16-Nov-17 14:57:30

The monumental excitement of watching the Wizard of Oz or the Sound of Music. Sounds ridiculous but we never went to the cinema when I was growing up, so these were pretty much the only films I had ever seen until I was about 9!

Hairq Thu 16-Nov-17 14:57:56

And I wish wrappng paper was still like this - the most kitsch designs, almost as thin as tissue paper but so satisfyingly crinkly and crackly.

theluckiest Thu 16-Nov-17 14:57:59

Go on...who else made one of these?

My mum & I spent HOURS making it. 'Teas brilliant. And a bit shit. And completely flammable.

She still has it in her Christmas decs box grin

Excitedforxmas Thu 16-Nov-17 15:00:06

Sitting in bed eating chocolate for breakfast!

crochetmonkey74 Thu 16-Nov-17 15:05:35

I'd love wrapping paper like that again- my Mum would buy 20 sheets for a pound off the market from those big racks!

LizzieSiddal Thu 16-Nov-17 15:05:42

My most magical memory is seeing the real Father Christmas.

We were just about to go up to bed, on Xmas eve and Dad shouted at us all to come and look outside as he could see something flying in the sky. We all went and looked and could see bright red lights in the distance, it was most definitely the real FC and his sleigh.fgrin

PrivateParkin Thu 16-Nov-17 15:24:11

I love that wrapping paper too. At the bottom of my screen I can see an ad for an Essie nail varnish advent calendar. Eye roll. What's wrong with a few black and white pictures of robins, Nativity scenes etc?! I always get a picture advent calendar for myself even now - there s a great shop nr the natural history museum in London that we absolutely loads of them - it's a right treasure trove.

theluckiest Thu 16-Nov-17 16:13:20

Oh the weight of the pillowcase full of pressies against my feet on Christmas morning - flannelette candy-striped pillowcase of course complete with an apple, bag of chocolate coins and a satsuma (why??!)

God, I loved Christmas. The anticipation was so wonderful and so unbearable all at once. Turkeys hanging up in the butcher's shop, party games and crafts at school, going on the family booze 'big shop' in Presto's (no booze for me but a large bottle of cherryade was even more special), a bowl of nuts complete with ancient nutcracker and a large metal tin of Quality Street.

I still love Christmas and have just asked the kids - DS1 says he loves it more than the Xbox (praise indeed) and DS2 says that he wishes it could be Christmas everyday. Thankyou Wizzard...

Bloodybridget Thu 16-Nov-17 16:24:16

My father used to take us to Mass quite early on Christmas Day, it would still be dark; when we passed other people in the street we'd say Happy Christmas to each other (inner London so speaking to strangers was very unusual ). After Mass dad would always make the same joke about going for a swim in the pond on the common, the cue for us to shriek that we wanted to go home straight away to open our presents.

Notreallyarsed Thu 16-Nov-17 16:29:15

Mum and I getting the boxes of decorations down from the loft and sorting them all out. A mish mash of decorations collected over the years and the mangiest tinsel ever grin the boxes smelled of Christmas and it was really magical when I was wee.
It’s the first Christmas without her this year and I’m dreading it.

MrsHathaway Thu 16-Nov-17 16:52:17

Reading under the tree with only the twinkly multicoloured lights to illuminate the page.

Salvation Army brass band did a route much like Rotary Santa does here now.

Decorating the trifle while the adults were clearing away the Christmas dinner plates. The mouth feel of set custard, soaked sponge, chocolate buttons and jelly diamonds all at once.

mossyroundhill Thu 16-Nov-17 16:54:43

This thread is so lovely smile

Hairq Thu 16-Nov-17 17:03:44

Yessssss privateparkin picture advent calendars are the best! I was practically WEEING MYSELF every morning with the excitement of findout out what that days picture would be.

OSETmum Thu 16-Nov-17 17:15:36

Being allowed a shot glass of Advocaat with Christmas dinner (to be sipped not downed 😂) and feeling all warm and fuzzy 😂.

Having to followed Dad down the stairs to the living room for presents (why do dads have to go first?).

The smell of tinsel and Dad getting annoyed that the lights were all tangled again. This has never happened to us in my adult life, I wonder what he did to them?!

Being allowed to choose a sweet from my grandad’s ancient Santa shaped sweetie jar and his tiny electric train that went round and round.

I spent some of my childhood in Saudi Arabia so this is a weird one but Christmas things were banned and confiscated at the airport then resold on the black market in a locked room at the back of Toy Town (a massive toy shop). 😂 we went and got a scraggly fake Christmas tree. My dad tried to make it nice and my mum said it was rubbish so my dad called her spoilt as she’d had a ‘richer’ childhood than he had. That’s the only time I remember them falling out! Also, taking our presents out to play with the other children on the compound and the heat being so unbearable in December! That’s an unusual childhood memory I guess.

happinessischocolate Thu 16-Nov-17 17:17:44

Going to midnight mass it was the only time my parents set foot in a church all year and my Dad whispering to me at midnight happy Christmas

Getting home from midnight mass and being allowed to open 1 present, so I’d open the LP and then fight with my DS over who could play their record first.

Memories of Christmas with my kids will always involve them opening 1 present before bed on Xmas eve which is always new pyjamas

PrivateParkin Thu 16-Nov-17 17:19:54

Hairq yes me too grin - and I had to take turns with my sister!! I can't imagine my DC getting at all excited over a picture advent calendar!!

MrsFassy Thu 16-Nov-17 17:20:13

Having steak and chips for tea on Christmas Eve, then playing cards for pennies with the hustler that is my grandma, while both she and I kept pinching our faves out of the Quality Street tin. Top of the Pops before dinner on Christmas Day. Watching Santa Claus the Movie on Christmas Eve, snuggled up with my grandma. Playing my electronic football game with my grandad the year before he died. The foil decs and the tinsel, the special snacks we only had at Christmas. The trip to the Co-op in town to see Father Christmas and go on his "real" sleigh.

I'm pleased to say I've created a lot of similar memories with my own DC. I asked the 14 year old her fave Christmas memories, they were the walks we take on Christmas Eve to look at the lights, the day we put up the Christmas tree, the panto the local club put on every year (truly the cheesiest thing ever but never fails to have me cracking up then welling up every year) and Late night shopping with a hot choc and donuts, just the two of us.

I love Christmas and everything about it, and I'm thrilled that my DC do too. They love our traditions more than anything else and I hope they have such fond memories as I do.

LemonysSnicket Thu 16-Nov-17 17:24:24

AND WE WISH YOU A MERRY CHRISTMAAAAAAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAAAAR! Every year the same sound track and it fills me with joy.
I do remember presents but also a cold crisp country walk ( I live in C London now), bubblegum and Xmas eve Pjs

dontcallmelen Thu 16-Nov-17 17:25:49

Yy the striped flannelette pillowcase, topped with a satsuma in purple tissue paper, the sheer bone shaking excitement of Christmas Eve & knowing that Father Christmas was coming, the tacky wrapping paper & decorations no ‘themes’ in the 70’s.
Does anyone remember the hot chestnut sellers? Usually in the street market, Carol singers & the school nativity play & mass on Christmas morning & a big mad party Christmas night, my DF family all singing & dancing.

MomToWedThorFriday Thu 16-Nov-17 17:28:13

Every year, on Christmas Eve, a present would ‘fall off’ Father Christmas’ sleigh at my house. I had to go around everywhere searching for it. Once it was in the vase of twigs literally behind my head, but the first time it was on the washing line. It was a box of little chocolate shapes - white and milk - lion king shapes! I don’t think I remember any other present more than that one, I was so, so excited.
I love Christmas grin

MomToWedThorFriday Thu 16-Nov-17 17:28:59

Oh, and thinking that Father Christmas was definitey real, because I got a box of Pocahontas tissues in my stocking one year when I’d developed a cold the day before!

ShatnersBassoon Thu 16-Nov-17 17:31:36

Dontcallmelen - I loved getting a paper bag of chestnuts from the sellers with their little stoves. Great memory.

Strokethefurrywall Thu 16-Nov-17 17:33:19

I remember waking up at 5am and my sister and I excitedly opening our stockings. We used to have close family friends come up to stay with us from Somerset, so 4 excitable girls all cramped in the same room with our stockings, opening packets of hair bands and Avon nail varnish.

Then downstairs to open the million gifts under the tree (presents for 9 people add up!) whilst dad says "say cheeeese!" and taking photos on his Nikon.

My very fondest and treasured memories are off our annual family trip to the Royal Albert Hall to listen to the Bach Choir sing Christmas songs. Back in the 80's they would have all the kids come and join the choir on stage to sing. It was magic, I would love to take my kids one year. And watching Rotary santa come down our road on his sleigh and we would go out to wave at him and he'd get down from his sleigh and ask us what we wanted for Christmas. Every year we would do this, even going out to see Santa when we were in our teens.

I love Christmas so much, for me it starts when the tree goes on up on 1 December (or before because we celebrate Thanksgiving here too) and ends New Years day when the tree comes down.

Doobydoo Thu 16-Nov-17 17:50:22

Oo fab thread. Films like the wizard of oz.Mary Poppins.Sound of Music ....niw we can see them all year round. Chestnuts.Satsumas.twinkly lights and the crisp evenings and smell of fires and for some reason playdoh!

LemonysSnicket Thu 16-Nov-17 18:00:09

@dontcallmelon they still sell hot chestnuts in paper bags round Leeds city centre at xmas

ALemonyPea Thu 16-Nov-17 18:02:05

I grew up abroad, where it was summer for Christmas.

We’d get up at 6am and open our presents under the tree. Out stockings had choc coins, a satsuma and a banana in, and if we were lucky (if the shops had them in) we’d get a selection box in the shape of a stocking as well.

My dad used to bbq our fried breakfast, we’d swim all day and have a turkey dinner, even though it was 30 degrees outside.

Then we’d have a huge party with other expats.

We didn’t get many presents, it was more about the families being together and celebrating.

IJoinedJustToPostThis Thu 16-Nov-17 18:10:10

"It wasn't what was in it that was the thing, but the possibility of a world with magic in it."

Beautifully put, Johnny.

Carol Ann Duffy has written a poem "Another Night Before Christmas", which I bought in beautifully-illustrated hardback, and recommend to everyone. I cried when I read it, because I am a colossal sap over Christmas.

Frouby Thu 16-Nov-17 18:12:32

I am the oldest out of 6. When I was little I used to wake really, really early. Like 4am early and creep downstairs. My mum would always be asleep on the sofa guarding our presents in case any of the little ones woke up and came down and raided them.

I used to wake her up and I was allowed to open one present and it was always a book. I used to sit and read the book while she went back to sleep. Surrounded by 6 piles of presents she had scrimped and saved and got into debt to buy. We always had a real tree and a tin of roses open and a gas fire on low that used to make that purring noise.

We didn't have the easiest of childhoods for various, depressing reasons but I always remember those really early Christmas mornings eating roses and reading some Enid Blyton or pony book by the light of the tree lights with my mam asleep.

She still loves Christmas now and makes my youngest sister sleep at hers Christmas eve so she can watch kids open presents first thing Christmas morning.

Olivetappas Thu 16-Nov-17 18:12:58

All the family playing cards for pennies lol

whatkatydidnext1 Thu 16-Nov-17 18:15:53

Omg I have a lump in my throat reading these. We had the same advent calendar every year. It was really pretty and covered in glitter. No chocolate inside. And us three kids used to take it in turns to open a window. Our tree was very understated and the tinsel was bald but we loved it. Watching Christmas top of the pops. We had another Christmas Day at my gm on Boxing Day. She did a lovely tree. She used to do stuffed dates with marzipan and a walnut on top, and tree presents. And bless that woman’s heart, we were three boisterous kids but she always got out her best china which was very expensive ( I inherited it ) so that we felt special. Her last Christmas there was no decorations. We didn’t know she was dying but it was obvious something was wrong. I left her house in tears and brought a small tree for her. A good 50% of my decorations were hers and I absolutely treasure them. I’m very lucky I have some lovely memories.

IJoinedJustToPostThis Thu 16-Nov-17 18:16:54

Back on topic: the excitement the first year we were allowed a chocolate advent calendar (I must've x been 11), the disappointment of realising it had to be shared with my siblings, the school Christmas Fayre (must've been dull for DM, brilliant for me), the red/green/blue splash of light from the tree, reflecting on the ceiling when the rest of the room was dark, chocolate for breakfast, pretending to still believe in Santa, not sure if that was more for my parents or me, pretending to be asleep when they put the stocking on the end of my bed, streamers in the living room, hoping it would snow, being allowed to watch the first half of a non-educational film in school, tinsel as an itchy hair bobble.

Ginorchoc Thu 16-Nov-17 18:19:51

The one day a year I could guarantee I’d get some food.

rainbowjoy Thu 16-Nov-17 18:34:46

Some of these have already been mentioned but being allowed on Christmas Eve to put the treats out on our nest of tables. Nuts, after eights, orange and lemon slices. My sister and I would argue over who got to eat the centre jelly. Choosing our corona soft drinks that the milk man delivered. Only time of the year we were allowed cherry aid, lime aid, orange aid. It was always kept in our shed and one year it was so cold all the glass bottles froze and broke.

theluckiest Thu 16-Nov-17 18:40:42

This is a wonderful thread - definitely one for Classics.

Thought of another thing - I knew it must be Christmas when the Radio Times Christmas issue was out. We would spend a good hour going through it with a fine tooth comb and circling what we wanted to watch. The big Christmas film after the Queen's speech was a must.

notthegumdropbuttons Thu 16-Nov-17 18:48:18

Oh this is lovely, I plan to come back but for now it was the sound of the crinkling wrapping paper at the bottom of my bed and my late dGm commenting on how moist the turkey was multiple times during dinner. I couldn’t look at my df because we’d both laugh. Ah to hear about moist turkey again sad

Sassandballs Thu 16-Nov-17 18:50:14

What a really lovely thread, thanks OP.

I do have happy tears reading these too. My DM & DF always made our Christmas's magical, memories to cherish.

I was born in the 70's, my memories are a skinny silver tinsel christmas tree which multicoloured lights & these baubles, which cut you when they smashed (when the cotton wasn't tied properly). Those foil concertina decorations on the ceilings with balloons.

Our house always had a lovely christmas smell too.

Our stockings were my dads sports socks & always had a walnut & a tangerine at the bottom without fail every year.

Myself & my DB always got branded pop, actual pepsi & coca cola instead of the usual pop man drinks.

We always brought the dining table into the lounge to have christmas dinner too, still no idea why!

I absolutely love Christmas.

mumonashoestring Thu 16-Nov-17 18:58:16

The smell of tinsel grin And the trip to get the Christmas tree, and unpacking the box of decorations with the orange silk baubles with silver thread that looked like (70s) festive little oranges. The smell of cigar smoke on Christmas day, Dad getting up early to light the sitting room fire so the house wasn't frigid, the blu tack holding up the foil lanterns slowly melting during the day and dropping decorations on peoples heads. Taking the dog for a freezing cold long walk on Boxing day and going home to soup.

clippityclop Thu 16-Nov-17 19:00:35

I love this thread! Singing Away in a Manger at primary school, making paperchains, going to school with glittery hands from opening my advent calendar with tiny pictures, helping my nana make Christmas cake, being given 50p to go shopping on my own (big thing!) per person to buy a present for the Christmas dinner table, crackers with curly fish inside, watching Morcombe and Wise and eating Quality Street. I'd forgotten about Neopolitan chocolates, gorgeous things...

73kittycat73 Thu 16-Nov-17 20:16:49

Thank you *ShowOfHands) you've just brought back some memories for me:
*Oh yes 80s decorations. Paper honeycomb shapes which snapped closed, foil chains, cardboard figures with pull strings to make them dance, lantern lights, Chinese lanterns, a crap tree and too much tinsel.

Plus a selection box which was a plastic stocking covered in netting.*

However, you can never have to much tinsel! ;) :D

73kittycat73 Thu 16-Nov-17 20:17:31

Bastard bloody bold fail. angry

oobedobe Thu 16-Nov-17 20:30:23

Ddad going out to buy the biggest tree he could find a few days before Christmas.

Decorating the tree with Mum then watching TV with just the glow of coloured fairy lights on.

Getting a box of thortons toffee from my Granny.

Choosing a pillowcase to leave out on Christmas Eve and waking up to that heavy feeling of it full of presents at the end of your bed.

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