Christmas is coming…

Recently I was looking through a huge box of my old photo’s in order to pick a few out for a scrapbook page I was working on.  I was surprised to find how many photo’s I actually have.

Photography has always been a hobby of mine ever since my late teen years when I first owned a disc camera. It’s amazing how many different categories of photo’s one can take and use as a keepsake for looking back on.  My family photo’s have always played the most important part in my life which helps to preserve the good memories of times spent with them, and years later you can look back on them and see the changes that have taken place in their and your lives.

With Christmas only a month away…….my thoughts this week wandered back to my younger days and how our large family of Aunts, Uncles and Cousins used to celebrate every year on Christmas night and Boxing night, and I spent time looking back at some of these old photo’s and remembering those occasions.

It was a great family tradition for us all to go over to my Aunty Edie and Uncle Lens house  every year on Christmas night. I think this was far more exciting for us children when we were growing up than receiving our presents. It was an important part of a family life that embraced traditions, we all used to sit around a big table and have a traditional Christmas tea, then the record player would go on and the music would start along with us all having a dance. My younger cousins Jo and Michele would bring over a couple of their new games as would my brother and I would. Throughout the evening we would play party games, two of my aunts would dress up and fool around, the adults would have a few drinks, there would be nuts, fruit, chocolate and sweets and  there would be soft drinks  available for us kids. My Uncle Bill would leave the house on the pretense that he was going to visit an old neighbour, then about 15 mins later Santa would turn up and dish out a load of little presents to everyone. To begin with we were too young to realise it was Uncle Bill dressing up as Santa….one year though his socks gave him away!!  As the evening went on a few games of cards around the table with my uncles. Much later on in the evening the turkey would come out and we would have turkey sandwiches with pickles and crisps. It was a great family tradition and ensured that we all spent some special and memorable time together. It was great that some of these special occasions were preserved on film as well as in my memory.

For  a few years the decision was we would all then go home around 2/3am on Boxing morning, and meet up again Boxing night at one of our other houses….each year we would take it in turns to host the party. As we got older this changed a little, and instead of going home in the early hours of Boxing morning we would sleep over at my Aunty Edie’s and Uncle Len’s house have breakfast there in the morning…..bacon and eggs, not turkey! We would all then go our separate ways and meet up again the following night at one of the houses, having had a break in between.

Our family did this for many years, until my Aunty Edie suffered heart problems and it became too much for her, so for a few years we changed the venue to my Cousins house for a  Christmas night only get together. We all enjoyed this special time spent together as a close family, everything was done to make Christmas night so special and enjoyable, and nothing was too much trouble for us kids as we were growing up.

Christmas day is now however one of the saddest days on the calendar for all our family. In was on Christmas morning in 1990 that my Aunty Edie passed away at home after a long illness. To me it has always been strange but significant that it had to be on that particular day that my Aunt passed away, it was the one day of the year that she did everything possible to make us children so happy and everything she did was never  too much trouble. She did it all out of love for us all.  As did my Uncle Len, who sadly passed away three years ago. I have so many good memories of Christmas  times that we all spent together as one big family. Since Christmas 1989, the family parties don’t happen, but we all enjoy as best as we can spending that special day together with our own individual family units. And we all hold so many wonderful memories of those days not only in our minds, but in our hearts.

Christmas day this year I will be going to my brother and sister in laws house and spending the day with them, my nephews and my Dad. But I will lift a glass and remember once again my dear Aunty Edie and Uncle Len, as well as all our other members of the family who are no longer with us…..who helped make Christmas such a special time when I was growing up.

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