When I think about
Christmas I start to remember all my past Christmases. I can recall that how as a little child I loved the thrill of Christmas Eve more than the big day itself, the excitement and anticipation, hanging up my pillow case with my giggling sister before we went to bed, she had one side of the fireplace and I had the other. Leaving the glass of sherry and mince pie for Santa and finding it had been drunk and the crumbs left on the plate next morning!

The smell of baking, mother had been hard at it all day preparing cooking and baking lots of goodies but in particular her mince pies warm from the oven and the first taste each year, which was wonderful.

Christmas songs on the radio, making paper chains to hang up, the Christmas tree, an artificial one which was brought out every year with its flimsy glass baubles and the fairy perched on the top.

Sitting on my Dad's knee whilst he told us all about Santa Claus and how we would find toys in our pillowcases when we got up the next morning, but we had to go straight to sleep or Santa might not come!

Christmas morning arriving, jumping out of bed and running downstairs to see what he had brought, mum cooking our dinner where every year Dad declared it was the best meal he had ever had!

All these things were absolute magic and although we were an ordinary working class family and not very well off, we as children were certainly never aware of it.

As I grew older I began to learn the true meaning of
Christmas, the age-old story of the birth of Jesus was always wonderful and mystical to me. The school concerts, nativity plays, carol services, all of them played a special part in my life.

Sadly I also learned about others less fortunate than myself, orphans, starving and homeless people, old people left all on their own at this special time and I came to realize that
Christmas means so many different things to different people and that not everyone was well, happy and joyful at this time.

The first year after I was married and when for the first time ever I cooked
Christmas dinner for all the family, always stands out as a very funny memory. Not funny at the time because it was rather a disaster, but it made everyone laugh, we all had fun and were simply just happy to be with one another so it didn't seem to matter. It took a while to live this down I might add.

Of course when our children arrived
Christmas became very special again as I did everything for them the same as my parents had done for me, with so many traditions and ways of doing things passed down from mother to daughter.
I can remember my children's faces when they saw the
Christmas tree lit up for the first time each Christmas, the school plays where my heart was in my mouth as they said their pieces and sang their songs. Feeling so grateful that I had such a lovely family yet very sorry and sad for those that had not. I have so many wonderful memories of these times.

Then came the sad years when my husband developed Alzheimer's and
Christmas held no meaning for me, it was just another time to be endured and managed as best as I could, no celebrations really. It affected all my family of course and they all tried to make Christmas special but my heart was not in it and this went on for many years.

Suddenly I was alone, my husband had gone, my children were married and living away but one by one the grandchildren arrived and the magic started all over again. I was a granny at
Christmas and it was delightful.


Now I am blessed again with my Sam, we are both so happy and contented and grateful that we met one another and started a new phase in our lives.

So what does
Christmas mean to me?
means a time when all my family can be together
means remembering loved ones that are no longer with us,
means thinking about all the old, homeless, ill and unfortunate people and wishing that more could be done for them.
means greeting old friends dropping in to say Merry Christmas.
means celebrating Jesus's Birthday and doing it in our own special way.
means a great feeling of joy that I am still alive and enjoying this time with a wonderful partner, of being loved and loving in return.
means and it is most definitely to me indeed 'The Wonder of Christmas.'


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