Sian, a long-standing online friend, ran a series called Storytelling Sundays in which she invited fellow bloggers to gather round and tell stories one Sunday a month. I loved it. It all started in 2010 with her Christmas Club, where she invited us to tell Christmas stories on December Sundays. Sian hasn’t been hosting either link-up since the end of 2013 and I’m so pleased that she’s resurrected her Christmas Club. As soon as I saw her announce it, I knew I’d definitely be joining in.
Her prompt, this time, is to begin with the words, ‘At Christmas we….’.
At Christmas we always used to batten down the hatches after my Dad had arrived home from work on Christmas Eve. He’d arrive around 3 (a special treat for all of us, him leaving work early) and he’d declare, as he stepped through the door, “Christmas is here!”. There’d have been a palpable sense of anticipation from us three children from about lunchtime onwards as we waited for him to arrive and waited for Christmas to be declared officially begun. We’d run to the door when we heard the car pull up and literally almost rugby tackle him to the floor, so unable to contain our excitement we were. We’d pop on a Christmas film and Mum and Dad would crack out a merry drink and we’d just relax, all together, as a family. It was a wonderful – a special – time. We’d play a board game or just sit and tell stories…simple stuff with the people we love…life doesn’t get much better than that, does it?
A few days before this, we’d always nip over to both sets of grandparents, to collect their Christmas presents. This was very exciting, despite it always following the same patterns (or, actually, because it followed the same patterns?). We’d go to my Dad’s parents first and, afterwards, in the car on the way up to my Gran and Grandad’s (my Mums parents), all three of us would goggle over the presents spilling out of the bags, laughing (with affection) at the way my Grandma would wrap the presents. She was not a great Christmas present wrapper, bless her. There’d be some presents with not enough wrap (offering a delicious sneak peek of clues to its contents!), some with way too much paper and all of them with clear sellotape wound round and round them many, many times (much to our frustration, as they’d be really hard to open!). Then we’d arrive to my Gran and Grandad’s and be welcomed with Christmas fare and sherry, and a warm warm fire, to stories from my Grandad and chuckles all round as we listened to him and soaked it all in. Then we’d be off, a great big black sack full of presents added to the ones already tempting us from the boot of the car. On the way home, we’d tease each other about what we’d find…for they were always practical, very practical, gifts from Gran and Grandad. Unfailingly, there’d be a torch for each of us, and a pair of slippers and a selection box (yum!) and a diary and a new pen…..I’d love unwrapping these gifts as I knew they’d been selected with such love, such practicality as to what we actually needed and what would be useful for us.
At Christmas we would share the best of times.