Christmas is on its way (on no it isn’t, oh yes it is – and, of course, panto season is upon us too!) So, at Happydesigner HQ, we’ve been turning our attention to Christmases past, and the traditions we remember from our childhoods.
For many children, Christmas is that magical time when Santa pops down the chimney, gobbles up the mincepie that’s been left out for him and leaves behind sacksful of gifts.
But there’s much more to Christmas than that, so we’ve been asking our friends what they remember of childhood Christmases.
Here’s what our Studio Manager and Chief Tea-Maker Barry said:
“Things I remember are placing a long sock at the end of my bed and waking up early to find it full of little things, such as an orange, an apple, a small bar of chocolate, maybe a few other sweets and a couple of small presents which I eagerly opened. Then, when my sisters had all woken up and opened theirs, we waited for the ‘okay’ to go downstairs to see if Santa had left anything else.
“Being the oldest child, annoyingly, I was always the last to open my presents, but as frustrating as it was, it was quite exciting to see my sisters empty their overspilling pillowcases and, one by one, tear the paper off each of the brightly coloured gifts. I remember one year when I was about seven or eight, one of my gifts was a toy drum kit which I went absolutely mad for. However, my eldest sister, who was a little unhappy with her doll’s pram for some reason, decided to put her foot right through the bass drum, which completely wrecked it within an hour of my receiving it! Damned siblings…”
One of our Happydesigner friends, Angela, said:
“We opened our presents in the morning, in our PJs after having our toast, but there was always a gift from Santa on our place setting at the dinner table.
“We always got a board game, which we all played together in the afternoon after the Queen’s Speech. We also always got a book token and loved heading to WH Smith between Christmas and New Year to spend it.”
And we loved this one from another friend, Laura:
“Father Christmas used to decorate our house when he delivered our presents! Christmas Eve: no decorations, but mince pie, brandy and a carrot left out (and stockings!) Christmas morning: a wonderland of Christmas tree, fairy lights, tinsel, baubles, twinkly streamers, garlands, jar filled with sweeties, presents. And big reindeer-teeth marks in the carrot.”
And another, Andy, said:
“Christmas for me as a kid was all about Lego. I’d creep under the tree on Christmas Eve and shake the boxes to listen for those that rattled – that was the Lego. Apart from one year, when dad pulled a prank and filled a box with random plastic stuff and wrapped it.”
And from Caroline:
“No stocking presents to be opened before 8am when everyone would get up (although by then my sister and I would have opened and resealed them all!).”
We also want to mention one more, from our friend Nicki, who said:
“I always remember the Christmas annuals. We loved getting them. Mine was usually the Blue Peter one and they were so entertaining, filled with stories, puzzles, colouring. Great fun.”
We’re thrilled at this, and also at our other friend, Angela, who recalled how much she loved going out to spend her WH Smith token on a book.
Children’s books and annuals are such an important part of Christmas. In fact, they’re an important part of life all year around. Which is why we immerse ourselves in children’s book illustration.
We’ll be shutting up shop for Christmas between December 22 and January 3, when we’ll hunker down, munch on a few mincepies and definitely read some good books.
We hope you have a wonderful Christmas, a peaceful New Year, and we’ll see you in 2023!
Written by Jo Smyth (www.wordworker.co.uk)