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When I was a little girl – for as far back as I can remember – every Christmas Eve my family would spend the evening at my Grandpa’s place—uncles, aunties, cousins—all there to wish one another a merry Christmas and to exchange gifts. My Aunty Louise and Uncle Greg would bring their large stash of presents in their plastic laundry basket which I always thought was terribly clever… funny the things you remember as a kid! My Grandpa passed away this year so more than ever I am thinking of him and remembering those special times…
Those summer nights were invariably balmy. Us kids would run around on the oval across the road until we were exhausted and then when it was dark, come inside to watch corny Christmas specials on tv, all the while eyeing off the stack of gifts, carefully separated into piles for each family to take home.
On the way home I would wind down the car window a little (by hand!) and let the warm night air spill over my face while I craned to watch the sky for the entire trip home (no seatbelts back then!)—trying not to blink incase I missed a glimpse of Father Christmas. I never did see him but that memory – the inky-blue sky with an infinity of stars, the very late hour (well past midnight), the still streets with so little traffic, the twinkling Christmas tree lights in front windows – was just as magical and fills me with such happiness when remembering it.
With a large extended family we were always guaranteed of many presents but looking back, they weren’t grand or expensive, they were modest but thoughtful and to a child they meant the world. We also received one gift from Father Christmas and a Christmas stocking filled with fun little gadgets and keepsakes. ‘He‘ sewed the stockings himself out of red tulle and they were always brimming with interesting bits and pieces that kept us busy throughout the day.
Oh how my brother, sister and I loved Christmas morning. It was such a thrill to see all the presents artfully arranged around the tree – a pile for each of us – all different shapes and sizes, resplendent in a multitude of different wrappings. Sometimes we got the thing we were hoping for, other times we didn’t, but it didn’t matter. It was one day a year, a day we had waited for all year. It was magical and special and something I so hope every child enjoys.
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Co-Founder of Fête Press