Tuesday, December 14, 2010

My childhood Christmas

I have fond memories of growing up at Glenbrook on the NSW Blue Mountains between 1960 and 1972. Especially my Christmas memories. When we arrived at Glenbrook at the end of 1960, I had just turned 7 years of age. That first Christmas was memorable because being new in town, not knowing many people and not being flush with funds, the local Anglican church folk took it upon themselves to bring Mum and Dad a Christmas hamper that year. I remember it well as there were 2 ladies that knocked on the door and presented Mum with this large box full of food and good wishes. There was even a gift each for me and my brother. Mum was so happy that after the ladies left, she cried. Times were tough for a few years and Mum always managed to make ends meet while Dad caught the train to Sydney 5 days a week and toiled away in the office of an insurance company.

Christmas at Glenbrook was always hot. Trying to sleep in a stuffy room with no fans or air conditioning was the norm. Waking at 4am to find a santa sack full of goodies at the foot of our beds was marvellous. I was so excited that I couldn't wait until the sun came up to start unwrapping my gifts so I used to try to remove the paper as quietly as I could so as not to wake Mum and Dad. Brian would sneek into my room and we would both start peeling the paper away. Why "Santa" used to wrap things in the noisiest paper "he" could find (cellophane) was a mystery to us. Inevitably, Mum who was a light sleeper, would hear Brian and me trying unsuccessfully not to make a noise with the paper and would yell at us to go back to sleep. Of course that only lasted about 5 or 10 minutes then the excitement would overwhelm us again and we would have another go.

Christmas eve would normally see a group of singers on a flat bed truck appear on the street corner and sing carols. Dad would always buy a real pine Christmas tree a couple of weeks before Christmas and we would decorate it with home made paper chains and other decorations. I can still smell the pine now. Ahh, it was a real Christmas smell.

Christmas dinner in the 1960s was the traditional hot meal made in a sweltering kitchen by my poor mother. Later on when sanity prevailed, we got into cold meat and salad. A much more sensible choice for our climate. Brian and I were allowed to have a small beer as a treat and we loved that. It didn't do us any harm and we thought we were pretty cool.

We always had our neighbour, Mrs Malcom join us for Christmas as she had no family of her own and she was like an extra grandmother to us. That was a long time ago and today Christmas for me is completely different. It doesn't hurt to remember the old times.

Happy Christmas one and all.

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