What are your memories of Christmases past? I've been pondering this over these last few weeks leading up to Christmas. I was completely spoiled as a child. No meagre stockings for me--I had a pillowcase stuffed with toys, selection boxes and books plus bigger toys like dolls, doll houses and cars under the tree. It took me ages to open my pressies. It still does; I savour unwrapping gifts, love the suspense. But it wasn't always like that. For some reason I used to snoop every Christmas from when I was around 8 or so and knew the truth about Santa. I knew all the hiding places and when Mam and Dad and Nanna were all out, I'd race to the hiding spots and check out what had been bought. I didn't open everything, for some reason that would have seemed wrong. I just checked stuff out through the bags I found it in. I had a knack of remembering exactly how everything had been placed so no one knew that I did this although I think at one point suspicions were aroused for some reason. I remember talks about surprises but couldn't seem to help myself. I always acted surprised and was always grateful on Christmas Day. And there were always last minute surprises or things I hadn't discovered but for the most part for at least a few years I knew most of the main pressies I was getting.
One year when I was 13, I peeked and found an LP. Without opening the plastic bag completely, I stretched it out so I could see the album. It was hard to see because of the record store's logo across the bag. But it looked like a photo of Cilla Black. Cilla Black! Cilla Black? No, that couldn't be right. She was bubbly and I did like her songs but they were old. Mam and Dad liked her music. And i don't think she'd had any big hits for 10 years! I looked every which way through the bag. No definitely Cilla Black. Why? I put the bag back and began to practice being surprised and grateful.
Christmas morning came with wrapped presents spilling from my pillowcase on the couch and tucked under the tree. LPs were hard to disguise and there was Cilla Black's LP poking out of my pillowcase. I steeled myself and pasted a smile on my face.
"You can probably guess what that is," Mam said.
I smiled knowingly as I carefully unwrapped the record. I began to say thank you then did a double take. Alvin Stardust smiled up at me. Alvin Stardust! Not Cilla Black! Sexy, cool Alvin Stardust with his songs that I couldn't get enough of!
"Oh wow! Thank you! Wow! Oh this is super!" I couldn't stop grinning.
"That is the right one, isn't it? The one you asked for?" Mam and Dad seemed a bit puzzled by my exuberance.
"Yes! But I didn't think...I didn't think you could find it. You said."
"We went all over and found the last one." Mam and Dad shared a glance that said they'd totally nailed it as parents.
To this day, I can still feel the utter surprise and absolute delight of that Christmas morning. I never snooped any more after that and felt disappointed if I found out what my gifts were by accident. And to this day I do everything I can NOT to find out what my pressies are. I don't read the customs labels from overseas gifts. I keep all my pressies wrapped until the day itself...Christmas Day or my birthday. Sometimes people have said I could open pressies early but I refuse and always keep them wrapped. I don't like to give out ideas for pressies. I don't like making lists for people. But I absolutely LOVE surprises.
Wishing you a Christmas full of unexpected delights that warm your heart.
Welcome! I'm Sue Blott: a writer of all things, a poet at heart, mom, wife, daughter, step-mom, grandma, tea drinker, tai chi-er, mystic, artist, dreamer...and now a blogger! This is my world.