My sister Lindy and I have never relinquished the child-like exhilaration of Christmas morning. Admittedly the hysterics we contrived as children to the lead-up to Christmas have waned over the years and the memories of them are now more than a bit hazy, but we still recall the signal initiation to Christmas morning: “It’s Christmas!”
Even though it has been a very long time since my sister and I lived under the same roof we both vividly recall the routine of Christmas morning which we enacted when we were less than ten years of age. After we were put to bed on Christmas Eve, try as we might to remain awake long enough to hear Santa’s reindeer on the roof we eventually fell asleep and thus missed the opportunity yet another year. Usually no later than four o’clock in the morning either of us awoke and crept into the room of the other to whisper the inspirational words “It’s Christmas!” The gears of activity were in an instant set in motion. Clad in our fleece pyjamas and fluffy slippers we crept down the wooden staircase with anticipation to the living room where in the dark we could barely perceive that indeed Santa had come and gone! The first ceremonial act was to plug in the Christmas tree lights which illuminated the room in sparkling colours and showed to advantage the gift-wrapped packages and toys strewn about the base of the tree. Our parents had the courtesy to leave us alone long enough to condition ourselves to Santa’s bounty, time to scrutinize and play with the toys and contraptions which had been so carefully chosen for our entertainment and distraction. Lindy and I in an unusual act of condescension were polite enough to share with one another our newly acquired intelligence about our respective gifts. I can never recall being disappointed with anything which had been given me though I recollect in particular a wind-up German sports car which diverted me for hours, speeding it around the kitchen floor.
Afterwards our mother initiated her own especial breakfast, a ritual which in later years included Champagne and freshly squeezed orange juice, filet mignon, rich scrambled eggs, buttered croissants and home-made strawberry jam all served in the formal dining room on the finest porcelain with sterling silver flatware, lace linen and crystal stemware. This episode was skilfully managed to interrupt the opening of gifts, calculated to protract the delight to which we subsequently returned with renewed vitality.
A Child's Christmas in Wales: