Inspired by Fi's blogpost I thought of some favourite Christmas memories over the years...
As the youngest of five, my parents had learnt to leave an attractive present at the end of my bed to keep me amused and not walking up the whole house. Most memorable one? A doll whose eyes closed when you laid her down. Unfortunately her eyes and tongue kept falling out of place and Dad would take her away to be fixed... until one day she didn't come back. For years later I would sneak into the pantry and climb the shelves to peer at the top shelf, where she was last sighted... just in case she' materialised.
1978 - a picnic down at the park, playing swingball. The year of my last Santa photo (there to keep our friend's baby company)
1979 - when my mum came home - and my brand new nephew was 11 months old! My sister's and I had skirts of the same style (different colours) made by a friend. I got a very pretty going-out-best dress and a Barbie.
1982 (or 83) - keeping Mum company as she slaved over the sewing machine making dolls and matching clothes for my 2-year-old nieces.
1985 - with sister #3 and her kids at home - and they slept in! So the responsible adults woke them up at 7 because we couldn't wait anymore!
Many, many, many years of starting Christmas Day with breakfast at my sister's (#2) to be around her kids - and now grandkids.
Many, many years of trying to get Dad into the Christmas spirit... putting his presents ON him while he lay in bed... and the promise he'd get up and join us after one more coffee in bed.
The horde at my brother's and we were so loud the youngest niece (just over 1) screamed - and no one heard her, including her mum, whose lap she was on. I only know because I was watching her at the time!
The fun Christmases when we have extra, special, visitors - when we open our doors to whoever needs a family.
Best of all? Every year my family have been together... which is as long as I can remember.
The saddest Christmases? The one's when someone is missing - my Dad is still missing at Christmas, even these 5 years since he died. This will be the second Christmas someone is missing, other than by dying, that is... so...
Christmas love to those not with us in body. Kia kaha Hannah & Collette! I hope you find each other, and a welcome, in London. And to Kaydin, who will be with his dad.