When Christmas Was Exciting!

Dear Children,

You have now emailed us your Christmas list and we are in the process of harvesting the money tree at the end of the garden to furnish you with all the latest gadgets and technology that you deem essential in order to carry on with life in 2017. We know how difficult and socially unacceptable it must be for you to ‘only’ own an iPhone 6 when your peers are all snap- chatting, vlogging and whatsapping with the newer enhanced 7 model.

We will endeavour to appease your request for these critical items as always and ensure that we project -manage Christmas Day according to 2016 standards, however we just wanted spend a moment or two describing how Christmas was when we were growing up in the eighties. We’re sure you will be surprised to hear how things have changed over the years.

The Christmas Tree

You have requested this year that the tree takes on a “Frozen” motif  with blue and white baubles to match the glistening remote-controlled L.E.D lights and glass icicles.  When we were growing up, there was no such thing as a ‘themed’ Christmas tree. Instead there were rows upon rows of multicoloured tinsel, baubles of every colour and lights of blue, red, orange, green and pink.  We kept our decorations for decades and never added to them, they smelled musty and damp from the loft and the Christmas tree wasn’t complete unless it had at least 35 different colours and looked like it was decorated by a 4 year old. To finish off the look, we of course used mum’s 30 year old angel, dressed in a crepe -paper dress which we mutilated annually. (A Christmas tradition -obvs, not Munchausens by proxy).

Christmas Messages

 I know that you will need to hook up to the Wifi from about 7.30am so that you can spend 4 or 5 hours wishing your friends a happy Christmas and send the obligatory e-card. In our day, we used to send people Christmas cards which we hung all around the house on make-shift string contraptions. We would exchange cards on the last day of school, and the next we would see or hear from our school friends would be 2 weeks later after the new year. No computers, no internet and about 10 years before mobile phones were invented…I know..how awful right?

Christmas Jumpers

You mentioned that you needed a new Christmas jumper for ‘National Christmas jumper day’ on the 16th of December. The one we bought last year for you is ‘so last season’ and we couldn’t possibly afford you the embarrassment of wearing the same one you wore for that ‘one day’ last year.  When we were younger, we celebrated Christmas on the 25th December and not before. There wasn’t  a novelty jumper day allowing Primark to cash in ….there was no such thing as Primark. Your Christmas jumper either came from C&A (I’ll explain this later) or it would have been knitted by your grandmother. You would be expected to be wearing this jumper every day until March.

Christmas List

As mentioned above we are in receipt of your email, and have informed Amazon of your wish -list in exchange for promotional voucher codes.  Just to let you know, when we were kids, we used to hand-write a letter to Father Christmas and were not content until we physically saw it addressed to Lapland, and posted by mother. We received our inspiration only by looking through an Index or Argos catalogue. On Christmas Day, we were often disappointed that our exhaustive lists were not honoured but as our parents would often tell us, “You’ll get what your given”. So in essence, formulating a Christmas list was a ritual event, and had no bearing on the presents we received.

Christmas Presents

You have requested that your presents are colour coded under the tree to avoid confusion when opening them. When we opened our Christmas presents as a child, they were delivered to the end of the bed in a stocking… no wait, a pillow case.  We would get about 5 presents in total, wrapped in a mish-mash of last year’s leftover wrapping paper. We’d have one main present, the rest were socks, stocking fillers, a tangerine and a handful of Quality Street. (Btw, Quality Steet came in metal tins, were twice the size of today’s and were NEVER opened until Christmas day).

Christmas Dinner

One of you has requested Salmon for your Christmas dinner, the other Gammon, so again this year we will cook three different dinners. It was Turkey or nothing when we were young and despite everyone hating sprouts- you had to eat them because ….well it was Christmas, so it was the law. Also we would need to have eaten and washed up (a family event) all in time for the Queen’s speech.

Christmas TV

As you have googled what time Eastenders is on and sky-plus’d all the programs you want to see over the festive period, feel free to spend the day online catching up with your youtubers.  Just remember that in our youth, the excitement of Christmas TV started mid December when the Radio Times was published. We would get a nice black felt-tip pen and circle all the programs we wanted to watch on ‘four ‘ TV channels and then go into consultation with the rest of the family. In this annual battle, we would decide what to watch and what to ‘tape’. With only 1 T.V in the house, there was a 25% chance we would realise our televisual aspirations, and in the slim chance it was ‘taped’….the *VHS was often re-wound and *’taped over’ by mum who had enjoyed too many *snowballs.

(*You may have to download an app to translate some of the afore-mentioned jargon)

Christmas Number 1

You have asked for an iTunes gift card again this year so that you can download the X-Factor winner’s song for Christmas day. (No doubt number 1 again in the download chart). When we were growing up, Christmas number 1 was a big deal, but there wasn’t a download chart as we didn’t have internet, smart phones or MP3 players. Instead we would race down to ‘Our Price’ and buy our favourite cassette -tape the week before Christmas. On the last Sunday before the big day, we extended the ariels on our ghetto-blasters as Dr. Fox announced the top 40, we waited with anticipation for the number one spot!  As there was no X-Factor , this was always a complete surprise.

Boxing Day Sales

I know you have requested to go to Westfield on Boxing Day to spend your Christmas money and have set the alarm for 5 am accordingly. You’re lucky that retailers have commercialised Christmas, because when we were younger Boxing Day was still part of Christmas and no shops were ever open. If Boxing Day was a Saturday then the shops would still  be closed on the Sunday. However this was never a problem because Mum and Dad had always bought enough food to last 6 weeks just in case.

We hope you enjoy Christmas, but spare a thought for how things were in our day, when Christmas preparations started in December (not October). It may sound like your worst nightmare…but with less time to prepare, you weren’t bored of Christmas before it had even started…and things were definitely more exciting.

Lots of Love

Daddy and Stepdaddy

coffee

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