December 1 2022
A lot of Christmases under the tree for me now, and as each new one approaches, I find myself musing more on the ones further in the past. The ones when, as a child, you didn’t have a whole lot of things to worry about. When you were excited to have a break from school for two weeks. When the anticipation of tree decorating, and Christmas baking kept the days exciting. If there was snow – bonus! And of course, presents from Santa!
I won’t mention the polishing of silver as one of those anticipated chores. And now that I own silverware myself I can understand my mother’s delegation of the task to my sister and me.
Mum was too
busy with cleaning - and baking. Shortbread, Christmas puddings and fruit cakes – yes I love a good
Christmas cake, preferably with marzipan icing! – mince meat tarts, sausage
rolls, and…drum roll – trifle! I can
still taste the creamy custard and warmth of the sherry-laced biscuits. Fortunately, my sister continues the Christmas cake tradition and makes wonderful cakes using our mother's recipe.
Of course, as time goes by and wisdom is gained, my rear-view mirror of those precious times is now coloured by the realization that not everyone enjoyed Christmas in the same way I did. Not that we had a lot. Four of us lived in a tiny war-time house in Ajax. A two-bedroom house often shared with roomers as a way for my parents to make ends meet. But I’m pretty sure we lacked for nothing. There were always stacks of presents under the tree. I can remember not understanding the excitement my mother displayed upon unwrapping a gift to find a pair of new slippers, and thought how boring is that?
There were letters to Santa, and one year my mother veered off the letter-writing exercise and had my sister and I telephone the North Pole instead. She admonished us to not dilly-dally with our verbal requests and that Santa was so busy he could only listen. An incessant buzzing on the telephone line was testament to his busyness.
Was that the year I hunted and found the ask-Santa gifts in the closet of my parents’ bedroom? Lesson learned on that score when Christmas morning came and there were no surprises at all.
Our Christmas stockings weren’t hung by the chimney with care, but instead we left the woolen beasts lying empty and waiting at the foot of our beds. When we awoke – as if we slept much – those stuffed socks kept us busy for a long time. Candies, fruit, rolled up puzzle books, small toys.
So many wonderful and treasured memories. The black and white photos I can still enjoy of those times make me smile and tear up at the same time. How true the saying – youth is wasted on the young. I would love to have one more Christmas with my father and mother and reminisce with them over simpler times – at least they were to my mind. With maturity comes the knowledge that they had their problems and concerns, but still managed to provide the love, warmth and happy times that bring me comfort even now.
What about you? Do you have a favourite Christmas memory?
Happy Christmas, if that’s your tradition, to you and yours and may there be a treasure trove of comforting memories waiting to be made!
My memories of Christmas as a child are similar to Liz’s but
instead of two children waiting anxiously for Santa to leave presents, there were
five of us. The smell of mum’s baking, and presents being secreted into a
closet. When we were very little, a grey woolly sock was laid at the foot of
our bed with what we considered treasures. A beautiful orange that was hard to
find the rest of the year. A pencil and a book and oh, let’s hope there’s a
sixpence tucked in the bottom. As we got older I remember mum and dad lined up
five chairs. Each had a new outfit, either a sweater/jumper or something we
needed at the time. A toy of our choice or a game like Ludo or Dominoes and of
course our stocking was stuffed with a Cadbury’s selection box of chocolates.
My personal favorite.
I had to check with my siblings regarding a tree as I’ve no
recollection of one. I’ve been assured that we certainly did. Homemade
ornaments and some tinsel I’m told but no lights. I do remember being
disappointed to know that Santa had to climb up three flights of stairs in our
tenement as we had an electric fire and no chimney for him to come down.
Some years we went to church on Christmas Day. I always
enjoyed the carols. I think mum sent us with dad to give herself an hour's
peace and quiet.
Years later my boyfriend, later my husband, and I were in a pub on Christmas Eve and I asked him if he’d like to go to a midnight service with me. We recruited another couple and walked or should I say staggered in the cold from the pub to the church.
We sat in the back pew, and as I intended to give him his
Christmas present after the service, I placed it on the bench in front of
me. In between “Once in Royal David’s City” and “Silent Night” all we
could hear was a loud ticking sound. We all tried to ignore it, but it didn’t
stop. The service finished and we stood outside the church and said our
goodnights to our friends, and I handed Peter his gift. Yes, you’ve guessed it.
The ticking was coming from Peter’s parcel. No, no, it wasn’t a bomb. I’d
bought him an alarm clock and why it was so loud I’ll never know.
So many stories. First year after we married, back in the
dark ages, Peter went out to cut down a tree at a tree farm. He was overly
ambitious and came home with the most enormous tree that went through the
ceiling and he had to cut a foot off it to make it fit. Or the year my mum was
coming to stay for Christmas from Scotland. Peter was working so I decided to
put the tree up myself. It would not fit in the tree stand so I got the saw out
to make it work. I’m sure the tree when it started out was five feet but ended
up at only three. Ah, never mind. Once I decorated it looked fine!!
My favorite Christmases were when my children were little
and seeing the wonder on their faces. To me, Christmas is all about the
children and families getting together. There are many on their own so reach
out and be a friend.
Jamie Tremain News
On November 6, Jamie Tremain participated in Guelph's Book Bash, along with fellow author, and great friend, Gloria Ferris. The venue location - Guelph's Farmer's Market - provided an ideal location for more than 30 authors and other book-related vendors to showcase their wares. We met so many interesting people and look forward to taking part next year.
|Pam Liz Gloria|
Stay tuned to this space about more book news from these three pictured above! A new book due out in early January written by "Ferris Tremain". Yes, one book - three authors!
And later this week - December 4, Jamie Tremain, along with Gloria Ferris, will take part in a Christmas themed event at Delmanor - Glen Abbey Retirement Community (1459 Nottinghill Gate) in Oakville. Seating is limited. Call 905-469-3232 if you'd like to join us
Jamie Tremain wishes everyone all the best for this Christmas and Holiday Season
and that 2023
will be a Healthy, Safe, and Kind year for all.
Our Books are available: