Wednesday, 21 December 2011

My Christmas Ghost

In Charles Dickens,"A Christmas Carol" Mr Scrooge was visited by the ghosts of Christmas past, present and Christmas yet to come to encourage him to change his miserable ways before it was too late. I love Christmas and I'm not miserable about the season in any way, but there's a ghost hanging around here who says he's taking me on the same journey as Scrooge because he's heard me saying Christmas is not as magical as it used to be.  Come along and join me.


Christmas Passed
My ghost is waiting patiently for me, but I want to know more.
"Scrooge had three different ghosts visit him" I said, " Am I to being visited by another two?"
 He looks at me with disdain, shakes his head and says,
"My dear, you're not in  a Dickens novel, are you?" I shake my head as I am a bit afraid to speak.
He answers, " I'm your one and only ghost and I think you should be grateful I've fitted you in. This is a very busy time of year for me. Now let us just get on with it."



He takes me back to  back to Christmas 1965. Peeking through the window of the ground floor tenement where I grew up I watch my eight year old self stretch her legs and kick at the bed covers to find out if Santa has left any presents on top of the bed. I know they will include a Sindy doll, Petite typewriter and a scooter with a siren, the handlebars festooned with red white and blue ribbons. I really wanted a bike but as we lived near a busy road my dad would not allow that and the first time I  road a bike was in my thirties.
My brother is running about with his James Bond Car complete with a bullet proof shied and an ejector seat. The house is decorated with paper decorations (fire hazard?) Coloured paper balls and star shapes hang from the ceiling  and foiled swirly streamers which I used to jump up and blow to make them turn.
Mum is cooking Christmas dinner, dad is messing with the lights on the tree, gran has her teeth in because it's a special day and we are waiting for all the aunts and uncles who will drift in throughout the day, mainly to visit my gran.
Christmas is always magical when you are young. Either my brother or I would be given a compendium of games and all the family would sit around the table playing snakes and ladders, tiddlywinks, ludo and draughts, no Wii or PlayStation gamesback then.
I remember the day my mum first broke the news to me that Santa didn't exist (no really he doesn't)
I pretended that I already knew, I think I had my suspicions but I was devastated when she confirmed them.
The ghost moves me away from the scene before I become too emotional. He says he hates blubbering women.

I am now sixteen and my ghost has taken me taken me to Christmas at my first nursery placement while I was training to be a Nursery Nurse. Working here brought back the magic of a childhood Christmas for me. I can see myself being  shown this huge wall, being told it was mine to decorate with a Christmas theme. I wasn't in the least artistic and  in those days it wasn't so much about what the children did but how good the staff were at producing something lovely to look at. I was terrified. I tossed and turned at night thinking what to do, all the other staff were producing masterpieces. In the end I managed with the hindrance help of the children to decorate the wall with a huge sparkly candle and I passed muster. I thank the ghost for showing me this again.
The most emotional part of a nursery Christmas came at the end of the party, we put all the lights out apart from the twinkling ones on the Christmas tree.The children sat
cross-legged on the floor, very quiet and if we listened carefully as we sang Jingle Bells we could hear sleigh bells in the distance becoming  louder until we could all see Santa was ringing them. He came with a huge sack full of presents for children and staff. The look of wonder and amazement on the faces of each and every child and most of the adults would bring a lump to my throat and tears to my eyes and still does to this day.
In all my years in nurseries both working and taking my own children, only once has a child ever said, "that's not the real Santa" and it was his shoes that gave him away.


My Christmas ghost skips some years and takes me to Christmas with my husband and young children. I look through the window and see my little boy on a toy  police motorbike (he loved his "mee maw")  my  little girl is wearing a red party dress, she's playing with My Little Pony and  Barbie. She is so pretty and I just want to hug her.

The house has a Christmas tree and is decorated mainly with the children's home made decorations.
Every Christmas Eve we would take the children to see a Disney film or pantomime and then to visit the the centre of Glasgow and look at the fairy lights and huge Christmas tree in George Square, it was magical. When we got  home they'd be so exhausted it was straight to bed to wait for Santa.  A very happy family Christmas and as I see myself as a young mum getting ready to have my parents and parents- in-law for dinner I want to stay awhile and be with them all again even for a moment. But I am dragged away to......

Christmas Present 
My ghost is showing me, as I was last week, dressing the tree, decorating the house with sparkly things for the big day. Christmas shopping with my now grown up daughter. Onto the day itself  and as I promised myself, I look relaxed and not stressed out at all. My table is decked with red and gold, crackers are waiting to be pulled and wine is resting waiting for the toast to Christmas. I am wearing my,"I'm a glamorous Granny" apron and my new chef's hat and yes I do look quite glamorous (for my age). I'm sure my husband would say that anyway, if he could tear himself away from his latest Christmas gadget.

I watch my son, daughter and their partners exchange gifts and my gorgeous new granddaughter is being spoiled by everyone. Her giggles make us all laugh. Two dogs are running amongst the Christmas wrapping not understanding all the excitement, but joining in anyway. I feel quite blessed as I look upon the scene.
As is usual at this time of year I will be thinking of the empty chairs around the table, another family member gone this year as my husband's mum passed away in January. These people will always be sorely missed and never forgotten as we are surrounded by their photos.
I am pulled from the scene by........

Christmas yet to come.
My ghost sits me down and tells me that although part of his job is to show me the future he doesn't think he should, it would spoil the surprise.
Now, part of me would like to know, hence the reason I enjoy going to fortune tellers, but I only want to know the good parts but this ghost is persistent, he is insisting I have to know any bad as well as good, so I have declined to take part.

In my own mind I see Christmas yet to come as just getting better and better. As my granddaughter gets a bit older the magic will start for me all over again. I will make my  house a winter wonderland, with fairy doors and twinkling lights. I will sing her Christmas songs and read her stories of a far away land where Santa lives with his elves and make toys for good children just like her. Maybe I will have more grandchildren  and my husband and I will  be exhausted when the big day is over, but it will be a happy exhaustion.
My Christmas ghosts is leaving now, seems he has a few more people to take on a journey. Who knows, maybe he's heading your way.
Before he leaves he tells me, "It doesn't matter if you're a child, young adult, mother or grandmother you can always find something magical about Christmas by making it magical for the loved ones around you"
And he's right!

I wish everyone a very merry Christmas and the best of New Years and thank you all for viewing my blog.
I'll finish as I started with Charles Dickens, and that famous quote from Tiny Tim,
" God Bless Us, Everyone!"                               
                                                                                  

6 comments:

  1. Oh, that's brought a tear to my eye. When my daughter was young, I used to help out at the local playgroup and I can still see the open-mouthed wonder on the children's faces when Santa turned up with presents. Even now it makes me well up. :)

    Have a wonderful Christmas and all best wishes to you for 2012!

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  2. That was beautiful, Anne. A Christmas Carol is my favourite Dickens story and I love the way you turned it around. You've brought back some memories for me. I remember being a new teacher and having to compete with the rest of the staff to produce wonderful Christmas displays and I used to love the look of sheer awe on the children's faces when Father Christmas arrived. This is my first year without my Mum and so my thoughts go out to your husband. I know how he's feeling. Have a great Christmas and let's hope for a new year filled with health and happiness, shall we.

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  3. Hi Shriley,there's nothing as good as seeing Christmas through the eyes of a child. I think we're all softies at heart.Thanks for reading.

    Rosalind,Thanks for your lovely comments.The pressure in that particular nusery to produce good work was always the same, I even became quite good at it and was able to do a lot of arts and crafts with my own children because of it. Glad I brought back some memories for you.

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  4. What a great idea for a post. I really enjoyed reading this. It's been lovely getting to know you on Twitter over the past few weeks. Hope you and your family have a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year. X

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  5. What a beautiful post. Thank you for sharing. My boys are older now (although not quite old enough to have their own children yet!) and I can't wait to be a grandma :)

    Blessings of the season Anne
    x

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  6. Thanks Anita for your lovely comments,it's been lovely getting to know you as well. Merry Christmas.
    Sharon, Thanks that's nice of you to say.It's lovely being a Grandma,I'm the last of my friends to become one and now I want more.Merry Christmas.

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