Monday, 19 December 2011


One of the things that springs to mind when I think about childhood Christmases is the vivid sense of colour associated with them.
There is the red of Santa's tunic, green for the Christmas tree and, of course, what every ten year old's heart yearns for at this time if the year, great expanses of white outside the window - as long as it STAYS safely on the other side of the window.
Some of these colours had a very personal resonance for me. There's red again. Cherry red in fact. The colour of the first, and only, car that I have ever owned. It was a sporty little red pedal powered number that was my pride and joy until I was too big to get into it.
I still get a thrill at the thought of my first, clandestine, sight of it as, on Christmas Eve, my big sister lifted the blanket under which it was hidden in her bedroom. the moment I caught sight of that long, red bonnet I fell in love - truly, madly, deeply. I knew that I would be travelling in style from then on. Admittedly, it would only be up and down the garden path and round my Mother's "Greenie Poles", but a chap has to start somewhere.
There is another colour, though, that resonates even more potently in my memory of those long ago Christmases. One of the decorations that hung on our tree was an odd purple object that looked not unlike a prune. I could never quite work out what it was meant to be but my mother assured me that it was very old and had been bought long before I had arrived on the scene.
I used to watch it, fascinated, as it gleamed under the Christmas Tree Lights. It seemed, somehow, in the unfathomable depth and richness of its colour, to have stored up all the happiness of past festive seasons. I was in awer of this misshapen bauble and I am pretty sure that I did not "ping" it, the way I did the other decorations, for the childish pleasure of seeing it swing back and forth. I didn't want to break it and endanger the continuity the line of Happy Christmases.
Of course, now, all those years later, I realize that those colours only remain so vivid in my mind's eye because of all the things that they were associated with. The colours of those childhood christmases were only given their depth by the efforts made by my parents on behalf of my sisters and I; the presents under the tree, the stockings full of tins of toffee that we occupied ourselves with in the early hours of the morning before we could get to that Christmas Tree. Most of all, I realise now, that it was a stable, loving family life that added, year by year to the bauble's glow.
Inevitably, as time goes by, Christmas loses some of its vividness. We get blase. We grow up? We read cynical, supposedly humorous articles about dreadful office parties, terrible T.V. "Specials" and about how the columnist never wants to clap eyes on another mince pie in his/her life. Ho. Ho. Ho. All very funny - but not very fulfilling.
This Christmas, though, I find myself having much in common with my former self. I am not actually getting ready to climb into my little red racing number but I have much the same sense of excitement as I look forward to my first Christmas at St Paul's Cathedral, Dundee, the Candlelight, friendship and the soul tingling mysteries of this time of year. I have been attending the Cathedral since February and it has turned my life around!
Along with faith, friendship and fellowship are the true colours of Christmas to all of you of all faiths - and none.


  1. That was lovely. ANd you're right -- the warm vivid colors of Christmas are the easily identifiable conduit to the past. There are many things that I have forgotten, but I can still see the Christmases of my childhood.

    :-) Merry Christmas. Happy New Year!


  2. Now THAT was a very well-written post! Much better than the crap I write.
    Merry Christmas to you!
    Keep that spirit alive......

  3. I hope I never get blase about Christmas. I just love it! I lucky to have children in the house at the moment to keep things exciting.

    You'd better not cry. You'd better not pout! ...Santa Claus is coming to town!

  4. thank you for all your comments throughout the year and MERRY CHRISTMAS to you all!!!

  5. thank you for all your comments throughout the year and MERRY CHRISTMAS to you all!!!

  6. A beautiful piece.

    Have a wonderful Christmas and New Year's.