Welcome to a very special Festive Feature on my blog, where every day up until Christmas some of my favourite authors will be sharing what they love most about the festive season, including their favourite films, food, music, presents, memories, books…Plus much more!
The first week of December has almost whizzed by already, so as Christmas creeps ever closer here’s the fabulous Angela Britnell telling us what she loves most about this time of year…
YOU OPEN YOUR PRESENTS WHEN?!!!!!
Thirty two years ago my then-fiancé asked me that question and was shocked when I said he’d heard me correctly in the first place. We’d worked our way through various cross-cultural English/American differences already but this would be our first Christmas together and proved a real eye-opener. Every family has its own Christmas traditions building memories along the way and mine was no exception. Richard and I were going to spend Christmas with my parents in Cornwall and wanted to know all about our holiday rituals. That way he might not be too confused – probably remembering our misunderstanding over the word squash – he was offering me a vegetable and I thought I was getting a fruit drink!
I started off saying we’d go to church at midnight although might’ve forgotten to mention the fact the church is over 700 years old, made of granite and usually cold. Let’s just say he didn’t take off the heavy wool coat and fur hat he’d thankfully packed. Stockings by our beds first thing in the morning were the same, but he was surprised when the gifts were wrapped and all small things. In his family gifts brought by Santa were always unwrapped and big presents appeared as well. They would then immediately open the rest of their presents from family and friends so everything was done by mid-morning. When I said this sounded odd to me he asked the pertinent question whose answer would bemuse him then and still makes him shake his head now.
‘So when do you get your bigger presents?’
Before I tell you the answer let me explain I’m an only child and my parents had the idea of making the fun last as long as possible. I didn’t realise for a long time that other people might consider us strange. When I was little we’d go to church on Christmas morning, only changing to the midnight service when I was old enough to stay awake. We’d come home and have a traditional lunch around one o’clock. There were a lot of differences in the menu with Richard’s usual lunch but that’s a story for another day! After our meal we’d clear up and just before three o’clock we’d make tea and get out a fancy tin of chocolate biscuits before turning the television on for the Queen’s speech. I would impatiently listen and will her to hurry up because only then did we start to open our main presents.
Richard thought it was little short of child cruelty to make me wait until the middle of the afternoon but to me it was normal. Needless to say when we started to have our own children it was one of the few times my dear husband put his foot down. ‘They are not waiting until the day is half over to get their presents.’ I agreed but deep down it always seemed rushed and left me with a flat feeling of nothing else to look forward to the rest of the day.
I could’ve chosen so many different memories connected to Christmas to talk about from making mince pies with my mother and tasting my first sherry as we baked, to my favourite carols and intense dislike of sentimental Christmas songs. My Christmas memories, like everyone else’s, are special because they’re uniquely mine and what link me forever with the people who shared them with me. Merry Christmas everyone!
Many, many thanks to Angela for contributing to my Festive Feature. ♥
Angela grew up in Cornwall and returns frequently from her new home in Tennessee to visit family and friends. A lifelong love of reading turned into a passion for writing contemporary romance. Her novels are usually set in places she’s visited or lived on her extensive travels.