Sunday, November 19, 2006

Traditions of Christmas, Past.

Several years ago now, my sister & her then husband, Nigel, used to have me over for the main days of Xmas.
I would go late afternoon on Xmas Eve, & come home the morning after Boxing Day.
We had set traditions, which were our "Recipe of Christmas".
Sadly, we thought these would go on forever & very few photos were ever taken. Now, I want to record them forever & kick myself that we didn't get pictures. I will just have to make a mini Xmas book & record the memories for posterity.
Christmas Eve, Nigel would always cook us a good meal & it was usually roast beef, or roast lamb.
The last year together, he cooked us Monkfish wrapped in Parma ham.
That was a bad year, but he threw himself into the festivities with his usual gusto...He was having chemotherapy for Acute Myeloid Leukaemia.He drank us under the table twice!!! Shortly after Xmas he ended up with Pneumonia & was critically ill.
We often wrapped presents in front of a blazing fire with mulled wine to drink while he nipped to the local village pub for a quick drink.
Xmas morning, he would knock on the bedroom door & leave a mug of tea outside at 8a.m. We would get up in pyjamas & eat some toast & drink coffee. Then we would draw out of a hat (mug!) the number of presents we were allowed to open before lunch. Nigel used to put really high numbers in & we would take them out & replace with lots of 3's!!!! He was dreadful, just like a child trying to dig us out of bed before 7a.m to open presents..
We would open champagne at 10a.m & make bucks fizz & select the gifts for each other. We usually picked the clothing ones for each other so we had something to wear for lunch!!!!!!
We then used to send him to the pub for a free pint of Guinness & a whiskey chaser, while we prepared the veg. He always cooked the meal.
With lunch we opened more champagne & continued drinking it the rest of the day!!!!!!
After lunch, was present time. We wanted the day to last as long as possible & the anticipation of the presents was terrible to bear sometimes!!!! The opening of presents usually lasted until teatime when we used to just have the Xmas pud we couldn't quite manage at lunch!!!!! Then it was champagne all the way to bedtime.
That last Christmas we vowed that when Nigel was better, we would book Christmas away & take our traditions to the Lake District.
Sadly, in the August 2004 Nigel died.......
For me, so did Christmas & a very large piece of my life......
As I'm typing this I am beginning to cry, but finally they are happy tears of memories precious...
Tracy remarried recently to a lovely man, Martin. Christmas will change, the traditions will now be replaced, but I will always remember .........

I must get some more cards made & watch a few more Xmas movies.


Gillian Hamilton said...

Paula, just had a bit of a weep reading this post....
Thankyou for sharing these special memories.. so happy your sister remarried and i'm sure the new memories your about to create this Christmas will be just as special... It is a good reminder to us all to take photos of traditions...

Anonymous said...

Aw darling.... what beautiful memories and how brave of you to share. I understand fully as I once had a brother in law I loved very much too, and sadly both he, and my darling sis have now gone, and yes, losing such special people does take the heart out of everything, even Christmas... Or perhaps, especially Christmas.

Your words made me cry, but I hope they helped heal you a bit.

Big hugs and wishes for a lovely Christmas this year for you and your family.
jk xx

Anonymous said...

Oh Paula, I'm sitting here with tears in my eyes as well. Nigel sounded like a top bloke and it's great that you have some brilliant memories to remember him and smile.

I'm also glad I'm not the only one who's a great big sook and got all teary eyed reading that!

I think, when I have my first sip of champagne on Xmas day, I'll have a smile for Nigel and for your Sister and you :)

Kathy said...

What a beautiful blog entry Paula.
It's always the way that the happiest of times will also remind us of the sadness of losing those we love.

It's become a new tradition with me in recent years to say a silent toast to those I love, but are no longer here. In this way, I feel that rhey can still be part of our Christmas.

Traditions change, but memories live on

Saffa said...

Thanks for visiting my blog Paula!

What beautiful memories you have to cherish! I am welling up reading that! So brave of you to share these precious thoughts of yours with us! I hope your sister is very happy.

Its always special occasions that make me think of those that are not here any longer, on my wedding I had such a sadness that my grandfather wasnt around and really felt his empty space.

Sending you lots of hugs!

Anonymous said...

Oh Paula, Its so hard loosing people you love. I can't put words together as nicely as everyone else has, so I will send you a big hug through cyberspace, (((Paula))). Rhi x

Anonymous said...

Paula, thank you so much for your lovely comments on my blog and for sharing your feelings about Nigel. At least you have your memories. Take care and big hugs.

Jen said...

Aww you're making ME cry! What a beautiful post though, very precious memories. Sorry I have had to password protect my blog, so if you want it, pls email me on