Saturday, 18 December 2010

Eighteenth Day of Advent

- December 18th -

Todays Advent blog post is by Angry Robot editor and fellow co-editor on the forthcoming short fiction anthology 'Voices From The Past' Lee Harris, recalling his childhood Christmases back in his Welsh homeland.

I remember Christmases as a child quite vividly. I have a brother and sister, and when we were allowed into our front living room, we would find our presents in piles on the furniture. My brother's would be on one armchair, my sister's on another. As I was the youngest, mine tended to take up more space, and so the sofa was where I'd find mine. Quite right, too.
I can remember one year, waking up mere hours after going to bed, when the rest of the family were still downstairs watching late night TV. My cries of "Has he been, yet?" answered with cries of "Not yet - go back to bed."

On Christmas morning we weren't allowed downstairs on our own - we had to wait until the whole family was up and ready to descend. One time I woke particularly early - probably 5 or 6am - and snuck down to the living room. The excitement was too much and I couldn't wait, so I carefully opened every one of my presents - slowly peeling back enough sticky tape so I could glance inside, and then reseal, before heading back upstairs. When I came down later, with everyone else, I had to feign surprise (though the delight was still genuine). I was always a performer, even at an early age - it was no surprise that I eventually became an actor.

I never received anything from Father Christmas - all my gifts were from family. I suppose I saw Father Christmas (always this, never Santa) as more of a delivery man, than someone who gave gifts. Every year I'd receive a selection box and a £10 note from Aunty Pat and Uncle Tommy, and every year I'd be astonished that they gave it again - over 30 years ago, £10 for a young boy was a lot of money! (Hell - I wouldn't turn my nose up at it, even now!)

Most of my memories as a young child are from family holidays, birthdays and Christmas, but it's the Christmas ones that really stick.

I'm a Dad, now, and I probably enjoy Christmas more than ever. It's still a time for surprise and delight, but watching my 6 yr-old and 3 yr-old as they unwrap their gifts, is worth more than a hundred selection boxes - with or without the enclosed £10!

And I hope that when they're grown up, they'll look back on their Christmas memories with as much fondness.

Merry Christmas, everyone. And for those of you who don't celebrate this particular holiday, I hope you'll have just as pleasant a time.

A big thank you to Lee for taking time out on a very dull train journey to write this for me.

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