Memories from the Highlands
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Memories from the Highlands

When I was a wee girl, we had a real Christmas tree with real candles!

On Christmas Eve the candles were lit and I would stand and gaze at it in total wonder. It was magical to me and I have never forgotten it, or the feeling I had looking at it.

On Christmas morning, Father Christmas had (somehow) managed to get into my bedroom and leave a pillow case full of presents and at the bottom was always a tangerine and some nuts!

I knew that my Dad had bought a present one year and it didn't come from Father Christmas!  I had been out with my Dad and he asked me to wait outside a shop.  In the window was a lovely sewing box and while I looked at it, the shopkeeper took it out of the window!  Next morning there it was in my pillow slip - my clever Dad had somehow managed to get it into Father Christmas's sack!

After opening pressies, we got ready to go to my Grandmother's house and a taxi duly arrived to take us there.  I carried my pillowslip full of toys with me.

At my Grandma's house there was always plenty of bustle.  My Granddad was there along with my two unmarried Aunties as well as my beloved little Grandma.  Christmas dinner was served and there was chicken!

In those days it was a real treat; I always had a drumstick and thought I was very spoiled.   That one chicken served seven of us, with plenty of potatoes and veggies of course!   Homemade Christmas pudding and mince pies were in abundance.  After dinner, when the washing up was done and we all settled down in front of the fire, the grown-ups’ pressies were handed round.   I usually got something like a new toothbrush and toothpaste, or a nightgown or some slippers.

Later we all gathered around the table to play cards and board games – something we still like to do as a family today.  Christmas Day was MY day and the card game was always 'Cuckoo' so that I could play too.

Boxing Day was the grown-ups’ day and I played quietly with my new toys while they played their own card games.

The next day we went home, back to normal life and me dreaming of what it would be like to live at my beloved Grandma's house all the time.

Real trees were and still are sold in local street markets, and stolen ones are sold on odd sites here and there until the police come along! - so we have always had real ones.

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