Every family has their Christmas traditions. We all have our way of doing things, which develop over time.
Due to work, my family has always celebrated Christmas on Boxing Day. As kids our we would be allowed one present on Christmas Eve, our stockings on Christmas morning, and then everything else would have to wait until Boxing Day after Christmas Dinner. Dinner and presents would be followed by a walk somewhere. It would be Mum, Dad, me, my sister, and nearly always my Grandparents too. It was fantastic, I have such happy memories of Christmas time in the Radford family.
One of the things my Nan and Granddad would do was give each of us; my Mum, Dad, sister and myself, a shoe box full of little bits and bobs each year. It was saved until after tea when we were full, had opened all our other presents. If we didn’t see Nan and Granddad on actual boxing day it would be saved until we visited them.
It was a big joke really. Each year we’d get chocolates, a pencil, some stickers – you know, a selection of little, low cost presents that might come in handy and changed as we got older. It was like Nan and Granddad hit Wilkinsons on a Wednesday afternoon in December to get four – or six (when my husband and my sister’s husband joined the family they were included too) – of everything. Each item would be carefully and individually wrapped with reels of sticky tape in the cheapest wrapping paper. And we would sit on the floor with our shoe boxes, which later became Christmas stockings, to open all the bits together in one go.
I can’t remember when it started. When we were very little Mum and Dad would do us stockings. Then when we were older teenagers Mum would do Dad’s, Dad would do Mum’s, I would do my sister’s and she would do mine. That was loads of fun. But I can’t remember when the shoe boxes appeared. It may have been always, I don’t know. I just know that it’s been a good few years and it always made the whole family smile.
We didn’t do it last year. We lost my Nan in December 2011 and Granddad didn’t feel he could. He even apologised on Boxing Day when there were no little bits to open, but of course we all understood, we hadn’t expected it. My Granddad lasted until July when he was reunited with my Nan in heaven, and so things this year are different.
But the tradition moves on.
A few weeks ago my sister and I decided we’d do the shoe boxes. We both thought of the idea, and decided it would be a nice gesture.
So I found two Dr Martens boxes, one each for Mum and Dad, wrote a list, and hit Wilkinsons and Poundland one lunch time to fill them with things. Each little gift has been carefully and individually wrapped in last year’s leftover wrapping paper, and put inside the box. Then the boxes have been wrapped in really cheap paper (that kept ripping!). They are now sat waiting for that moment after tea on Boxing Day when we are full and everything else is done. I can’t wait to see Mum and Dad sit on the floor in the lounge and go through the things, little bits of wrapping paper everywhere.
It’s silly. The presents are inexpensive and probably pretty pointless. I know I’m supposed to be all grown up now, but it seemed like something we didn’t want to lose.
Mum – I know you read my blog and I make no apologies for ruining any surprise. Veronica and I miss Nan and Granddad and Boxing Day won’t be the same this year without them both there. But we hope that by continuing this silly Radford Christmas tradition we can all sit around and laugh after tea as you and Dad open all the little bits and bobs, remembering the past with fondness (I promise there are no nude tights in there!). Love Zoe x