Sunday, 21 December 2014

Christmas Club

Good intentions.  They're great aren't they?  I'm going to do all my Christmas wrapping as soon as I get the presents home this year.  Didn't happen.  I'll empty the freezer in November so I can bake well in advance this year.  Didn't happen.  I'll get all my shopping done well before the week before Christmas this year.  Didn't happen.  I'm going to join in all of Sian's Christmas Club Sundays.  No, that didn't happen either.  Of course my default setting for when plans go wrong is naturally to blame it on the husband.  Especially if I can get away with him not knowing I'm blaming him for something I haven't done. So the reason I missed last week was his fault.  No, really, it was his fault.  After all, it was his birthday.  Tradition dictates that the Sunday closest to his birthday we have a mini Christmas with all the family round and he gets to choose the menu.  So last Sunday went in a whirl of cooking and clearing up and decorating tables and welcoming visitors.  Glass of prosecco for the cook?  Don't mind if I do.  Long dog walk in the afternoon?  Who can resist those big puppy dog eyes?  Trying out a new game and getting hooked on Bananagrams.  As I wearily closed my eyes at bedtime I suddenly realised the day had gone and I hadn't shared a story. 
 
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My mum loved Christmas. If ever there was a Mrs Santa Claus, it was her.  Christmas was a magical time in our house.  She would spend weeks cooking in advance, because everyone had to have their favourite things to eat.  Presents were thoughtfully chosen, she must have listened so hard to the slightest hint of conversations where people would mention something that they had seen that they liked.  There was a year where I saw a lovely knitting pattern in her magazine for a cable knit jumper and mentioned how much I loved it.  This was just a short while before Christmas, and she then must have rushed out to buy wool the next day, and secretly start knitting as soon as I'd gone up to bed in the evenings to get it done in time.  How she managed that I do not know as she wasn't the fastest knitter in the world and it was a tricky wool to work with especially in the evenings when the light isn't so good. 
She was also a crossword fanatic.  Every day she challenged herself to do a crossword and was so good at getting those cryptic clues.  So she introduced a new family tradition.  She would give crossword style hints on gift tags so you had to have a guess at what it was before you opened it.  Let's just say that some clues were more cryptic than others.  Some had to be explained even after you'd opened the present!  She particularly like anagrams and to this day I think of my Kenwood Gourmet food processor as my Gemtour as the clue for that was 'Something to help make the picnic you take on a Gem Tour'
So silly me.  I decided to pick up the baton of this tradition.  When she passed away in December 1977 it seemed an ideal way to keep her in our thoughts on Christmas morning.  Her clues always brought laughter as we tried to work them out.  But oh mum.  I never realised how hard it is to come up with something original.  I did not inherit your cryptic brain.  Although I have inherited the ability to totally confuse people with what I think is a blindingly obvious clue!
 
Thank you Sian for giving us all an excuse to walk down memory lane with our family stories, they've been such fun to read. 


15 comments:

Mel said...

Sounds like a great tradition. We do secret Santa at my work and I introduced the idea of cryptic clues but everyone felt very pressured to think of something clever and they didn't do clues this year!

scrappyjacky said...

I've never heard of using clues before....it sounds kind of fun....but don't think I'd be very good at it.

Sian said...

I love the thought of the clues! And it brought a lump to my throat thinking about your Mum knitting away when you were in bed..my Mum used to do that too. I'm so pleased you came clubbing today. happy Christmas Deb to you and yours

Jane said...

What a great idea, I think my husband would be better than me at the cryptic clues though!

ally said...

Ok what is bananagrams ????
Have a fab christmas

Rachel B said...

That is such a lovely story Deb, the cryptic clue tags sound so much fun too! :)

Maggie said...

I like the idea of the clues. I have done something a little similar with their advent pockets. If the item was too large for the pocket I would hide it and set a series of clues!

Jennifer Shaw said...

It must have been so much fun trying to figure out those clues. How wonderful that your Mum took on a knitting project that late for you to have your wish. You must miss her.

Becky said...

What a lovely tradition to take over from your Mum. I am sure that your family will look back on your clues with as much enjoyment as you look back on your Mum's ones. Wishing you a very merry Christmas x

Fiona@Staring at the Sea said...

How great to carry on a well loved tradition. Hope the clues don't cause too much brain ache, either in the writing or the solving!

alexa said...

A very special way to remember a clearly very gifted lady - I am sure she'd be thrilled you were trying, even if you feel you haven't quite got her swiftness for it. I bet your efforts are appreciated all the same! Wishing you a joyful time together.

Abi said...

Your mum sounds amazing. How lovely that she knitted you a jumper in the night. I love the idea of clues too. Instead of normal crackers we have cracker presents. My mum puts a clue inside each cracker and then we have to run and find our present in-between courses. All good fun!

Missus Wookie said...

Oh what a lovely set of memories of your Mom. The clues sound like fun, we do some but they aren't that cryptic.

Maria Ontiveros said...

What a wonderful story! I know what you mean about the day just slipping away.
Rinda

Miriam said...

What a great idea but I don't have a cryptic brain either! I used to write little notes on my tags, I wonder when that stopped. I loved your plans that never came to fruition, now that is something I am brilliant at!
Happy New Year to you. x