Are you ready for a trip down Amnesia Lane?
Remember, I did warn you.
1. Pillowslips on the bedpost. My favourite part of the year was waking up on Christmas morning to a throbbing pillow case on the bedpost (get your minds out of the gutter, please). We didn’t even have a special pillowcase, whatever was clean on the night (and mum is a Virgo so there were lots).
2. Construction Christmas books. They were cardboard, you poked figurines and houses out and constructed them so that you had your very own Christmas 3D scene. Every year, my brother and I would alternate between the snow-drenched European street scene and the nativity scene. I’ve been looking for them for years but they just don’t sell them anymore. Not even The Google knows about them. I type in searches and it gives me the white screen of WTF.
3. The smell of a freshly opened Barbie. Like the smell of a new car but with boobs and hemmed vaginas. I don’t know why Barbie dolls smell different now – as far as I’m aware they’re still made of the same stuff (i.e. a whole lot of cheap Asian plastic). In fact, it was any plastic toy fresh from the wrapper (the Bionic Woman of 1979 springs to mind) that smelt to me like Christmas. Even more than live pine trees and shandies by the lake.
4. Eating Butter. Another in the “Don’t try this at home” annals, I tried this at home every single Christmas of my childhood. You see, my family were of the Meadow Lea and powdered milk variety throughout the year, but every December, we would have real butter and real milk. I would steal to the fridge and sneak chunks of butter, with fresh milk chasers. It was heaven in a cow udder.
5. Bing Crosby’s Christmas Album. It was released in 1955, before I was an itch in the itch in my daddy’s pants, but this is seminal stuff. My parents had this on repeat on the record player all Christmas Day. It should send shivers of terror down my spine just thinking about it, but it doesn’t. It is very comforting. Like knowing I never have to listen to Alan Jones’ voice on radio again.
6. The annual Pine Tree reconnaisance mission. About a week before Christmas, dad would take my brother and I to the pine forest near Dora Creek and cut down a clandestine pine tree. I can’t bring myself to cut down a live tree these days, but that’s right, dendrocide is something I miss from my childhood.
7. Window Advent Calendars. We never had chocolate advent calendars as a kid. We had the ones that you put on the window – they had a tissue-paper back, and when you opened each window, a different picture would shine through. It was all about the picture. It was probably just as well we had non-chocolate calendars, given the amount of butter I consumed.
8. Watching the Santa Tracker on local TV. The precursor to NORAD, it was seriously analog – every ad break on NBN3, a basic world map filled the TV screen and little sleigh “blips” indicated where Santa was in the world. Excitement, wot.
9. Silken thread ornaments. Oh ho ho, that does make me sound very posh does it not biatches? These were balls that were covered in really fine silk thread and are now classified as “vintage”. When I was a kid I just liked to stroke the sh*t out of those balls. It was very calming. Trust me on this.
10. Being home. All our family lived in Newcastle, so Christmas Day was unfailingly spent with aunts, uncles and cousins. Now we’re Christmas nomads. Since Scout was born, we’ve spent Christmas in Adelaide, Newcastle, Mount Gambier and Melbourne. I don’t mind the travel, but don’t like feeling like a Christmas Orphan when we’re actually home. With family fragmented all over the country, it is a hard pill to swallow. Which is why I like to dissolve it in a retro Pimms. Don’t mind me, will you?
What do you most miss about the Christmas’s you had as a kid?