Friday, December 2, 2011

Christmas 1979

We must have waited until the baby was down for his nap before starting. I can just imagine how much trouble a 14 month old would be while trying to decorate the Christmas Tree!

There is so much to write about Christmas in the Greenwood house at 42 Hunter St!!

Waking up super early in the morning, reaching a tentative foot down to the end of the bed to see if it touched an object that scrunched (every other day of year I was too afraid of the bed-foot foot-grabbing troll to try that). I shared a room with my sister(s) and we would both be awake, taking turns to poke a foot down and be rewarded with that special scrunch of present wrapping. It didn't matter what time we woke up - we KNEW it was too early, and had to endure the next few centuries under our blankets, toes scrunching the presents, before it was time to wake up.

Father Christmas always put our presents in a pillow case at the foot of our beds that we had set out the night before in great excitement. In early years, it was just a pillowcase, but later on Mum did some craft workshop and we decorated our own especially for Christmas, using fabric markers.

Unlike many of our friends who would get up as soon as they woke and open all their presents right there, our family's rule was that you could only open the presents in Mum and Dad's room. We had to wait until it was time - about 6 o'clock, but it always felt like an eternity. An eternity of incredible excitement and anticipation as we ventured from toes, to feet feeling the presents, to sitting up and FEELING them, counting them, and discovering their shapes and trying to guess what they were - but not guessing too hard, in case we ruined the fun!

When that time came, we all hauled our pillow cases into Mum and Dad's room - we all had our own places it seems, not by design, but just by habit - mine was next to the wardrobe doors, and Jo was in the middle nearer to the dresser. Or vice versa. And Bec was near the wardrobe too, but closer to Mum and Dad's bed. This is important, because quite often, we three would get rather similar gifts, so we learned to coordinate opening them! I also have quite vivid memories of enjoying Christmas morning right there but never anywhere else. If I remember rightly, Peter was by Dad's drawers and Maria was over by Mum's duchesse. Chris, in later years, being the baby, got the spot right by Mum's side of the bed.

So here we are, gathered around the tiny artificial Christmas tree in the lounge. The tree was usually kept around there, near the indoor pond (IN in it later years when the pond was drained). The presents would pile up next to that low stone wall behind us, to be arranged, and re-arranged by one or another child up until bedtime on the 24th!

Maria is 14, Peter 12, Jo nearly 10, me 8, Rebecca 4 and a half and Chris 14 months.

Goodness, look at our feet! Barefoot Kiwi kids!!!

I LOVE my dress!!! I want it now! I remember Maria's top too, how I would wear it in later years, with those frills pulled down on my shoulders.

Dad is talking in the photo. Again.

Maria and Peter are old enough to hold the same pose, though why Maria chose the 'look down shyly' pose we'll never know.

I love how completely different Jo looks in the two photos. Rebecca is just pure 4-yr old cute.

Me? I almost vaguely remember deciding to do that 'fun Christmas tree branch pose'

Proof positive that Dad was a better shot with the SX70 than Mum.

In later years, we got a 'real' tree, or a forestry pine tree tip. Some were so huge they brushed the ceiling (and that lounge had a very high ceiling!). They smelled divine, but were hard to decorate, especially since fake snow was invented around the same time...

At one stage Mum and Dad tried a real tree, which was then planted in the garden, and I think never dug up again, or maybe once after. Then Mum went back to artificial trees again. Now she has the standard dark green tall leafy fake, but the tree here is a 1970's artificial tree - sparkly tinsel-like branches that you had to stick into the base separately.

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