Christmas 2017: Your favourite festive memories
As Christmas Day draws ever closer, Courtney Pochin asks our readers to share their favourite memories from Christmases past. Here’s a look at what you had to say...
I have no idea why we had to wait until Christmas morning to collect the chicken from the Nacton farm (long before turkeys were the festive dinner of choice). Father drove off early morning to fetch the bird. And we waited. And waited. Eventually he returned with a warm, unplucked bundle, obviously very recently harvested. He was giggly, thanks to the (how many glasses of sherry was that?) refreshments that kept him busy while a chicken was hunted down - and lost its life. Mother was tearful. Dinner was very late. Father missed dinner altogether that year because he, just an occasional tippler, was sleeping off the effects of his trip to the country.
Ann Andersen, formerly of King Edward Road, Ipswich, now living in Duncan, BC
As a child of the Seventies I grew up skateboarding and got pretty good at it through my teens and 20s. Fast forward to Christmas 2015 and now in my forties and with an eight-year-old son I decide to buy him a skateboard for Christmas. He was very excited when he opened up his gift on Christmas morning and even more excited when I offered to take him to the local skate park that morning and show him some skills. It had been snowing overnight and the half pipe was icy and, frankly, lethal. Still, my son pressed me to show him a few moves so I did. My first few kick turns were OK, but with my confidence up I tried a rock fakie, where you stop your board balanced on the rim of the pipe. I messed it up and fell down the pipe – hard. I laughed it off, even though the pain was agonising, and suggested to my son, through gritted teeth, we head home for some mince pies. When the pain only increased over the next couple of days I went for an X-ray. Turns out I’d broken a rib – the same one I’d broken two years previously playing rugby. To add to this my son now has a mortal fear of skateboarding. Dad of the year!
Mark Edwards, Commercial Features Writer, East Anglian Daily Times
I have so many fond memories of Stowmarket that its difficult to recall one that sticks out in my mind. From swimming in the river gipping, to spending christmas with santa at the Regal. But seeing how Stowmarket has changed over the years really has to be my favourite thing about it. Its the community spirit, The history, The youths, Every time I venture back into stow, its always bigger and friendlier. Therefore, Switching on the christmas lights and making it snow in the town centre has to be one of my best memories. It was amazing to see so many people gathered in the centre to celebrate the occasion together. And this is why I love Stowmarket. We are all one.
Matt Edwards, Stowmarket magician and Britian’s Got Talent finalist.
One of my best Christmases was when my grandson Sam was two and obessed by trains. I’d made him a large model of a carraige of our local train (about three foot long). After unwrapping it he was so obssessed with it he hardly opened the rest of his presents and wouldn’t let it out of his sight for days. So satisfying, my most successful xmas present ever.
Tim Hunkin, TV presenter, inventor and creator of the Under The Pier Show slot machines on Southwold Pier
One of my most memorable Christmases was basically being party to my mum ruining lunch. Every year without fail my mum buys a brand new tin to roast the turkey. She also calls me up a couple of days beforehand to ask “Charlotte how should I cook it?”
I’ve never cooked a whole turkey before (it’s always been her domain) so God knows why she calls on me for advice? Anyway, a few years ago I saw chef James Martin on TV putting water in the tin underneath the turkey to ‘keep the meat juicy’. Inspired, I thought. So when mum gave me a tinkle I was ready with my sage advice. On the day I think she got carried away and poured a whole a jug in with the bird, because when the time came for my dad to lift it ceremoniously to the serving plate, the whole thing collapsed and fell to the floor. Whoops. It was indeed moist though.
Charlotte Smith-Jarvis, Food Editor for East Anglian Daily Times and Eastern Daily Press
Working at the Cliff Hotel in Gorleston. I was getting divorced but my mum felt she had to honour her invitation to my husband to Christmas lunch, my Nanny was also living with my parents and had dementia, I wasn’t handling that very well. Also having an annual argument with my father was becoming Christmas tradition. So working for double time, with all the diners being nice to you and some of them bringing you presents and some leaving you a drink behind the bar and all the waitressing being easy because it was a set menu where everyone had pre ordered was a dream, there was nothing to go wrong, it went like clockwork. Best Christmas since I was a child.
Helen Swanston, Cromer
My most memorable Christmas Day involved working in the EDP Kings Lynn office in 1993 with a hangover. Going to see Christmas Day babies at the QEH. Trying to feel ok about this with accompanied raging headache. The struggle was real.
Kath Sansom, Features Writer, East Anglian Daily Times and Eastern Daily Press
I used to take my old father to see my sister in Bourne Lincolnshire by car early on Christmas morning. The last year we did it, I drove all the way from Great Yarmouth to Sutton Bridge in Lincolnshire without another car being ahead of me on the road. Not often that you can do that.
Michael Clarke, Great Yarmouth
Fresh flowers, candles, beautiful china and a dazzling white cloth adorned the table, and carefully placed speakers carried the classical voices of magnificent choirs through the tastefully decorated restaurant. It was luxury all the way, this Christmas and I have to admit, we were all feeling a little bit posh. Four courses of the season’s finest, with wines selected by experts, we were relaxed, sated and happy. Coffee was on the cards, but with at least half a dozen abstainers in our party, we were offered liqueurs as an alternative. The first one, was a hot, minty concoction, with a hint of aniseed. It took my breath away when I tried it, but it had a comforting quality, like a spoonful of medicine, soothing a tickly cough. Meanwhile, Ernie, our ‘tell it like it is’ elderly friend, placed his to his lips, swiftly tilted his head back and swallowed the spicy concoction in one go.
He made a kind of a “Khaarrrgh!” sound, as he slammed the tiny glass back onto the table and exclaimed in his loud Norfolk accent, “That’ll shift the old phlegm!” We all came back to Earth with a bit of a thud.....!
Margo Paterson, Norwich
There was a sign outside Mile Cross florists a few years ago which said “holy reefs”, it still makes me chuckle to this day.
Richard Thurling, Norwich
I think my most memorable Christmas moment was last year. I was four months pregnant and had been up A&E the whole day Christmas Eve with my Mum so I was behind on preparing the dinner anyway so by Christmas morning I was still flustered. I turned the oven on, got washed and dressed and put the turkey in. Waited and waited for the smell to start filling the house only to realise the oven had packed up.
Zoe Leske, Norwich
After a two year international custody battle, I’ve finally got my son here, so this is going to be the best Christmas ever!
Louise Kathleen, Norwich
My favourite memory from Christmas involves my nanny getting drunk at lunchtime, falling asleep mid afternoon and then waking up early and falling out with someone. Every. Single. Year. She was truly excellent.
Jessica Annie, Ipswich
I remember the last Christmas with my grandad in 2002. He was very frail by then and I had flown back from New York where I was living at the time. He used to write to me while I was there, just as he had always written to me when I was away at university or living in London. They were beautiful, long letters, the kind of thing that is now passing into history. Nobody writes letters any more. I can remember him sitting in his chair at my parents’ house as I told him that I was planning to move back to England. He knew that part of the reason I wanted to return was because of him. He looked at me and said, very quietly, “I’ve been thinking that you should stay there, if you are happy.” I knew what he was really saying. But I ignored him and came home anyway the following May. He died in the June. Christmas isn’t the same without him. It is good, but it isn’t the same. Even after my Nan died, he still used to do himself a stocking with an orange in it, just as he used to get when he was a boy. If he thought a present was rubbish, he would say so. The Christmas dinners he made were better than any I have ever tasted since. And I always got to sit next to him at the table. What an honour! He put sixpences in the pudding, and extras in his pocket for sneaking onto children’s plates when he thought we weren’t looking. He was my favourite ever person. I miss him, still.
Liz Nice, Group Features Editor, Archant
2009 was a special year. In the summer I’d got hitched to Matt on a beach in Greece, and then we decided to spend our first Christmas as husband and wife in New York. To say it was a different Christmas experience would be an understatement. One of the best things was that it was a true white Christmas – I don’t think I’ve ever experienced one of them here! After a breakfast of pancakes in an all-American diner, we spent the morning enjoying the sights of the city, before heading to Madison Square Garden to watch some basketball - NBA teams New York Knicks vs Miami Heat no less. Can you imagine the response if Premier League players were told they had to play on Christmas Day! For dinner we went to an all-you-can-eat Chinese, and then took in a film at the cinema on Times Square. Apparently it’s quite a common thing for families to go to the cinema on Christmas Day in the US. It would have been alright if we’d seen a decent film, but we went for A Christmas Carol, an animation of the beloved Dickens book with Jim Carrey providing the voice of Scrooge – it’s not a patch on The Muppet Christmas Carol. I’m not sure it’s how I’d like to spend Christmas every year, but was it memorable? Definitely!
Sophie Stainthorpe, Commercial Features Writer, Eastern Daily Press
My Gina and I were a newly engaged couple. It was Christmas Eve 1960, We had become engaged in the November and we were set to marry the following June. Christmas Eve had fallen on a Saturday and Gina was recovering from a bad cold but at that time nothing suppressed our enjoyment for long, life was being so good to us. A very convivial evening had been spent with Gina’s Mum and Dad,. We had been well fed and the whisky had flowed. Gina’s Dad was a natural host, the only sign he ever showed of having drunk a little too much was when he resorted to addressing all and sundry as “old boy” as individual names escaped him.
Gina had said she would like to attend Midnight Communion at the Church we were to be married in, Saint Mary’s and Saint Botolph’s Church at Whitton. With Christmas Eve falling on a Saturday it seemed a natural thing to want to do. Gina’s Dad insisted we took the car as Gina was still very much in the recovering stage. This was very much pre-breathalyser days and we set out with caution on a very cold and slippery night. We arrived at the church and, by chance, met with friends; in those days so many good things seemed to happen by chance. We all enjoyed the carols and then took communion together, later we wished each other a happy Christmas and made arrangements for a Boxing Day party at Pips. Such wonderful days I wish we had realised how lucky we were in those far off days.
Tony Mallett, Ipswich