What do you remember about Christmas as a child? I remember that Father Christmas was one of the worst fad-dieters out there; one year he was porky and bursting out his red, scratchy suit and the next, he was this slick and lean, lycra-pants wearing string-bean. I also recall that Father Christmas had access to a variety of transportation methods – ox cart, tractor and even a green John Deer lawn mower. One year while on holiday with relatives in South Africa I remember him speaking to us down the chimney while we all sat around the dinner table on Christmas eve, his booming voice saying “Ho Ho Ho! I have brought you lots of presents this year but you will only get them if you promise to be good.” I remember the sleepless nights and being wide awake in the early hours of Christmas day, I remember trying to go through my Christmas stocking that had been placed at the end of my bed as quietly as possible so I didn’t wake up my parents in the nearby room and be told by them to go back to sleep because it was 4am. I also remember being desperate for the Christmas day church service to hurry up and finish so I could rush home and open the presents that were under the Christmas tree – although every single year my Dad would always insist that we all had breakfast together as a family after the church service and only then, after everyone at the table had finished their breakfast were we allowed to go to the Christmas tree. These were always the longest breakfasts of the year! After breakfast we would all gather around the Christmas tree and my Dad would hand out our gifts one by one, making sure that after each gift we received we would go up to the person who had given us our gift and thank them, my Dad and Brother would get a handshake and a thank you while my Mum and Sister got a kiss and a hug. I am forever grateful for these moments and they hold a very special place in my heart.
However, the pure magic surrounding Christmas is also what I remember most. I spent many utterly absorbed moments imagining what it must be like to trudge through snow (a rather foreign concept for a Zimbabwean child), conjuring up the shining red nose of Rudolph and the busy, brightly clothed elves knocking about with their carpentry tools. I would fantasise about all the other children, all over the world, putting out mince pies and sherry for Santa. I would try to recreate the lights and colours of cities as Father Christmas flew by. I thought of tricky landings in dense, impenetrable jungles with the runners of the sleigh stuck thick with red mud or of the smooth landings in vast, empty orange-red deserts and lush green European meadows. I wondered how Father Christmas managed to visit all these exotic and far flung places of the world in just one night!
Christmas ignited my imagination and introduced me to the magic of creative thought. I learnt that I had the ability to create fantasy creatures and outlandish scenarios that could transport me into worlds far from what I knew. I could travel through time, under oceans or through the stars. The gift of imagination truly is the most wonderful present I have ever received. Thanks Father Christmas!
Have a wonderful Christmas reader! I hope a little Christmas magic is in store for you.
Imagine. Explore. Create.