In my house, when I was small, Christmas started when the bell rang on Christmas Eve and the living door opened to reveal the magic Christmas tree in the corner. On the opposite side, there was a 3in1 radio/record player/TV set playing the same record every year, starting with church bells as we entered the room. We had to sing a couple of songs with that record before we were allowed to check out the presents under the tree.


I had no idea how the tree got into the living room who set it up and who put that record on.

To be honest, I didn’t want to know. I wanted to remain convinced it was the ‘Christkind’, the baby Jesus, with his magical powers. It was, after all, the ‘Christkind’ who organised the presents – setting up the tree and getting that record going was, in comparison, a piece of cake.

Until one year on Christmas Eve, I opened our kitchen door and stared at the abyss: there was my father just coming in with our Christmas Tree! My parents didn’t think that this was a big deal, they thought I was now grown up enough to learn that life is less magical and more practical hands-on.

Although everybody in our house knows where the tree comes from and who’s putting it up, Christmas was really magic, again. Everybody got lovely presents – but it wasn’t because of the presents. We had a great meal (though the turkey was a bit dry:) – but it wasn’t because of the meal either. It was magic, because our family was together for a day, having a good time – something I never thought we’d ever have together ever again. Love was all around.

Happy Christmas – even, no: especially, if it is full of memories of times gone by.