I find that as I get older I find it far more difficult to get into the Christmas spirit. Not because I am at all Scrooge-like, before you get the wrong idea, but more because I suppose I'd quite like Christmases to be exactly how I remember them as a child. Not going to happen, is it?!
I've just got back from a Christingle service at our local village church at Ashdon, near Saffron Walden. It brought back a lot of childhood memories, even though such services didn't exist way back when. There was quite a feudal set-up, with the Vestey family, who own most of the local land always sitting right at the front. Our family also used to sit in the same seats (much further back!) and I was irrationally disappointed to find they were already taken when we arrived today.
The local church doesn't have a full time vicar any longer. Today's could have been in Dad's Army. His eyebrows were bushier than Denis Healey's and I imagined that at any minute he might shout out "Don't panic, Mr Mainwaring!"
I have rarely seen the church so packed. There were around 200 in the congregation, which in a village of around 800 is quite a lot. There were lots of 'yummy mummies' with their kids, who all took part in the service.
As you may have gathered from previous posts, I am not at all religious, but I do love all the Christmas traditions and rituals. Call me a hypocrite if you like, I don't really give a monkey's!
Sitting here with my parents, by the fire, I'm taken back to Sunday afternoons in the early 1970s when we'd play a card game called Spite 'n' Venom then watch Catweazle, the Clangers and the Golden Shot, followed later on by The Brothers. That's if there wasn't a power cut, which there often was.
Those were the days.