top of page

Christmas Passed

A friend, raised in straightened circumstances, knew nothing of Christmas stockings. So as her own children grew, she did not follow that custom - of which her son learned in the school playground. Now adult, he told her how he remained silent as a knowing lad, but had felt deprived - and was determined to follow the custom when he had his own children!

We hand down will and testaments,

rich, valued signs inherited,

the festive customs we assumed,

now stark, stamp-sealed, red letter days.

Routine monotonies stepped back

as for a season, greeting us,

our world, enchantment, fanciful

with colour, bright, gold glitter sights,

those holidays found fantasy.

Those Christmas raptures stretch through life

from merry childhoods of delight;

as muscle memories remind

of much exotic, standard gone,

with stranger ways of countdown, plays

in metaphor, incarnate marks.

They will not know, great grand of mine,

stretched hose deformed, in stocking heel,

pink sugar mouse of fondant cream,

one walnut, tangerine in tow,

laid bed end, until dawn arose.

Ham breakfast, just on Christmas morn -

from where derived I have no clue -

so white unbrandied pudding sauce;

tree presents lodged in white-washed branch -

our pine pretence sans needle drop -

each sibling bought, spread through the week,

for each received, so each will give,

particulars I thought the norm.

Heirlooms preserved, family quirks,

like ancient lights, no safety first.

Now others knew no hanging row

from mantelpiece, fun fantasy,

or fireside breast to shout out list,

with carrot served, by sherry, hearth.

But daily children trade at school.

and playground chatter reared its head

presumed shared practice overheard,

as talk comparing riches spread,

and lodged in mind, those absent gifts.

Though reassuring love full known,

that marker set, in time deployed;

when grown, did institute what missed,

socks stretched from bulbous toe to knee.

As Christ from Xmas time excised,

our customary care required.

43 views2 comments



Very good. Its an interesting thing to ponder on. Those quirky individual family traditions get passed down and maybe spoken about in playgrounds but now have to compete with completely new traditions spread by TV and social media. 20 years ago "Elf on a Shelf" hadn't been written, now its as common as Christmas Stockings. Have we lost something in the process or is this just a natural evolution like the tale of St Nick changed over the years into the modern Santa?


Jarlath Busby
Jarlath Busby

Evokes memories of delight unpacking sock contents- a walnut whip, chocolate pennies, marbles, maybe a superball but always a satsuma in the toe

bottom of page