South Devon, England

Christmas time in England is just magical...This year I asked my dear friend Karen Ann Hunter if she would share some of her childhood memories of celebrating Christmas in England...Here is her lovely story....love you Karen!! xK

Memories of Christmas
Karen Ann Hunter

Christmas in sleepy, scenic, South Devon, England, was always quite cold, damp and usually icy rather than snowy. There would be great anticipation if the weather forecast predicted snow on Christmas Day.

We lived right by the sea so that made it unlikely to have a white Christmas but if a snowy forecast came to fruition I would wake up and look out of my bedroom window to see a canvas of white that no longer resembled the nondescript working class road I lived on with my mum and dad. Even the parked cars became a work of art from my vantage point.

When I was about eleven, my parents decided to change from using the traditional Christmas sack at the bottom of the bed to a more interactive approach. During the night, as I slept, they left a trail of small wrapped items from my bed into their bedroom. I figure that was more to do with watching me open presents from the comfort of their own bed and once I had children of my own I realized why that was such a treat.

The bigger presents were under the Christmas tree downstairs, which was always the real thing despite the pine needles and general mess. I was an only child and I confess I did occasionally wish I had brothers and sisters to share the excitement with. I was 12 in 1965 and my passions were art, music and Beano and Dandy books.

I remember vividly getting a ‘How to draw a horse’ book, it was huge, or seemed huge at the time, probably 16” by 12”. I loved that book so much and later painted two horses in a mural right across the living room wall. My mother kept it there for many years after I had left home but eventually they succumbed to redecoration.

I was a massive Beatle fan and my mother recalls that my nose would be up to the screen if Paul McCartney appeared on our black and white TV. I remember Christmas TV viewing always included the hilarious Morecombe and Wise comedy show, when major stars of the time would forfeit their dignity and allow themselves to be made complete fools of in crazy, funny story lines.There was also The London Palladium variety show and Christmas Top Of The Pops.

In 1984 I found myself appearing on TOTP with Gary Numan when I was touring with him as a backing singer.

Apparently we did not get a color TV until 1972, one of the first things we watched was the Winter Olympics Ski jumping from Garmisch Partenkirchen, a beautiful town in Southern Germany where coincidentally I was to live and work as a singer for a couple of years in a band a few years later.

My only other vivid memory of my childhood Christmases was going to church at midnight on Christmas Eve, how much fun it was to be allowed to stay up so late, this was the after bedtime world of grown ups!

I was in the local church choir and usually sang a solo piece on Christmas Eve. When I was about 14 my parents had taken me to a pub earlier that evening, I had imbibed a little too much wine and got the giggles in church but it did not impair my solo performance.

My mother tells me that was the year I sang so beautifully the place was full of snivels at my rendition of Silent Night. Oh how I miss those simple, enchanting and uncomplicated days.

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