People often ask on Instagram what is your best ever Christmas gift? So I thought I would write a post telling the stories behind some of my Christmas gift memories and traditions. We all know Christmas is not about how much you spend on someone but the meaning of the gifts you buy. It isn’t the price of the Christmas gifts that linger in the memory, but the sentiment behind them.
My Dad always used to video us opening our presents on Christmas morning. We did not appreciate it at the time. Waiting for Dad to set up the camera seemed to take an eternity while we eagerly eyed our stockings. But I am terribly nostalgic and I have edited these together onto one recording. Watching it and looking back over past Christmassses is something I love to do in the run up to the festive season.
So here are some of my best Christmas gift memories and why I love them:
The one that was the best Christmas present ever
Amiga 600: This is the answer I give on Instagram without hesitation. I realise this badly ages me, but my best ever Christmas gift was / still is my A600HD Commodore Amiga computer. I received this for Christmas in 1992 from my parents as a joint present with my sister. We are talking the dark ages in computer terms, there was no Playstation or mobile phone; this was one of the first ways to play an electronic game.
I’m pretty sure that it was the only thing we wanted – good job too, as they were as expensive back then as they are now. My sister and I had a sneaky suspicion that we were getting a computer. In the weeks leading up to Christmas, any guest that came to the house would be taken off to some secret location and would take some time to return. We knew something exciting was afoot!
When Christmas day came we were overjoyed to receive our shiny new computer and floppy disks (floppy disks!) with games on. This was back when anyone who owned a computer could just run you off a copy of a game onto a disk.
My Sister and I spent many happy hours, days and weeks on that computer. I don’t think we ever completed a single game. But we definitely had our favourites: Magic Pockets, Back to the Future III, Lotus Turbo Challenge and James Pond (yes, pond – you were a fish?!?).
I still have my Amiga 600, more than 25 years later. You don’t get better Christmas gift value than that. When we moved last year we sold and got rid of a lot of stuff, but this is my best Christmas gift ever, how could I part with it? It even still works and sometimes my husband and I will set it up and have an afternoon nostalgically lost in a world of terrible graphics and even more terrible game play. It makes me very happy.
An old annual tradition
So, Christmas is all about traditions and there are some presents that you get every year; chocolate, socks, smellies etc. you know the drill. But there was an annual Christmas gift which I looked forward to receiving every year and created Christmas gift memories from 1996 to 2013.
The latest Terry Pratchett Discworld novel. This started, appropriately enough with Hogfather in 1996. This book is the closest you will get to a Discworld Christmas special, with Death filling in for the Hogfather (Santa Claus) when he goes missing.
This tradition continued every year until Raising Steam in 2013, the last book published in the main Discworld series prior to Terry Pratchett’s death in March 2015. It was a tradition that spanned all my teenage years and into my thirties. It makes me sad just writing this and knowing that there will never be anymore.
As a bookworm I would look forward to these new installments of my favourite world and characters. Even when I was old enough to buy them myself on publication day, I would hold off and wait until I got my annual Christmas gift.
A new annual tradition
One old Christmas tradition has come to an end, but a new one has started for new Christmas gift memories. This one might seem an odd choice, but as I say, I’m a nostalgic sort and there is nothing I like better than a good Christmas tradition.
My mother in law buys me the M&S Brandy Snap Collection every year. She has done this for probably the last 10 years? As I have said before on this blog, to me, Marks and Spencer is a cornerstone of a British Christmas. The brandy snap collection which they do every year is about £6. It contains a small layer each of plain, white, milk and dark chocolate dipped brandy snaps. When do you get to eat brandy snaps other than at Christmas? Never. To me, it is Christmas in a box.
It has become one of those small annual traditions that all come together to make Christmas everything that I love. I would actually be quite upset if M&S stopped doing them. I really look forward to enjoying them on one of those twixmas evenings. You know the ones, when you don’t know or care what day it is and all you have eaten is leftovers and chocolate. We sit down with some Christmas telly and munch our way through the whole box in one sitting, bliss! It is now always the first item I check is part of the M&S Christmas range and the first item on my Christmas list.
I hope you have enjoyed this little look into my Christmas gift memories. If you liked this you can read more about my other Christmas traditions here.
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