Secrets We Left Behind
My Perfect Christmas Morning Would Be… by Susan Elliot Wright
2014/12/23  |  By:   |  Features  |  

My perfect Christmas morning would be…

Waking to find that snow has fallen overnight, but knowing for sure that it’ll be gone by the day after Boxing Day. Then listening to carols on the radio – favourites are Hark the Herald Angels and Silent night – while having breakfast with my husband, probably smoked salmon and scrambled eggs, washed down with bucks fizz. Actually, who am I kidding – scrap the orange juice. One of the joys of Christmas is that you’re allowed to drink alcohol and eat chocolate at inappropriate times.

Then, still in pyjamas, we’d open presents in the sitting room, which should be scented with pine from the Christmas tree. Clove-studded oranges in a bowl on the hearth will add to the fragrance of Christmas day. Ideally, a fire would be crackling in the grate, but in reality it’ll be central heating, boosted by the glow of a coal-effect electric fire. The tree will be bedecked with vintage tree decorations, including little gold fans made out of wrapping paper by my children about 25 years ago. They are all that remain of several treasured home-made decorations. At one time, we had tiny drums made from half a loo roll middle, red crêpe paper and gold ribbon; I hung those things on the tree until they literally fell apart.

Our actual, real-life Christmas morning will be very like this, except that the idea of lounging around in PJs is a fantasy because Henry, our big black dog, will be demanding his walk by this time. Dog-walking on Christmas day is fun, though – you meet dogs wearing Santa hats or with tinsel tucked into their collars. One year, my dog-walking mates and I gathered at a prearranged time with flasks of mulled wine and mince pies on Christmas morning – very festive.

This year, I’ll be cooking for the family who’ll arrive around late morning, by which time the aroma of roasting turkey will be adding to the Christmassy smells. On a truly ‘perfect’ Christmas morning, I’ll have received a clone of myself in my stocking, and she’ll be the one in the kitchen peeling sprouts, making gravy, and swearing at the too-slow oven, while I’m relaxing with a Baileys, eating chocolates and watching the grandchildren open their presents.

One thing that would make it even more perfect would be if I could zoom back in time to when my children were little and just waking up to find their Christmas stockings – old socks, usually – all lumpy and knobbly, stuffed with good things that rustle when you move them. Long before dawn, the kids would pile in to our room in their pyjamas to show us what Santa had brought them. I remember them sitting on the bed, surrounded by wrapping paper and gold foils from chocolate coins as they attempt to master a flashing Yoyo or prepare to send a Slinky down the stairs.

Telling your kids to go back to bed because it’s too early is bonkers; nothing is as joyful, magical and enchanting as watching your children at 5am on Christmas morning!

Susan Elliot Wright

Christmas Q&A!

Q: What is your favourite Christmas song?
A: Got to be Merry Christmas Everybody, by Slade

Q: Baileys or mulled wine?
A: Both, please. (Sorry, can’t choose – I am a mere mortal)

Q: Favourite ever Christmas present?
A: A sundial bearing the words ‘Grow old with me, the best is yet to be.’ from my husband.

Q: Mince pie or Yule log?
A: Mince pie (with a dollop of brandy butter slipped under the lid)

Q: What would you like to find in your Christmas stocking this year?
A: Slimmer thighs! (Or a clone of myself to do all the stuff I can’t be arsed to do)