Shshsh… hear anything outside?
That’ll be Suntie and his reindeer putting on a bit of speed roon the Neest to get back to Toyland afore ony new Covid restrictions. I wonder if the cooncil has given the old boy special dispensation to use the pedestrianised bittie o’ Union Street. Doot it.
No matter my age or circumstances, Christmas Eve always has a special excitement for me. I didn’t even feel badly done-by as a kid knowing mum would be working on Christmas Day and I’d be packed off to relatives. Most younger folk today barely believe it when you tell them it’s not that long ago (the 1960s) that December 25 was a normal working day for the majority of Scottish tradespeople, January 1 being their only festive day off.
Having young children always makes this time of year a special delight. Every year as I tucked them up, we’d listen for sleigh bells. Mind you, when you’ve got hyped-up wee ones and an equally high, young-at-heart Nana babysitting, it can pretty tricky.
Like when mine were about five, all three engaged in some hijinks involving a cupboard. Seems the door crushed my loon’s finger tip, which was so swollen next morning; every time he tried to open a present he flinched in agony. His dad wheeched him off to the Sick Kids where he was seen immediately, the blood under the nail released and he was back, pain-free and supercharged within the hour. Happy days.
Miracle On My Street
Much later, a silent, snowy 24th when I was twice divorced, feeling lonely in a new house and very much spirit-of-Christmas challenged. Around 10pm I heard something outside, almost like bells. Fit the? Poked my heidie round the kitchen blind… then ran oot the door and clapped – and shed a few tears.
Along the street came a glittering red-and-white vision: Santa on his sleigh! I kid you not. So near, I could almost touch him or stroke Rudolph, who looked like a huge, elegant horse.
Was I seeing things? No, it really was the great man himself, waving and smiling at me. The Miracle On My Street thanks, I later discovered, to the imagination of the good folk of the Gospel Hall along the road. My heart fair thumped and was filled with hope for the future.
A few years later, that future brought me the best Christmas blessings of all, my grandchildren. How priceless is the laughter they bring into all our lives.
One of the highlights came a pucklie years ago when my grandson was about three and, to my shame, well used to his Nana being a smoker. On Boxing Day, when I was about to reveal the playhouse Santa had left in my garden for them, I set the scene by saying I thought I’d heard bells or jingling or something on Christmas Eve.
Sez me: “But why on earth would Santa have been in my garden?” Sez he, quick as a flash: “He probably wanted to stop for a quick cigarette.”
May all of you have a wonderful, jingling bells time on December 25.