Growing up, we received gifts from Father Christmas. It was never Santa Claus until we made the move from Melbourne to Canberra. I don't know if the change in terminology is a Victoria/New South Wales thing, or if the name more commonly used just changed over time. Either way, it was a visit from Father Christmas that I looked forward to.
Most years I looked forward to the presents entirely too much. Not only my own presents, everyone's presents! I just loved that we were all getting something. I still love seeing nicely wrapped gifts under a tree, even if I know that none of them are for me.
One of my earliest Christmas memories is tip-toeing out from my room in the night, to the living room where Father Christmas left his gifts. I remember standing there and looking at the shapes, trying to imagine what could be hidden under the wrapping paper, but not touching anything. Going back to sleep seemed impossible. It was a long night!
When morning finally came the excitement was too much to bear... my stomach was churning... I unwrapped my toys with a bucket by my side, and I used it. From that point on the entire family would get up at whatever time I awoke (typically 2-4am) on Christmas day and we would all unwrap our gifts, then go back to bed. I insisted that everyone had to get up, it was no fun if we weren't all opening presents together!
I don't remember if this was before or after I found out "the truth". Finding out wasn't a big deal for me. I had my suspicions and one year asked my father about it. His response... "Do you really think I would spend that much money on toys for you?". Faced with the competing concepts of a large red-suited man who flew around the entire world in a night, somehow getting in and out of houses and depositing presents without being seen OR my Dad buying lots of toys, what was I to believe? That kept me believing in Father Christmas for at least another year.
Speaking of Father Christmas, here he is.
posted one of my efforts at fixing up my family photos. I wasn't entirely happy with the result. Inspired by a comment from John Patten, I tried again. I'm almost happy with it now. Almost! As I look at it now, I can see half a dozen things that I could have done better, but I think I'm on the right track.
Joining in the Geneabloggers Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories fun