CHRISTMAS - Maureen Smith ©

'Champagne, Gran?' Looking up into the clear blue eyes of her adult grandson, she replied,

'Thanks Josh, I'd love one.' Josh had secretly been her favourite grandchild, probably because he was her first. His mother had post-natal depression after he was born, and for the first six weeks of his life she was his carer and had always felt a special bond with him.

The champagne tingled in her mouth and contrary to the saying that it goes to your head, it went straight to her legs. She grabbed the arm of the chair she was standing near and sat down, heavily.

'I'll just rest a while Josh, I'll be fine, just go and enjoy yourself.'

The sounds of Christmas day were familiar, the rustling of paper, the clinking of glasses, the happy chatter from the kitchen, so she closed her eyes and as memories swirled, she became lost in the past.


Her heart was pumping with excitement, it was Christmas morning, well almost morning, light was just tinting the sky red, and she wondered if Father Christmas had been. She pushed back the bedcovers and reached to the bottom of her bed for the empty Christmas pillowcase left there the night before, to find it now bulging. She pulled it up onto her bed and whispered to her younger sister, 'Wake up Emily, its Christmas!' Squeals of delight followed, and she shouted out, 'Mum, Dad, Father Christmas has been, come see.'

She was in a bubble of joy, wrapped in magic. The fragrance of the casuarina sapling, standing proudly in a bucket of sand, decorated with red and green crepe paper and the handmade star she made at school perched on top. The roasting rooster, his head lopped of the day before, along with the vegetables from Dad's garden, were sissling in the oven. The huge Christmas pudding loaded with sixpences, wrapped in a cloth, which her Grandma had made six weeks earlier then hung from the ceiling in the laundry to mature, was now bumping around in a pot of furiously boiling water. The treasures they found in their pillowcases were scattered over the loungeroom floor. What she cherished most was the tiny pink tin tea set, with forget-me-nots painted on each cup. The sounds outside - the whoops of the neighbourhood kids, the ringing of new bicycle bells, the "bang, gotcha, you're' dead" from the street cowboys, and Mum, Dad and Grandma sitting under the jacaranda tree clinking their beer glasses and wishing each other a Merry Christmas, all added to the enchantment she felt.


'Gran, are you okay?' Josh's concerned face peered down at her.

'Gosh, I must have dosed off, does anyone need help in the kitchen?'

'No, it's all under control, salads made, fish cooking on the barbie, and as Santa's been and the kids are all heads down on their new devices. The adults are going to have a quiet drink and a few nibbles as we exchange pressies.

They sat around the green plastic Christmas tree ablaze with twinkling lights, wine in hand and sourdough crackers with various toppings were passed around. Josh was the first to approach the collection of presents under the tree and picked up a large parcel, wrapped in blue shinny paper, a card on top. He sat next to Gran and kissed her on the cheek,

'Happy Christmas Gran, this is for you.'

She opened the card and read out loud,

'To my dearest and most special Gran, I love you, you are very special to me.' With damp eyes and slightly shaking hands she opened the parcel to find a pink box and inside a pink fine china tea set with little blue forget-me-nots on the cups.


Maureen Smith ©