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Cynthia’s Cherished Christmas Tales

As we prepare to deck the halls, embrace the holiday spirit, and the aroma of holiday treats fills the air, Cumberland View Aged Care resident, Cynthia Herd, reflects on Christmas memories that have shaped her life and continue to warm her heart.

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“I remember being very excited to see if Father Christmas had come while I had slept. Instead of a stocking I had a sock, and it would be full of beautiful things like oranges, apples, and nuts” she says. Growing up in Ipswich, UK during the second world war was a time when fruit was a luxury, and despite the challenges, Cynthia’s mother made sure Christmas remained a special occasion for her family. With her father often away, the family’s Christmas routine included a chilly walk to the 7 am church service, followed by a heartfelt Christmas lunch at her grandmother’s home.

Cynthia fondly recalls, “Christmas lunch was always roast chicken with Yorkshire pudd and vegetables. We always had a Christmas pudding which delighted us, as it was lit with a brandy flame and presented to the table.”

The pudding, infused with a cherished family tradition, held a special place in Cynthia’s heart. She continued with this tradition, passing down the magic from one Christmas to the next: “Silver sixpence were put inside the pudding for the children to find. I continued the tradition of placing silver pieces in the pudding which we put aside to use again next year.”

Cynthia’s favourite Christmas memory is etched in the joy of having her father return home post war. The reunion of the entire family during those Christmas celebrations created lasting imprints of love and togetherness.

Another fond memory for Cynthia involves witnessing her mother sew a dress for her each Christmas, perfectly matching her winter coat and muff. The anticipation of wearing this special dress on Christmas day added an extra layer of magic to the festive season – “I loved watching my mother sew and couldn’t wait for Christmas so I could wear my new dress,” Cynthia said.

Recalling a funny Christmas moment, Cynthia shares a glimpse into church services where children, including herself, would participate so there was a touch of humour added to the sacred occasion. “The choir boys would always pull faces at the vicar when his back was turned, and we would all try not to laugh” Cynthia recalls. “I think the vicar knew what was happening, but he was such a kind man that he must have seen the funny side of it too.”

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When asked to describe what Christmas means to her in three words, Cynthia chose “FAMILY, LOVE, and GIVING.” These words encapsulate the core of Cynthia’s Christmas spirit. For her, the holiday season is a time to be surrounded by loved ones, to share the warmth of love, and to express generosity and kindness.

As we celebrate this Christmas season, let’s take a moment to reflect on the timeless traditions and precious memories that make this time of year so special. Cynthia’s journey through the Christmases of her life serves as a reminder of the enduring magic that resides in the simple joys of the season. May your holidays be filled with the spirit of family, love, and giving.