Over the last couple of weeks I've written about my current Christmas traditions, but there was one childhood Christmas tradition that I really want to talk about.
It first started when I was in primary school, I can't remember the exact age I was, but I must have been at least eight. We were having Christmas at one of my aunt's and uncle's place in the country. There were only a few days until Christmas and we didn't have a Christmas tree. No tree equaled no presents under the tree for the kids to prod and pry, so this was kind of a big deal!
Then one night my uncle came up to us (all of the cousins) and said in a rough, seadog voice, "We're going on a Christmas Tree raid."
We all perked up. "What's a Christmas Tree raid?"
"We're going to steal a Christmas tree," he said with a glint in his eye.
It was so thrilling and shocking.
"You're going to need an alias," he continued.
"What's an alias?" someone asked.
"A fake name, in case someone stops us and asks what we're doing. I'm the King of China."
My cousins piped up with who their aliases were going to be and I panicked. I only knew of Princess Diana and she had already been taken. I didn't have an alias! Disaster!
As we piled into the car along with my dad and another uncle, we were handed Kool Mint lollies. "They're your suicide pills just in case," we were told. What an adventure! (Though I think my sister ate hers before we left the driveway!)
The car drove slowly out of the driveway, lights on the lowest setting and glided down the hill. We had to keep quiet and watch for other cars. Then we drove on to a gravel road and bumped along until we found our Christmas tree.
"Keep quiet," my uncle growled as we whispered and giggled in the backseat. He then proceeded to grab a chainsaw out of the boot, start it up and let the whine echo through the forest. Quick as a flash he cut down the tree and the men tied it on to the roof of the car and we sped home.
Christmas Tree stolen!
It was such fun, such an amazing thrill and each year we begged to be taken on another raid. There were a few more over the years, each more fun than the last. My uncle sure knew how to make it exciting.
Now, before anyone gets upset and appalled that our parents were teaching us to steal, let me say I'm pretty sure the trees we 'raided' were on a neighbour's property and my uncle had been given permission to take it before we went out. Christmas tree conifers generally don't grow randomly in the Australian bush!
Whenever I think of Christmas as a child, I think of the raids and of all the fun I used to have with my cousins running amok around the house, or swimming and surfing and trying to bags the first shower afterwards. There are only a couple of presents that I remember and they were things my parents made for me.
So tell me, what are your favourite memories of Christmas as a child?