Memories of Christmases with her cousins are recalled by the BBC Look East presenter
OUR DAUGHTER recently had to do a “life map” for a school project, showing the events and the people that have been most important in her life so far. One of the things she was adamant about including was Christmas - because it makes her so happy. She didn’t mean materialistically, but emotionally.
When I was growing up, we used to have massive family Christmases. My parents ran a boarding school, so there were plenty of beds, and we used to have up to 30 relations staying for a few nights. Those bonds forged with the family over my childhood have stayed, even though we are spread out across the country - and the world.
This year one of my younger cousins got married - a wonderful chance to reunite with the extended family. My niece took a photo of four of us cousins together at the reception. It was only a quick snap, but I love it. I grew up with these girls. We went on childhood holidays together, we put on plays at Christmas, we remember each other’s trials and tribulations at school. And here we all are, in our 40s, with different trials and tribulations - but still caring and supporting each other.
Now our children benefit from those bonds. They have a whole network of extended family members who are invested in them and will always be there to help if need be. None of
“Those bonds forged with the family over my childhood have stayed, even though we are spread out across the country - and the world”
us can host the huge Christmas sleepovers we used to have, but people still travel long distances to see each other - even if it’s just for a long lunch.
First and foremost, Christmas is a religious celebration – that goes without saying. But it is also a way for us to show our love for each other - through presents, food or even shared laughter at the TV. Nothing beats the love of your family. It definitely warrants a place on any life map!
Above: Susie Fowler-Watt and her cousins