None of us can truly remember our childish wonder at Christmas but we can look back through adult eyes with enormous gratitude for the little things which grown-ups did to give us wonderful memories.
For me the infant school party was truly magical. We each took in a cake or something similar which was whisked away from us as soon as we arrived at school in the morning. The morning of the school party was a time of barely controlled excitement. Each classroom had been decorated using the craft creations of the children. One year we made snowflakes to stick on the window, another year was cotton wool snowmen and yet another a host of angels. Crepe paper streamers would be high on the ceiling in a way which I am told would make any fire officer these days need more than an angel to soothe him. Each classroom had a tree usually hung with toilet roll lanterns and there would be a huge banner wishing everyone Merry Christmas.
Lunch was usually a little early and then we were shooed out into the playground so that teachers, school staff and a bevy of parents could set to work. The dinner ladies must have had a hard time with us that day!
Eventually we were allowed back into school for The Party. Games took place in our classrooms and always included Pass the Parcel, Musical Statues and whatever else the teacher could think of.
And finally, the party tea. This was always laid out on long tables in the dining room by the kitchen staff and those wonderful parents. It was less than two hours since lunch but I don't remember being even slightly inhibited when it came to eating my share. Sandwiches, jelly, cakes went down in rapid succession.
At last there would be a lull in the noise and then there would be a huge BANG! Santa and his sleigh had arrived on the school roof! All eyes went up to the high windows around the hall to watch Santa striding along the roof of the adjacent corridor on his way down to an ecstatic band of children.
Soon he came into the hall carrying a huge sack. Had we been good? Of course, Santa, we were always good. He asked his question of the whole school as he arrived and then of each class before he handed out presents. He checked with the teachers that we had indeed been good and we looked anxiously at Miss Higgins and Miss Gulliver as they gave their reports.
All too soon, Santa left and we had a final story before we too were sent home to tell our parents what a wonderful time we had had.
All this took place early in the final week of term. It had to be so that there would be time to eat the rest of the huge cakes our mums had sent for the party.