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Christmas Nostalgia – 5 Sparkly, Christmassy traditions, that make Christmas, Christmas.

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In the haze of forward thinking and modern technology, it can be easy to ‘forget’ our cherished memories, lose sight of the moments and traditions that we thought we would hold onto forever.

Christmas day, for many of us, takes us back to our traditions and our long lost memories. We might not admit it, but when we go to bed on Christmas Eve and wake up on Christmas morning, we can feel that tug of nostalgia in our gut, reminding us of how we felt when we were children, waking up to the white snow outside and the presents under the tree.

Of course Christmas wasn’t all fun and games as a child. Yes, we had worries. Every child worries at Christmas. Deeply concerning thoughts crept into our minds on Christmas Eve: Santa’s safety, timeliness and knowledge of addresses when travelling to our homes. Would he make it in time? Would he know where to go? Would he give us the presents we asked for? Did he even receive that list we wrote him a while back? Would the reindeer be strong enough to carry him all the way across the world to get to our tiny little lit up house on the corner of the street?

That big, red stocking or pillow at the end of the bed. Exciting, but daunting. How full would it be? How many potatoes would we get? Would we be given the ultimate sign of naughtiness – a big lump of coal?

The day of Christmas would finally arrive, after much tossing and turning through the night, all our fears and anxieties would be diminished. All the worries would be gone. Because it would be Christmas day, and everything was good on Christmas day when we were children. Everything. Our stocking or pillowcase was full with treats. More presents under the tree. An amazing feast at dinner. And anything that wasn’t good, we didn’t notice.

Looking back now on those fond Christmas memories, we can see it was all rather simple.

And now, in 2015, we are grown ups and our lives and Christmas days are slightly more complicated. Who will sit where at the dinner table? Will Uncle Bert get roaring drunk again? What time do I have to start cooking the turkey? 6am. Yes that’s early. And it gets more expensive by the year. We start to consider the ‘bigger picture’ more as adults. We think about the people less fortunate than us at Christmas. Suddenly, the presents and the food doesn’t matter in the same way, we are lucky to be in such a warm and cosy house at Christmas time. And we realise this. Christmas is just not as simple as it used to be.

But in and amongst all the complications, we still have some traditions at Christmas that transport us back to the days of our childhoods and will continue to give us that Christmassy feeling of nostalgia in days to come.

Here are 5 sparkly, Christmassy traditions that still make Christmas, Christmas.

  • The Christmas tree: Tall, small, thin, fat, fake, real, green, white, blue! They come in all shapes and sizes, our dear Christmas trees. One of the best parts of Christmas that we all tend to get sentimental about, is decorating the tree. Baubles and tinsel and glitter and fairy lights. Lovely. And the on-going Christmas tree debate – when is it the right time to put up your Christmas tree? Have you put yours up yet? Is November 25th just a little too early?
  • Christmas dinner: Most of us who are lucky enough to have a Christmas dinner do not finish their dinner without feeling FULL. To the brim. This is because Christmas day in our society = indulgence day, and that’s what we do. Indulge. Turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, roast potatoes, mash, bread pudding, gravy, beef, ham, finished off with Christmas pudding with a threepenny (be careful not to choke), in the middle and quite rightly covered in double cream. Check out the full traditional Christmas recipe here. Hungry anyone?
  • Gifts: The gift of a present. The gift of kindness. The gift of a memory. Whether you receive one, or give twenty, usually there’s something for us to open and to wrap up and give on Christmas day. It’s certainly noticeable that as we get older there seems to be more wrapping and less opening! But that’s all part of the fun! We give and receive Christmas cards; filled with festive greetings from people we thought had forgotten about us. We, our children, our grandchildren, wake up to our stockings at the end of our beds, filled with gifts, satsumas, potatoes and notebooks. Blue tack and sellotape. Chocolate and sweets. And maybe we are too old for a stocking now – but we still remember. And each year, we hope and we wish that Santa Claus will be kind to us, just one more time. Buy our books today – a perfect gift option.
  • Santa Claus: Ho Ho Ho. Also known as Father Christmas. That guy with the long white beard and the big belly in his red coat and his heavy black boots. Travelling on his sleigh from Lapland, across the starry night sky led by his reindeer, ‘Rudolph the red nose reindeer, had a very shiny nose…’ Uh oh, getting carried away. So then, Santa. Everyone’s favourite guy. Ho Ho Ho. 
  • Christmas music: Christmas carols, Christmas songs and Christmas bells really remind us of the Christmases of our Childhood. Have a listen to some Christmas carols and songs here. Go on. Get yourself in the festive spirit!
  • Mince pies, Mulled wine, Memories. The three M’s at Christmas. Warm Mince pie with hot and spiced mulled wine. Making memories that last forever with family and people we care about. Christmas is for sharing, giving, and making memories. And making memories is what we all love about Christmas, no matter how old or young we are.

 

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Yorkshire Nostalgia

Yorkshire

Places to visit in Yorkshire for some reight good old nostalgia!

Yorkshire. Eee by gum. Yorkshire. Renowned for its Yorkshire puddings & gravy, its delightful tea and, of course, we can’t forget its reight friendly and down t’earth inhabitants. Like me! So what else is there in Yorkshire? Where do you go if you want to revisit the past, relive memories, get t’bottom of some good old Yorkshire ‘eritige? I’ve gathered together a list of 10 nostalgic things to do in th’land of Yorkshire for those of you looking for a bit of nostalgia and history. And hopefully a day trip to one of these places will leave you with even more happy memories. Get yer cuppas ready and yer pies out. We’re off.

  • 1. Leeds: Lovely Leeds. Home of the much loved Marks and Spencer, the splendid County Arcade and let’s not forget, Leeds United Football Club! Want some Leeds heritage? Well, on the theme of Marks and Spencer, today I’d recommend the Marks and Spencer’s Heritage trail. The trail takes visitors to heritage points across the city, from the Marks and Spencer’s original market stall at Kirkgate to the unique Marks in Time Exhibition at the Marks and Spencer’s archive. An amazing opportunity to see the sites of Leeds through the eyes of Marks and Spencer!

    county arcade mid 1960s leeds
    County Arcade, Leeds, Mid 1960s
  • 2. Halifax: Halifax is full to the brim of industrial landmarks and places to visit. The best place to visit in Halifax, in my humble Yorkshire opinion, is the Piece Hall, which is currently closed due to an incredible transformation that will be open for the world to see in 2016. The Piece Hall is a must-see heritage site and a bit of a hidden gem in the town of Halifax. It originally opened in 1779 as a market place for textile trading and has since become a lovely little cobbled area with the same delightful historical architecture, containing unique shops and cafes. The new transformation will be filled with tasteful shops, cafes and a history interpretation centre! Intrigued?  I certainly am.

    Walking through the cobbled streets of Halifax
    Walking through the cobbled streets of Halifax
  • 3. York: With the York Dungeons, the Jorvik Viking museum and its endless array of monumental and historical buildings, York is one of those places you must visit if you are interested in heritage, British history & nostalgia. One thing you must do, is visit the York Minster, one of the most fantastic cathedrals in the world. Climb the central tower. The climb will be long but you’ll be greeted with outstanding views of York from the top. Absolutely beautiful. I very much doubt you’ll be disappointed in the York Minster expedition.

    Aerial View of York, 1959
    Aerial View of York, 1959
  • 4. Wakefield: Another industrial city with many interesting historical sites, Wakefield is home of the Yorkshire Sculpture park, the fascinating Wakefield museum and various castles and old battlegrounds. What do I recommend mostly? The National Coal Mining Museum. Do you really want to experience and re-live some history? Get yer sen t’coal mining museum! Travel 140 metres underground and get a feel for mining in one of Britain’s oldest mining museums. So interesting and so much fun!

    Horse Drawn Buses in Wakefield, 1905
    Horse Drawn Buses in Wakefield, 1905
  • 5. Barnsley: Recognised as another industrial town, well known for glass making and coal mining, Barnsley is proper Yorkshire a’ tell thee! With its 700-year-old market and its beautiful architectural town hall, (now a museum), Barnsley is a lovely place to visit with the family. For the most lovely of days out with yer’ bairns, visit Cannon Hall in Barnsley… A stunning hall with a charming farm filled with sheep and pigs and goats. Cannon Hall even has llamas. True Yorkshire style!

    Outdoor Market, Barnsley, Exact date unknown.
    Outdoor Market, Barnsley, Exact date unknown.
  • 6. Haworth: The lovely town in Yorkshire where The Railway Children was set, and home to the Bronte sisters (writers of Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights). Such an idyllic place to visit, with its cobbled streets, dinky cafes, and shops such as Mrs Beighton’s sweet shop, which is filled with tasty nostalgic treats like sweet tobacco and pear drops. Just talking about the sweetshop makes my mouth water for the tastes of sweet nostalgia. The really unique thing to do in Haworth is to visit the Keighley and Worth Railway station, which opened in 1867. You get to ride on a train and get a true feel for how things were on the trains in days gone by. It’s one of those places that manages to transport you back to the era of the Bronte sisters without much effort. 100% nostalgia. 100% love it.

    Bus on Skipton road, Keighley, near Haworth
    Bus on Skipton road, Keighley, near Haworth
  • 7. Hull: Hull is the 2017 city of Culture and I think this is well deserved! Hull has lots to offer, from its dock and harbour to its its old town brimming with medieval churches and fascinatingly built buildings, with pubs like The White Heart and the Old Black Boy, which are rich with history and heritage, there is always something to do in Hull which invites you to re-live history and feel nostalgic in some way. You can visit William Wilberforce’s house or take a trip on ‘The Larkin Trail’, which takes you on a journey through Hull in the eyes of the poet, Philip Larkin. Hull, another city, which is wildly underrated and deeply rich in history.

    Beatles film in Hull.
    Beatles film in Hull.
  • 8. Sheffield: Sheffield. Land of the Steel. And a very popular northern city for many, a city that grew wonderfully in the industrial revolution, and although it is an up and coming, popular city for young people, Sheffield still keeps the memories of its past alive through various attractions that give visitors a chance to get a feel for what took place in Sheffield in yesteryear.  The Sheffield Museums Trust runs three museums, Kelham Island Museum, Abbeydale Industrial Hamlet and the Shepherd Wheel, which all produce various history workshops and exhibitions. Do Not Miss the Victorian Festive Market at the Kelham Island Museum on the 5th 6th December this year. I’ll see you there. sheffield fargate in 1950s (1)
  • 9. Whitby: Ah the chuffin’ lovely Whitby with its unbelievable fish ‘n’ chips, the exquisite Whitby abbey overlooking the sea and its picturesque shops and cafes. What a town! The Whitby churchyard is the setting where the ‘Dracula’ novels were based, so it is often thought of as an old gothic town, therefore has various gothic themed activities such as a ghost walk at night-time and Dracula’s experience on the main strip. So much fun and sooooo bloomin’ gorgeous! There are even arcades in Whitby, if you are feeling truly nostalgic for some 2p gambling! If you haven’t been to Whitby – go!

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    Beautiful Whitby
  • 10. Hebden Bridge: Another idyllic setting in the North Of England providing canal cruises, cobbled streets and a general ‘mood’ of creativity. The town was home to the poet, Sylvia Plath, who is buried in the graveyard in Heptonstall, a tiny village above Hebden Bridge, (another place you must visit if you are nearby). Another activity you might enjoy in Hebden Bridge, if you are feeling nostalgic, is a visit to the Hebden Bridge Picture House, opened in 1921. Its old architecture and its interior design still emit that strange but calming feeling of memories and past, while it remains in the now. You can even get a cup of tea before you go in! Hebden Bridge, a lovely day out in Yorkshire.

    Shot of Hebden Bridge
    Shot of Hebden Bridge
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The Incredible Power of Nostalgia

jumping for joy on vj day in leeds town hall women dancing (1)

The Incredible Power of Nostalgia

“Nostalgia is much more than mere reminiscing; it’s a feeling. “Nostalgia is the warm, fuzzy emotion that we feel when we think about fond memories from our past… It often feels bittersweet – mostly happy and comforting, but with a tinge of sadness that whatever we’re remembering is lost in some way.”

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/05/benefits-of-nostalgia.The text above comes from this wonderful article in The Huffington Post, by Jeanette Leardi. The article discusses the benefits of nostalgia, how nostalgia can help to connect people and give them a feeling of being loved when they are lonely, that’s if they use nostalgia in the right ways.

Sometimes it can be so easy to sit and get lost in old photographs, old diaries and old letters from when you were young. What this article questions is how beneficial is this process? Is it therapeutic to reminisce? Does it help you to relive what once was, through reminiscing?

Our books absolutely link to this idea of the benefits of nostalgia and reminiscing. and we have had heaps of positive feedback regarding the books and the effect they have on the reader. One reader said, ‘It was as though I was walking through my old town at the age of 8. I could almost remember my outfit on that day, the smells that came out of the bakery as I walked past. So many memories came flooding back by looking at one photograph.’