Christmas on Becca's Books | Favourite Childhood Present by Caragh Finnan, Loaded Shelves

~ Favourite Childhood Present ~

By Caragh Finnan

Christmas! There are a lot of things that I instantly think of when I see or hear 'Christmas'. Mince pies, spiced apple & cinnamon - even brussel sprouts (which I actually LOVE...!). Like most people I think, it's not the presents that make Christmas special. Spending time with friends and family and finally having a solid reason to drink hot chocolate all day long is all that really matters. I never look a gift-santa in the mouth though, and i'm always happy to accept a nice little present at Christmas ;)

When I was 14, I had very few passions in life. Books and...okay don't judge me... Gareth Gates. You know the one. Spikey-haired, stammering choir boy from Leeds that graced our TV screens a long time ago in the form of Pop Idol. Not only did I ardently love this new shiny celeb, I was a bit of a performer myself. As a child I loved to sing and dance, and would perform for literally anyone who would listen. And a fair few that didn't want to listen but weren't given much choice...

At this point in my life, things were really difficult for me. I had depression and anxiety issues, little to no friends and no motivation for anything - but I sure did love to sing. My mum was struggling financially after relocating across the country just 5 days before Christmas for a new job and we were learning to live alongside my mum's best friend and her daughter as we shared a beautiful large house as a foursome.

I wasn't expecting much from Christmas and if I was honest, the magic had well and truly worn off by then. I was an angsty teenager who loathed Christmas and proudly announced my wish to disconnect from all of the festivities. The only thing that i'd been pining for was the most beautiful, silver and blue Karaoke machine. Not just any machine either - a Pop Idol one that was endorsed by Mr Gates himself!
With 5 days to go until Christmas though, a brand new house and very little money? We were going to be lucky if we managed a ham sandwich for Christmas dinner!

However, as i'm sure you could tell ;) - I woke up on the morning of December 25th to a festive miracle. Sparkly lights, an enormous Christmas tree, what looked like hundreds of brightly wrapped presents were bursting out from under there! My heart raced. If all of this could happen over night, could it be possible that I could get the Christmas present that i'd been dreaming of? ... No. Of course not. It was far too expensive and i'd already been told that it just wasn't going to happen this year. Despite the little ball of sadness, Christmas was wonderful. Our somewhat strangely formed family had a luxurious Christmas - lots of presents, food and a whole bunch of visitors to join us with our celebrations in our new home. As the afternoon wore on and the house became quieter (except for the post Christmas dinner snorefest!), my spidey-senses were tingling. Something was being plotted. 

Just after a leftover dinner sandwich, my mum called me into the living room. My eyes flitted between her and the box she was holding. It appeared that she'd 'forgotten' to give me one of my presents. You guessed it....

A genuine Christmas miracle! I'd wanted it for so long and had finally given up hope - and almost given up on the Christmas spirit that i'd so loved as a child. I immediately set it up and began 'recording albums' for everyone for Christmas. It's embarrassing really - knowing that there's so many cassettes out there with my warbling 14 year old voice (I was NOT talented, just passionate!). It was the best Christmas present that I ever received as a child and until a few years ago, it was still a big part of my life. It wasn't just getting the karaoke machine though, it was everything that came with it. How hard my mum must have worked in order to pay for it, how the spirit of Christmas was restored for me, and most of all - that family will do anything to keep each other spirited and feeling good.

You can find Caragh Finnan on Twitter |

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