December 24th, Xmas Eve
Not feeling that our Xmas shopping was complete we sallied forth again. Mother’s boy from the cripple home came at 11 and we all went along to the High Street (Kensington). We rushed into the P.O. with dozens of parcels and then we all went into Cramer to listen to some records which we intended to buy. We also visited Hopes, Pontings, Barkers, and Derry and Toms. We returned home like dead flies and lay about snatching a hard earned rest having persuaded Mother to alter her fixed determination to have the presents on Xmas Eve! Thurie came and spent the evening and helped to fill the stockings.
December 25th, Thursday.
I’ve never spent Xmas in London before in my life, it is a curious experience and to all outward appearances it might be a Sunday. I borrowed the maid’s alarm clock and set it for six but awoke at intervals from 3 onwards because the clock, which looked distinctly anaemic, I thought might fail and lucky I did so for at six it gave forth a few feeble croaks like a sick frog which never would have disturbed my slumbers. I crept upstairs in the dark and roused my three sleepy children who came quickly to life when they saw that Father Christmas had called. We all bundled down to Daddy, roused the poor thing well up and made tea whilst the contents of stockings were unearthed. At 7 we got up and dressed, H, P and I went to the early service at St Philips. There we found crowds and crowds of people, how different from the little country celebrations, 6 or 7 clergy and people being marshalled by sidemen. I don’t care much for that sort of thing, so unrestful. For Mattins we went to St Margarets Westminster, a service I always like with its beautiful music and perfect setting. They now have their old East window back in again which was taken down and replaced by plain glass all through the perilous times. Canon Carnegie preached and it was nice to hear his irish accent again. We walked home as far as Hyde Park when a downpour drove us to seek the Tube. After lunch we did dead fly for a while and after tea we had our presents. It seemed strange having no tree but anything like decorations are so awfully expensive that it was impossible to contemplate so we just set tables and the presents thereon and all enjoyed ourselves very much. For dinner we had a huge turkey and the usual plum pudding and then played wild games of Snatchcork with shrieks and yells so that our neighbours must have thought us very trying. H and I got a lot of lovely things and I have so many letters to answer I don’t know where to begin.
I stayed in all the morning and got through a lot of letters of thanks. This afternoon we took the children to the British Museum. It was years since I had been there and their first visit. A vast place and one wants months to see a third of its glorious possessions. We simply were in the Brahmin, Buddhist Central Asia and Ancient Mexican and Peruvian sections and I was so fearfully interested and engrossed that I could have stayed for hours but alas the time slipped quickly by and we had to return.