My 5 favourite memories at Christmas
“It’s Christmas time, there’s no need to be afraid. At Christmas time, we let in light and we banish shade…” and in my world of disability, it’s full of wheelchairs, blurred vision, love and laughter.
I’m Emma Purcell, a 24 year old woman living in Alton, Hampshire. I have quadriplegic cerebral palsy and registered blind. I’m the blogger of Rock For Disability, a writer at Disability Horizons, a content advisor at Muscular Dystrophy UK, the Hampshire Champion at AccessAble and graduated with a BA (Hons) in Journalism from the University for the Creative Arts.
Despite the challenges I face with my disabilities on a daily basis, I’ve grown up with fond and happy memories at Christmas time that I will treasure forever. Here are my 5 favourite Christmas memories:
1. Festive fancy dress
When I was aged 7, we had a fancy dress day on the last week of school before the Christmas holidays. I decided to be extra creative and take advantage of my wheelchair. I dressed up as Santa Clause with my wheelchair turning into his sleigh. Everyone thought it was brilliant that I even got awarded best costume in my year group. This proves that having wheelchair does have its benefits at times!
2. Sending & receiving Christmas cards
At primary school, before I begun to lose my vision, I used to love writing out Christmas cards to all my classmates and teachers and receiving them. We had a post box in the school hall and they would be delivered to us in class. The most amusing thing was the number of children who spelt my name wrong. I had “Ema”, “Emmar”, “Emer”, “Persil”, “Percel”, “Pursell” plus many more. The best thing was I went to a mainstream school and nobody judged me because of my disability and I had plenty of friends to share the festive occasion with.
3. A family reunion in Scotland
In 2009, my parents, brother and I travelled up to Scotland to visit our extended family. We rented an accessible cottage near Edinburgh which had a downstairs bedroom, hoist and wet-room. Because of the distance and the amount of personal care I require, we don’t get to visit family often but it was lovely to spend time with my grandparents, uncles and cousins all at once and enjoy Christmas together.
4. Baking Christmas truffles
A Christmas tradition my Mum and I do every year is bake chocolate truffles. They are small rich chocolate treats made of digestive biscuits, coconuts and, of course, chocolate. I enjoy breaking up the digestive biscuits with a rolling pin and sprinkling the chocolate & coconut sprinkles over the truffle balls. It’s a fun activity to do whether you’re a child or an adult and something anyone of any ability can get involved in.
5. A one dollar ticket to the magic kingdom
My all time favourite Christmas memory has to be the 25th December 2003. We had finished opening all our presents when we discovered two envelopes in the Christmas tree. My brother and I opened them and found a dollar bill inside from Dad’s best friend. My first thought was that he was making a joke as he was known to prank us before. Our parents were sure that this wasn’t a prank and brought out a videotape. They put the video into the VCR and played it. It was a promo video for Disney World Florida. It then clicked that we were actually going to Florida on holiday next year. We were absolutely ecstatic and it was the greatest surprise I’ve ever had to date. We travelled to Florida in February 2004 and it had outstanding accessibility and is still the best holiday I’ve ever had!
So they are 5 of my favourite memories at Christmas. To see an extended list of my favourite memories, please check out my blog post at Rock For Disability which will go live on 21st December 2018.
What are your favourite Christmas memories? Please share your stories in the comments or on social media!
Thank you for reading and Merry Christmas to you all!