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My 5 favourite memories at Christmas

EmmaP94EmmaP94 Member Posts: 5 Courageous

“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! 

Emma dressed up as Santa in his sleigh - December 2001

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.

Emma in cottage lounge wearing red  white stripy stockings in Scotland  December 2009

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!


  • Ami2301Ami2301 Community champion Posts: 7,304 Disability Gamechanger
    Beautiful memories @EmmaP94
    Disability Gamechanger - 2019
  • GeoarkGeoark Community champion, Scope Volunteer Posts: 1,364 Disability Gamechanger
    Those are wonderful memories @EmmaP94.

    1. Christmas 1992, my daughter was born Christmas Eve that year.

    2. The year I played scrooge. Refused to get involved in all the hype including decorations, turkey roast dinner and other trappings. Did buy Stacey a few presents, mainly from the local pound store. Just a plain day, enjoying things together as a family, watching Dr Who Christma special, an hilarious hour or so playing Cards Against Humanity, as well as trying to wipe out humanity in a board game.

    3. Last year and this year my daughter treated me to visits to the theatre to see a couple of musicals. Bat Out of Hell, brilliant and loved it but what I will say is I don't think I will ever get that pink posing pouch out of my memory. And this year we went to see Hamilton and again had a fantastic evening.

    Sadly Hamilton will probably be my last as while I thoroughly enjoyed the evening on both my pain levels went through the roof. Though I may see if I can get a couple of tickets to go and see Six, once my back has calmed down and I am left with the good memories and not so much the pain side of it.

    As an individual I stood alone.
    As a member of a group I did things.
    As part of a community I helped to create change!

  • debbiedo49debbiedo49 Member Posts: 2,906 Disability Gamechanger
    On Christmas Day with the kids and grand kids my mum used to have filled up big Christmas gift bags with goodies and we dived in lol. It was all the unwrapping and playing and laughing I loved the best. When the kids were small. A box was hours of fun lol x
    I am a fibro warrior !💜♏️
  • Richard_ScopeRichard_Scope Scope community team Posts: 2,685 Scope community team
    Great post @EmmaP94

    My favourite memory has to be Disney last Christmas with my daughter. Oh, that's not me dressed as Stitch btw :D:smiley:

    Specialist Information Officer - Cerebral Palsy

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  • woodbinewoodbine Member Posts: 3,504 Disability Gamechanger
    As I approach my 60th early in the new year my favourite memories of Christmas must be when my 2 children were young, this year we are lucky to be spending the whole week with our daughter and 5 year old grandson, I am so looking forward to seeing his face on Christmas morning.
    Merry Christmas to you all and best wishes for 2019 x x x
    my advice is given freely and is correct to the best of my knowledge.
  • Gwendoline1Gwendoline1 Member Posts: 226 Pioneering
    Hiya EmmaP94,
    I really enjoyed reading your 5 favourite memories at Christmas, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Thank you for sharing.
    Im sure you had a great Christmas. Happy New Year 🥳 
  • debbiedo49debbiedo49 Member Posts: 2,906 Disability Gamechanger
    edited December 2018
    I remember waiting around for a phone call all day, then my dad turning up at my door unannounced on Christmas day expecting us to be ready and waiting for a lift in the car to his house.
    I remember trying to think up what to buy my dad for Christmas and 
    him pretending that he wasnt bothered about presents while being secretly pleased.
    I remember my dad's daft cooking ingredients for Christmas dinner which looked 
    and smelled disgusting but tasted good.
    I remember my son trying to hug my dad Merry Christmas and him pretending that he didn't like it. 
    I remember when we changed the menu to Chinese takeaway food with my dad cos we enjoyed it and it saved a lot of bother on Christmas day or boxing day. We enjoyed trying out the different containers.
    Thanks for doing this it has helped me this year x
    I am a fibro warrior !💜♏️
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