The wonder of Christmas through a childs eyes is something to behold especially when you see them take part and consume the rituals that have been with a parent for many a moon. We have many - the specific Thomas Hardy location where the holly is cut, the yule log and Christmas Eve Kelly Kettle brew up and fire. There is one other however that brings more excitement than all the others put together and that is The Box of Delights.
If we are lucky we get to read the book by John Masefield (1935 - also known as When The Wolves Were Running) but the most eagerly awaited ritual is the delightful 1984 BBC adaptation starring Patrick Troughton as Cole Hawlings and Robert Stephens as the evil Abner Brown. A perfect BBC production at the time of the Radiophonic Workshop.
The central character is Kay Harker who, on returning from boarding school, finds himself mixed up in a battle to possess a magical box, which allows the owner to go small (shrink) and go swift (fly), experience magical wonders contained within the box and go into the past.
The owner of the box is an old Punch and Judy man called Cole Hawlings, whom Kay meets on a railway station. They have an instant rapport, and this leads Cole to confide that he is being chased by a man called Abner Brown and his gang. For safety, Cole entrusts the box to Kay, who then goes on to have many adventures which are set with a magical Christmas backdrop.
I can remember, back in 1984, excited beyond belief as on Christmas Eve the final episode was transmitted. The excitement begins a few days before we start the first episode and we finish on Christmas Eve with the last. The screams of excitement are just as loud as those on Christmas morning. Long may it continue - whatever our age.