Growing up, our living room was the perfect place to wage war against rival enemies, or to camp out for the night.
As children, we used to love playing war games. We would take the cushions from the lounge suite, and the ones from the garden furniture, we would build forts on either side of the lounge. Using the cushions and other bits of furniture, we would construct elaborate structures to hide from enemy attack. The ammunition was my Mom’s scatter cushions. The idea is that while you are hiding in your fort, you peep through an appropriate opening to see when your enemy pops their head out of their fort, you hurl a pillow missile at them. I can remember some wars games going on for days! Each afternoon before my Dad would get home from work, we would pack everything back neatly. The next day we would rebuild the forts and carry on playing.
A blanket thrown over a chair or a table and propped up by lounge-suite cushions, makes a perfect kid’s tent. Constructing a tent that was high enough for a child to sit up straight, was the general idea. Part of the blanket would be a flap for the door. Once you were inside the tent and dropped the door closed, you felt as if you were in another world. We would play for hours in our rickety tents.
From a young age, I introduced both the lounge fort and the lounge tent to my kids. The living room fort or tent was a regular sight in our house. When they were still young, my son and daughter, two years apart in age, would ask me to help build one. And like we did when I was young, they would play for hours in their forts and tents.
One Christmas when the kids were under 10 years old, we took our mattress off our bed, and moved it onto the living room floor. We remade the bed on the floor with the sheets, pillows and the duvet, and all jumped into the bed. This was great fun, especially for the kids. This became known as ‘The Christmas Bed’ in our house. The kids would often request we make, ‘A Christmas Bed’ for sleepovers or during the holidays. The excitement levels of kids that have to sleep in a bed that is on the ground, is inexplicable.
The Christmas Bed is something my children will no doubt introduce to their kids one day. It was intended as something novel at the time, and has turned into a family tradition. To this day, we still make Christmas Beds, and it’s still fun!
For me, making A Christmas Bed, brought the family closer because it was something unusual and special. There was no doubt about the amount of effort, but it was worth it! We could all be silly for a while, and drop our guard. In The Christmas Bed, you felt safe and loved.
To you, your family and your friends
Originally published at https://www.leapfirst.co.za on July 26, 2020.