Photo credit swords&snoodles
Every year when I was little, we are talking back in the 50’s, my parents and I visited my great aunt and uncle over the Christmas period. They had no children, my dad was their only nephew so we spent the holiday with them. Imagine the terror for me, would FC know where I was, would he still deliver my presents, and what about my stocking ? I need not have worried as mum and dad managed to leave HIM a note, with a map showing exactly where I would be. Dad also hired a car for the trip, as in those days we didn't have our own car, he and mum must have loaded it whilst I slept, and on Christmas Eve we would set off to deepest darkest Cheam, we lived in Greenwich (London) so it was an adventure for me snuggled in blankets in the back of the unheated car. You young people have no idea of the sacrifices we made back then, no central heating, no telephone, and only two channels on the black and white tv ! On arrival I would be given some task to occupy me whilst the car was unpacked and the presents hidden, to this day I have no idea how this was managed ! I remember being given hot chocolate to help me sleep before being tucked up on a camp bed with a hot water bottle and my beloved teddy bear. Apparently I would wake early, can’t think why, and loudly inform the adults that 'he's been ! ' before opening my stocking, and scrambling down stairs to see what lay beneath the tree. Happy memories, my stocking always had chocolate pennies, a sugar mouse, a tangerine and a small toy.
As my aunt and uncle were rather old and set in their ways, only one present could be opened before breakfast, which to choose ? Decisions ! Then the dog had to be walked , the vegetables prepared , the turkey had already been put in the oven before we all got dressed and then, only then was I allowed to rip open any other presents. We all sat to watch the Queen on tv, after our appetites had been filled with turkey and every trimming you could think of, followed by the home made Christmas pudding bursting with plump fruits and a few hidden silver sixpences , such excitement if you 'found' one !
Dog walking followed this wondrous meal, then home to wash up (no dishwashers), and because we were hungry (?) large slices of rich cake and tea you could trot a mouse across ! The rule then was I had to have a nap if I wanted to stay up and watch the Morecombe and Wise show, I am convinced I never slept but who knows ! Boxing Day meant I would have to write my thank you letters ! Food again played a huge part in this day, mmm cold turkey, salad, well, lettuce, tomatoes and cucumber, jacket potatoes bursting with butter and the piece de resistance, my aunt's home made red cabbage and pickled onions. I should add all her home made pickles were stored in the box room where I slept ! Neighbours would call in for a glass of port and some cheese, always a very strong cheddar , no wonderous cheeseboards of today. I would sit quietly, (children were seen not heard) playing with my new toys or doing finger knitting !
What memories do you have of Christmas past ? This year is going to be a Christmas nine of us have ever had before and hopefully we will never experience it again, whatever you have planned have a magical time, make new memories and revisit some old ones too. Roll on 2021 😘