I have wonderful memories of Christmas as a young child in the 1960's.My parents didn't have much money when I was a child. although there were probably a lot of families in the same boat then. I was one of four kids, but we always loved Christmas. Our expectations weren't great, we would each ask for something like a game-maybe something like Monopoly, or in my case often a doll.( I loved dolls, Sindy was one of my favourite toys ever!). We usually got whatever we asked for but then our parents bought us various smaller things too as surprises to open. Does anyone remember the chocolate smoking sets-chocolate pipes and cigarettes (why on earth they were made to be given to children as presents I have no idea, it seems unbelievable nowadays), sometimes there were liquorice pipes in sets too and the John Bull printing sets?
The build up to christmas was for us kids just as exciting as the day itself. My brother David and I used to start to make the trimmings from crepe paper a week or so before Christmas day. We used to cut 1 1/2 inch strips of different coloured crepe paper and after fastening two pieces together at right angles we continued to cross them over first one, then the other, (if you're confused see below- you might get a better idea of what I mean!)
|Image from internet|
They formed a lovely intertwined paper chain which our parents used to drape from the ceilings with bunches of balloons at each corner of the room. We usually had an artificial tree and the decorations I can remember most were small paper chinese lanterns. I suspect that if I rummaged in their loft my parents would probably still have them tucked away somewhere! The baubles were glass and therefore breakable, its a miracle that any survived to this day but they did and some now grace our tree. Finally the fairy was placed on top and the decorations were complete.
We always had a christmas party at school and dressed up for the occasion, spending a couple of hours in class the day before it making our party hats. We all got a present, usually something like Tufty club handkerchiefs which featured the Highway Code.We were taught carols for weeks before hand and some of them are etched on my brain to this day! My brother David and I used to go door to door carol singing to make money to buy our parents christmas presents, something you wouldn't dare let your children do these days but we didn't think anything of it then.
No Christmas was complete without my mum doing hoards of baking, mince pies, jam tarts, lemon curd tarts, coconut macaroons and the piece de resistance a christmas cake complete with a lovely snowstorm icing and the same old decorations to top it year after year! After opening our presents we would all walk up to church on Christmas morning (in later years when we had a car we drove up) and enjoy the service, the church would be packed to the rafters and then we'd hurry back so that mum could see to the turkey and the rest of the meal.
How different our christmasses are now but I can still remember the wonderful times we had as children in the 1960's. I wouldn't go back and change anything if I could, those memories are precious and make me appreciate what I have today.
I have been to mum's house today to do some cleaning for her. She wanted me to sort out some baking tins for her so that she can do a bit of baking later in the week. I emptied a few cupboards so that we could sort out what she no longer wanted to keep and I found my gran's old mince pie baking tin. It has to be over 60 years old and you can tell by looking at it that its had a lot of service. Mum had decided to throw it away because she had newer ones but I decided to rescue it and have made some mince pies for the freezer.I kind of like the idea that it was used by two generations before me.
My mince pies turned out a treat and they have the lovely pattern of the tin around the edges!
I have still got lots of little jobs to do before the week is out but I'm pacing myself!! Hope you are all enjoying the build up to Christmas, I think its the best time.