Saturday, December 15, 2012

Christmas celebration in the 40's

Lighting the candles on the tree ( photo from Google)

As we get older we love to reminisce: growing up in my home city Bristol UK Christmas was very different being just after the War we were far from having the goodies the kids are privy to now.

It wasn't quite Charles Dickens Scrooge we did make paper chains to hang from the ceiling, lots of white glue made from flour and water kept us busy for a few hours, usually made a week before Christmas

The Cockerel, unknown by us, was being fattened up for the Celebration dinner.
This year's cake.
Janet Parker lighting the candles on a very ancient tree!
Mum had us sitting at the table as she made our Christmas pudding that was a treat, dried fruit, cherries of course, suet, eggs etc. all went into the mix ready for us to stir and make our wishes in silence, eyes tightly closed. That went into to a big black saucepan for hours of cooking on the stove.
All this was the start of excitement especially when Mum would take us to the local shops for picking out the tree we bought it from the Vegetable Shop, to me it was magical picking out the little fresh pine tree at the time I thought was huge when we brought it home sitting on top of my sisters pram her peaking from in  between the branches. I felt very important.

We had an aspidistra pot to put the tree in and water it, Mum had real candles that were attached to the tree with clips not to be lit till Christmas Eve. The tree was decorated with paper lanterns we had made and they were arranged carefully away from the candles, then we would place it on the Sideboard in all it's glory waiting for THE moment for lighting up. By then the excitement was really building ,the Christmas cake was made and we had a hand in decorating it with cochineal pink icing finishing it up with silver balls you could eat, just set the whole thing off. The coal  fire lit and the shutters at the window closed we would sit by the fire with Mum telling us stories of her Christmases years gone by while we ate a Jaffa orange (our fathers stash) which was our secret!

I can remember Jo my sister and I would get out of our beds on Christmas eve and were quiet as little mice,sitting on the stairs listening to paper being wrapped and thinking Father Christmas was with Mum having a glass of milk and a chat! of course it was Mum and my Grandmother doing the wrapping and no doubt having a glass of good cheer doing it.

I have no idea of the time but eventually we would settle in our beds waiting for THE moment to come.We never did see Father Christmas (he was busy) but waking up very early and tweaking our toes at the end of our beds he managed to leave a stocking each full of special treats an orange and nuts with sweets at the bottom of the stocking and gifts usually crayons paper jigsaw puzzles plasticine in coloured strips to make
pretend cakes, usually ended up stuck to the bed sheets and the dainty box of handkerchiefs with  embroidered flowers on them. best of all for me were the comics Beano and Dandy just the start to the best day of the year With the aroma of a beautiful chicken cooking, we never did find out where the Cockerell went, we were told he was on a holiday ! We were happy just listening to the radio by the fire with our gifts around us looking forward to Aunt Olga's visit for tea and a little sherry with Christmas cake.

Simple good times.

Merry Christmas to you and your family

1 comment:

  1. Just a lovely memory Babs. very similar to the ones I remember. It was about the only time we saw some aunties and uncles and cousins. All I can remember was the full house of people.