Friday, 11 December 2009


Christmas magic

Mum and Dad made Christmas very special for us, and I always tried to carry on this tradition by making it so for my own family. This wasn’t always an easy task, as my husband hadn’t been brought up in the same family orientated atmosphere as I had, and I’m sure he often thought I went too far, worked too hard, and was slightly mad.
Whereas I was content to stay up on Christmas Eve until the last mince pie and sausage roll was baked, the turkey was in the oven, the bowls of fruit and nuts laid out and the last Christmas stocking (including one for the dog) was filled. Arthur would want to go to bed at the usual time and ‘do it in the morning’. But then he didn’t have the memories I had spurring him on!
Throughout my entire childhood the Festive Season was a wondrous time. We were often very poor, but oh so happy. I remember one year when the electricity had been cut off because we couldn’t pay the bill. It didn’t stop both my parents working by candlelight, way into the night after all us children had been put to bed.
Mummy would tuck us up and say ‘don’t come downstairs any more this evening: Daddy is helping Father Christmas.’
Dad made handsomely painted wooden toys for the children. Dougie and Bill were the recipients of trains, lorries and boats, while the youngest little girls in the family received doll’s cradles that rocked gently back and forth, complete with bedding lovingly made by Mum.
She sat and sewed till the small hours, so that each of her four little girls (I was, by then, a bigger girl) would have a pretty frilly dress to wear over the Christmas holiday. She made beautiful pram sets for doll’s prams, and baby clothes for the various dollies. One year, Dad built a doll’s cot, which was just like the drop-side cot that my youngest sister Gill slept in. It was painted a pretty pink and Mummy made all the frilly bedding for it. I believe that this was a present for Babs. We certainly didn’t go without, and only in latter years did I realise the sacrifice, time and, above all, love that went into giving us all ‘A Happy Christmas’.
I also received my share of homemade clothes. One year, I distinctly recall Mummy making me a dusty-blue dirndl skirt and a biscuit coloured single-breasted jacket to go with it. How proud and smart I felt that year as I went walking with my friends!
We all had a stocking on Christmas morning, and I still feel a thrill tingling through me, as I remember the excitement of delving into the elongated depths of one of Mummy’s carefully washed and filled stockings.
First out from the top would be a noisy blower with a feather on the end. Then, so that the stocking would stay open enough to hold the little gifts that were tucked into it, there would be a magic painting book, comic, or reading book, carefully rolled up and strategically placed, so that the centre was hollow. Into this tube of colouring or reading matter would be hidden coloured pencils, yo-yos, hair ribbons, dolls, Dinky cars, five stones, pretty beads, toy soldiers, pea shooters etc, depending on if you were a girl or a boy. In between all these wonderful surprise items were bars of chocolate, packets of toffees and, of course, chocolate money wrapped in gold paper and tied in a golden net.
To be continued…


weechuff said...

Oh, you made all the memories come flooding back! Nice to have you back blogging again Leeta.

Croom said...

Oh Leeta, I could not help a tear or four as I read your wonderful memories of Christmas morning. I can still hear the excited shrill voices of us children as we delved into those stockings. The toe always filled with nuts and an Orange. Like you I continued the same theme for my children as they do for theirs. We all danced up the stairs singing Hi Ho it's off to bed we go :O) My Daughter Leeta always rings me with the phone held high as her children Hi Ho up stairs and granny and granddad sing along merrily with them. Thank you so much for this blog big sis. x

Lynne Chapman said...

Welcome back! I'd love to see more photos from that time...

Babs-beetle said...

Oh Leeta, your memories mixed with mine (my blog post) certainly give a full picture of Christmas in the early fifties :) How I miss it!

granny grimble said...

Thank you for your welcome back. I will continue my old blog, but thought I'd do a little bit of Christmas first.

That's only half of the blog, the rest is yet to come. It was a bit long for a once off so I thought I'd split it!

Unfortunately we didn't own a camera in those days. I was the first one to introduce photos into the family when I met Daddy. He came as a package, complete with camera!

Oh those magic moments Babs. I remember buying you a doll's pram for your birthday, when I was about seventeen. You loved it.

Anne said...

Oh Leeta you are getting me in the Christmas mood. Stockings are the most exciting part - writing a note for Father Christmas - always too late as he has already decided on your present! But the excitement of waking up on Christmas morning with that stocking at the bottom of the bed - unforgettable lovely memories.
Can't wait for the next installment

Jay said...

What wonderful memories! And it brought back memories of my own, too. My Dad made wooden toys for the boys, too, and one year, a doll's house for me, complete with battery-operated lights. Mum would sew or knit doll's clothes, and when you mentioned the pram set, it brought to mind my own, that my Mum knitted for me.

We carried on much the same traditions for our own children and added in a twist or two of our own. Happy memories!

granny grimble said...

Isn't it strange Jay, that our childhood seems to have run on very similar lines including. How we lived, things we did, and districts that we lived in. My dad made also made the most beautiful doll's house. There were portaits of him and Mum on the wall, and the roof was tiled in individual tiles. The walls were pebble dashed and the whole thing stood about three feet high. Not many dads and granddads like that nowadays I bet!

SWUBIRD said...


Gee, welcome back. I missed this story, but here goes, better late than never.

This short episode reminds me of my Queen. Although, I came from a family that liked Christmas, and decorating the tree, and loving every minute of the holidays, it was nothing compared to my Queen's enthusiasm. Every year she still hangs up the stockings, one for each family member, and decorates our tree and prepares a happy day for everyone. She truly loves the Christmas spirit, and your post reminds me of her.

Happy trails.