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Long Ago Christmas

By Belinda

I don't mean to be rushing things, but...

My Christmas decorations are in my formal dining room (that is never used for "formal dining)..

I have some Christmas memories of long ago to share...

and my friend Dave said that he is officially in the mood for an old fashioned Christmas story, having been at Santa’s Village this week with his family.

So, going back over 70 years in England, from the memory bank of Uncle John:

Grandmother Hartwright (the former Mary Jones) with her daughters Freda and Nancy (before they were married,) boiled the Christmas pudding for hours in a cloth and made their own mincemeat (as I also did in my "Earth Mother days" in the 70's.)

Instead of a tree they had a piece of hedge (how English is that?)--a yew--with candles. After Christmas it went back into the hedge (early recycling.)

One Christmas, Uncle George and Aunt Velma came from Canada (she was a Canadian.) Their children, Paul, Ainley and Mary Alice were with them and Uncle John said that, "We were all down in the cellar, a long building. We slept bed after bed like a barracks.

Uncle John Snr, Aunt Edith's husband, came around like Father Christmas."

They used to play lots of games: Snap; Ludo; dominoes and matching card games. This was before the war.

It was a great feasting time and involved a goose, "before the time when turkeys came into fashion or production."
Uncle John said, "We had to be quiet while the King spoke over the radio. King George the V1 was a good Christian king. It was almost a sacred moment."

Winters were colder. There was mistletoe and holly to decorate Grandma's house--and lots of cards. There used to be three deliveries a day!

The postman received a Christmas tip (probably well deserved after delivering all of those cards,) and so did the baker and milkman. It would either be a monetary tip or a mince pie. The butcher used to give them a pound of sausages for Christmas.

And there were oranges (such a treat!) lots of nuts and bowls of little sweets.

Uncle John and his older brother Ron always had an empty pillowcase on the bottom of the bed on Christmas Eve, and they would wake up to see if Father Christmas had come yet.

Uncle John's best ever Christmas present was --a set of wooden bricks--a thing of wonder in his opinion at the time-- and they had lead soldiers. He said, "It's a wonder we weren't all poisoned.

Church was part of every Christmas day.Aunt Dora was a musician and she played the piano or organ.

During the war, when there was a blackout enforced, but children would come around and sing carols.
They would sing carols; and not just a verse and then a knock at the door, but all the verses.

Well, that's it. Are you getting in the mood? I know it seems like it's a long way off, but it will be here in no time now that summer is on the wane.


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