Wool, Wiltshire and All Manner of Wonderful Things!

Christmas Past- a quiz

So I had this wheeze, this Christmas may not have been up to the norm, so let’s recall Christmasses past – do join in by leaving comments, but even better- write your own post and leave a link to it in the comments… go on, you know you want too, as much or as little as you like. 12 Questions for the 12 days…

1 Favourite/ funny memory or both of Christmas as a child.

My Mum made a huge effort at Christmas. I am a child of the 1950s, and it may be hard for younger people to appreciate but some things were still on ration after the war, and a lot of treats were expensive. Mum made our Christmasses very special indeed- stockings were made from wrapping paper, all the food from mince pies, to cake to stuffing was homemade, decorations were paper chains- homemade, table centre pieces were homemade- not as today from choice but because that was just the way things were done. By Christmas Eve the excitement would be a fever pitch- oh boy did that day seem loooong- it went on forever. The one day of the year you were glad to go to bed early. I recall the year that my little brother Pip woke me up- it must have been about 4am- bouncing on the bed- telling me HE had BEEN, and here was my stocking, which he promptly tipped out onto the bed. Two minutes later a rather cross Mother appeared, sent him back to bed, repacked the stocking, and told us to Go Back to Sleep till Morning OR ELSE! We did!

2 Favourite/funny memory of your children’s Christmass- you can swap this for nephew/ niece/ grandchild/neighbour etc.

Ah this time I was playing Father/Mother Christmas. Two eldest sons still had stockings and were sworn to keeping the identity of Santa Claus secret from their little brother OR ELSE. I had just come back from Midnight Mass, having put Toddler B to bed around 6pm. Panic stations from the oldest two- Master B had woken up and no power on earth could get him back to sleep. His stocking was at the end of his bed, out of his line of vision, but worse still In the Middle’s stocking was also at the end of HIS bed, at the far end of a long shared bedroom with Toddler B. It was late we were tired, a cunning plan was needed- so whilst In the Middle chatted to Toddler B I crawled like a commando over the bedroom floor to retrieve two stockings. Duly filled they were left by the bedroom door!

3 Biggest Disaster/Fail on Christmas Day

I gather a lot of people this year found their turkeys were not very nice and were not fit to eat- if that was you, I am very sorry indeed. I was very lucky, I was able to spend Christmas Day with my son and grand children and the turkey he cooked was delicious.

However we did have one disastrous Christmas. Mum had come to stay for the duration-dinner was cooked to perfection, the crackers were pulled, paper hats on heads, awful jokes told, glasses chinked and the electricty went off… just ours. Neighbours had electricty, the whole village had electricty- just us, no lights, no hot water, no heating…. Very long story cut short. Don’t believe 24 hour/7 days a week/365 days of the year electricians mean it they don’t. We eventually isolated one circuit in the house, heating and water back on, but not all lights. We survived the night. Next day hung over electrician comes, in the dog house with his wife… he should have been spending the day with his in-laws, further locates problem to bathroom, and makes sure house and our Heath Robinson lighting is safe. Three days later real electrician comes- transpires that when the bathroom was re- done, before our time, a loose live cable had been left under the bath, the flat roof had let in water, and well no electricity.

4 Best Christmas present received/ given to you as a child.

This took a lot of thought- I received in my time a rather splendid doll and a doll’s house, both of which I have still got, but I reckon the best presents have to be

the gift of reading. I see from the inscriptions in the books I was 8 when I was gifted these. The bottom two from my parents- can you imagine a child being happy these days with a book from their parents at Christmas as their sole present? The top one was from my Godmother, and I credit this book with being the one that finally got me reading for pleasure, and 60 years on I still do read for pleasure. Now that was a gift for sure.

5 Best/favourite Christmas tradition – As a child I loved making paper chains and decorating the house. I loved the smell in the house of delicious food- that mix of spices, cinnamon, nutmeg, but I think what I really really valued the most was Mum and Dad finally running out of chores to get on with , and sitting down to play board games with us. After tea on Christmas day, yes we ate tea, a proper sit down tea,- the green card table would come out and the fire would be lit, in the best room, we children were allowed a thimble full of ginger wine, and we played monopoly, cluedo, totopoly, Pit, and it was magical.

6 Favourite Christmas food– Christmas pudding- the only time of year you get to eat that fabulous fruity sticky concoction, love it, love it, love it. Yes we did have some yesterday, nom, nom, nom.

7 To Sprout or not to Sprout on your dinner plate– oh yuk, I eat my token 1 or 2 to be a Good Example.

8 When to open presents? Now normally after breakfast on Christmas morning- but yesterday we were so late getting up, we opened most in the evening, and I rather liked it- time to look at each one properly- it may become the norm, but I doubt children would accept the delay.

9 Artificial or real tree? I much prefer a real tree, but feel so guilty chopping down a tree for my gratification, so we have an artificial one, which must surely be ten years old by now.

10 Children’s Nativity plays- funny story or proud moment?

I love children’s nativity plays, always make me cry. Except the year when I only had two boys . The oldest had a prime part, suitably proud Mum, and what does In the Middle do- gets bored- pulls down his trousers and waves his rear end in the air. Mortified I beat a hasty retreat, and we went home……

11 Christmas Jumpers or Christmas Eve PJs

This is a relatively new custom, and I love that it’s here. I don’t have either, but I did buy myself a nice red blouse with snowflakes on it, in honour of the occasion. I have been commisioned to knit Master T a Christmas jumper for next year- apparently they should wear them at school over the last week of term, but he wouldn’t unless Nana knitted him one.

12 Best part of a Covid Christmas?

There has to be something that we liked this year, that wouldn’t have happened in previous years. I think I really valued the time with my family more, such a special few hours.

Nativity plays in school couldn’t happen and my grand children’s school made videos of them singing a Christmas song- it was filmed outside, in small groups, each group given a verse to sing- the teacher shot the video and sent to parents. I also think we all took more care with our gift choices, I know I had some corkers, lots of things for me to make and do….you’ll hear more of these next year.

I finished the jumper I made my grandson, in all its rainbow colours and was rather thrilled with the result- I think he would have prefered Lego!

I hope you enjoyed my trip down memory lane- love to hear your memories. Enjoy the rest of the 12 days of Christmas,

Stay safe,


Comments on: "Christmas Past- a quiz" (16)

  1. I so enjoyed your answers! I loved making paper chains as a child also! We also strung popcorn and cranberries as garland for the tree.

  2. I thoroughly enjoyed this post, Cathy!

  3. Really enjoyed reading your memories Cathy.
    One of my main memories of a Christmas past was when I was around 8 or 9 I think and, when I opened my presents on Christmas morning, got three or four Sindy outfits. I rummaged in the Christmas sack for ages looking for the doll that went with them but my Mum said I’d be getting the doll for my birthday. As my birthday’s in June, I was sooooo disappointed. We always went round to my Nan and Grandad’s in the afternoon and my Aunty was there and had bought me the doll. Phew! I wish I could be so easily surprised these days. Also, what was it with Spangles in the selection boxes? Obviously we only wanted the chocolate and the Spangles always got left to last. I think Opal Fruits were the culprit in later years – maybe still are.
    I love brussels sprouts even though my Mum was one of the main culprits for putting them on to start boiling at the end of November 🤣 and I like Christmas pudding and mince pies now but hated both when I was a child.

    • Soggy brussel sprouts are vile for sure- one Christmas work lunch in a posh hotel managed to serve soggy sprouts that were as hard as cannon balls- that took skill.
      Fancy your Mum saying you had to wait till your birthday for your Sindy. I had a Sindy too- still do!
      Selection boxes- I loved them for sure- Pip always ate the lot before lunch and was then sick, unless the parents remembered to confiscate them till after lunch.

  4. What a brill post. Such wonderful memories and you telling them as you do, they definitely come alive.
    I am impressed with your commando style stocking rescue and a thimble of ginger wine as a kid, well why not. 🙂
    I think my fave thing about this Christmas was on Xmas Eve Wil and I walked Hugo round to Wils mums and she gave us a glass of sherry each ( never had sherry before, was quite nice) and round to a friends who gave us Benedictine and hot water in the car port. It was freezing , but they warmed us up. 🙂 X

    • Not a pub crawl but a carport crawl brilliant! It could become a tradition. I did wonder about getting a fire pit for out door entertainment. It’s year since I had a sherry- very much part of my parents alcohol consumption. I’m still fond of the ginger wine!
      I’m glad you enjoyed the post.

  5. Thanks for sharing your lovely memories!

  6. What a great post Cathy for ‘learning a little more about you’.
    Here’s to Christmas pud…..apart from me and The Golfer plus one son in law, no one else ate it so for years I didn’t bother. Until a few years ago and I decided to try my late aunts recipe- instant success. They all wanted a bit.
    Hanging head in shame now because I couldn’t be bothered this year….I usually did them mid year before we went up north for the winter….no winter trip this year so fed up I didn’t do them. Lots of losses all round.

    • What a shame Cathy- I must confess to not making my own, but having bought one from M&S- only my son, my grandson and I had some, but mm it was nice.

  7. Murtagh's Meadow said:

    What a fabulous post – loved all your Christmas memories. Will have to think back on some. My downfall are mince pies – home made – still warm from the oven. I could eat the whole lot. I made a pudding this year for first time in years – it is very rich, but delicious. If I make one next year I may try a lighter one! Favourite part of this Christmas so far playing with the kids the new games they got – nothing like the whole family sitting on the floor having fun together.

  8. Your post made me think – though I couldn’t fill in all the ‘blanks’ some very happy memories popped into my head. Oddly there were a lot of scents remembered, for example my parents’ cupboard containing the Christmas cake, fed with brandy for weeks ahead of Christmas Day! My favourite gift was a huge toy panda bear I received when I was 8 or 9. There was a big box in the middle of my bedroom when I woke up that morning – it hadn’t been there when I’d gone to bed. I remember the excitement it gave me – and also the years of owning the panda afterwards too. Current treats, like you, include a good portion of Christmas pudd – just don’t understand anyone that doesn’t like it! Merry Christmas to you.

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