Christmas Past by Barbara Brown

The following memory first appeared in the December 1984 issue of the Orwell Bulletin

When I was asked about my Christmases when I was a child, my mind went blank but after some thought I came up with the following;

The excitement of Christmas was great to us all in the 1920s, and without television there was none of the 'I want this' and 'I want that' which we have today. Instead of hanging up a pillow-case as they seem to do today, I hung up my father’s sock, only getting sweets, nuts, an orange, an apple, a painting book and, if lucky, a small toy.   There were bedroom slippers if your old ones were wearing out or a new dress if the old Sunday one was due to be taken as a school one. I did have other toys – a small dolls house, a pram, a board and easel, a scooter, a Teddy Bear and a large doll but these were spread over several years. I had a brown enamel tea set which ended its days when I had my own children.

Another present I can remember but it might have been for my birthday and not Christmas, was a double wash-hand stand complete with two china bowls, two pails with lids, four soap and sponge dishes and two jugs, a small one for hot water and a large one for cold. It was fine white china, deepening to pink at the top and edged with gold. I still have the larger jug.

Photo:Barbara Brown nee Bagstaff at about six years of age

Barbara Brown nee Bagstaff at about six years of age

I can remember having a Christmas Tree when we lived in the cottage between The Chequers and Manor Farm, not many presents on it, mostly tinsel and baubles.

Quite often I was lucky enough to be taken to the Pantomime at the New Theatre in Cambridge. We also had a School and Sunday School Party and for a good many years we went to have tea with cousins in the High Street.

When we moved to Hurdleditch Road we would have a get together with our neighbours.

Our Christmas dinner was a cockerel with the usual vegetables, Christmas pudding and mince pies. For tea there was ham or a tin of red salmon, Christmas cake and some crackers. Turkey or goose was unheard of if you didn’t breed them yourself. In the drink line we had home-made wine, and my parents would buy a bottle of Port, Sherry and Whisky, but it had to last for more than Christmas.


This page was added by Pat Grigor on 02/10/2012.

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