Tuesday, 18 December 2012

The Ghost of Christmas Past

I've always loved Charles Dickens' Scrooge, but although I want to talk about Christmas past, it's not the Christmases portrayed by Dickens, but my very own 1965 blast from the past. On waking up on Christmas morning, cold and sleepy, my sister and I would feel at the end of our beds and if we touched lumpy cloth we knew beyond doubt that Father Christmas had been! Our pillowcases were the first sites of exploration. We'd have an apple, a tangerine, chocolate coins, a tube of smarties or Rowntree's Fruit Pastilles, a card game like Happy Families: Mr Bacon anyone? Crayons and colouring books. I have a memory of being about eight years old. I still played with dolls and my main present was a pram (Silvercross style) and a (big) doll. My sister got the same (slight variation) and we called the dolls big dolls, because they were baby sized. Yes, I know babies come in different sizes, especially as they grow a bit, but let's just say I could bounce the doll on my knee like you might a six-month-old baby. We loved and cherished those dolls, proudly walking out with our shiny new prams, along to our auntie's house on Christmas day to show her what fine specimens of dolls we had! I can remember tucking her up (doll) underneath lovely new soft blankets. We didn't get many more presents, not large ones anyway, but what we got was thrilling to us, such as the huge bar of Dairy Milk, kaleidoscope (watch those beads swirl and twirl into colourful patterns), selection box, annual (Bunty for me - Judy for Sis), Monopoly (or some such game). Pretty Peach Avon perhaps? Or was that later on? Bath-salts or cubes to dissolve in frothy warmth on bath-night. People tried so hard to make Christmas special as they still do today. But you know, I'm sort of glad that technology hadn't soared like it has today. I like the memories of dolls and prams and nothing to interfere with a quiet Christmas (except for our squeals of delight). No pings or bells or ringtones. No getting in touch with all and sundry. Just lovely family communication. Now that's what I call Christmas.

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