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Christmas as a child in the mid-1930s

From the Barwicker No.88
December 2007

When I was a small child the anticipation of Christmas was almost as exciting as the realisation. From about the 2nd week of December the thoughts of ‘what should I like from Santa Claus' kept being changed in my mind. Eventually a written message had to be sent up the chimney (when a coal fire blazed merrily), clearly indicating my final desires. This was followed by a visit to one of the large department stores in Leeds (Hitchens or Lewis’s) where I could actually talk to Santa in his Fairy Grotto.

The artificial Christmas tree was re-claimed from the loft and with great ceremony was duly decorated, ably assisted by my mother. I made paper steamers which together with holly and mistletoe adorned the picture rails around our house. There were always carol singers calling and wishing us a Merry Christmas. At school I made the ‘almost obligatory’ calendar, comprising of a very small actual calendar attached somehow (before the invention of sellotape) to a large picture, invariably a seasonal snowscene.

Presents featured in the celebrations – I hung up a pillow case (a common replacement for a ‘stocking’) at the end of my bed. Early the next morning I very excitedly took it into my parents bedroom and sat on the end of their bed. When opening the pillow case, after the parcels, I always found ‘new’ coins, some nuts and a tangerine. After partaking of a large Christmas dinner we then went to visit my Grandparents’ home in Halton for tea. It was always late when we arrived back home but I was very happy, very sleepy and ready for bed.


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