Sunday, 22 November 2020

.......... AND SO IT BEGINS



You will be pleased to know { or not ! } that I have started my Christmas preparations, even though we are not sure what sort of Christmas we are going to have. We usually go and choose our Christmas tree every year but, this year I have ordered one from Croft and Cole ..... fresh cut and delivered to my door in mid December.

I have also started buying presents. I have quite a lot to buy ..... our children, their partners, grandchildren, sister, brothers -in-law, neices, nephews, the neices and nephews children, cousins, cousins children etc. etc
Christmas has always been a wonderful time for our family. As a child, our parents made it so magical even though we weren't rolling in money. We always had a real tree and, I can remember my mum dragging it back from the shops ! We would all be part of decorating it ..... often with a few arguments ! That moment when the lights were turned on for the first time was fairylike and so magical. Then there would be a trip up to London to see Father Christmas and Uncle Holly at Selfridges ..... do you remember Uncle Holly ? ..... and, eating hot chestnuts bought from the man on Oxford Street and having a knickerbokerglory at Lyons Corner House and, if we were lucky, seeing a show at The London Palladium.
Apart from his day job, my Dad played in a band at weekends. He used to take an empty gin and whiskey bottle with him and, when people offered to buy him a drink, would gradually fill the bottles up, ready for Christmas !!!!! ..... and then there was Christmas itself. Going to bed on Christmas Eve and leaving a flat pillow case at the end of the bed to wake up on Christmas morning to see that pillow case overflowing with things and bulging at the sides ..... nothing was very expensive but they were all amazing to us. Board games, books, paints and paintbrushes for me, gold chocolate coins, a chocolate tool kit that tasted soapy but who cared .... eating chocolate at 6.00 a.m was brilliant. And then, after breakfast, our aunts and uncles and cousins would come round and there would be more presents .....  a leather netball, Jacko roller skates, more games, something from an old aunt that was a bit boring ..... we would open that one first !! 
The above photograph, taken in the mid 1950's,  is my Dad being Father Christmas at his works Christmas party !!! That's me on the end on the right with the red face, wearing my delightful bolero, knitted by my Mum ! My sister is on the left, also wearing her delightful bolero ! The Father Christmas outfit leaves a lot to be desired ! Looked as if it had been well-used and pretty moth-eaten but, we didn't care. I think we knew it was our Dad and were told not to say anything ! Our Dad loved to take photographs. We have hundreds of those tiny black and white ones when we were on holiday but, there aren't any of Christmas. There are some movies but I can't find any stills ! Maybe he was too busy, playing in the band and getting his bottles filled up or drinking too much of the gin on Christmas Day ?!! { actually, he looks as if he's had a couple of gins in the photo .... he looks a bit dishevelled !! }
I hope that we made the same memories for our children and that our grandchildren find it all just as magical. 
Well, there are just a few memories of my Christmasses .... what are your special Christmas memories ?
 
XXXX












image 1: via vogue portugal, image 2: via pinterest, image 3: via me

Jackie

34 comments:

  1. You paint a lovely picture of your Christmasses gone by Jackie. Christmasses on the farm were not like yours but happy ones nonetheless. Mostly things carried on as normal but Christmas Day was always special with only the essential tasks outside completed, like milking. Otherwise it was a day off for everybody except Mum who cooked the turkey! I hope you have a lovely Christmas with your family, even if it's on Zoom! xxx

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    1. Auntie Iris, Uncle Alf and their lesbian daughter would arrive from Brighton on Christmas Eve, my mother and Iris would chat for hours in the kitchen whilst food was prepared, a small amount of alcohol would be consumed and Nat King Cole was put on the record player for the duration.

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    2. Sorry, that was not meant as a reply.

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    3. By the way, I had a pink fluffy bolero which I loved. Good bolero memories!xx

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    4. Rachel : I guess all of our Christmasses were different, but good for most of us but not for some. On a farm, work obviously had to go on, but, after the essential tasks, you had a lovely time { our mums seemed to work the hardest over Christmas } Looks like the Government might be letting more of us mix over Christmas .... we shall see ! XXXX

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    5. Tom : Christmas was different for all of us wasn't it ? When did Auntie Iris and Uncle Alf's daughter come out or didn't she ? Not many were ' known ' lesbians in those days ! There was rather a lot of alcohol consumed in our house ! Our grandmother LOVED whiskey { and a fag ! } and lived to her mid nineties. XXXX

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    6. Tom : I don't mind where you comment as long as you do 😂 XXXX

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    7. Rachel : Haha ! I think we all had a bolero in those days .. standard issue !!! XXXX

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    8. And if Tom puts his comment in with mine, that's ok with me! xxxx

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    9. As the actress said to the bishop ... oooer missus 😂 XXXX

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    10. Am I the only person who doesn't know what a 'bolero' is.... I thought it was a dance.

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    11. A boy wouldn't have any idea what a bolero was and nor should he !!! It was a short, knitted cardigan often knitted in fluffy, sparkly { if you were really lucky !!! } wool. Most girls had one to wear over their party dress..... Ask Lady M if she had one ?

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    12. And your sister Cro, I bet she had one. They were short and barely reached past the armpits.

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    13. Yes Cro .... ask your sister .... I think we all had boleros ! XXXX

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  2. Oh how I enjoyed hearing of your Christmases past . . .
    Delightful photo of your dad and you, your sister and the others.

    It was magical for me as well.
    Some time close to Christmas Eve I would
    hear bells ringing . . . took me a long time before I figured it out.
    I still have those bells.

    I remember little houses, in snow, in the front window
    on the window seat . . . and I was allowed to rearrange, play there.

    Very few gatherings at our house, it was usually a travel
    to my grandparents for a festive dinner.
    I love remembering, thinking back.

    I too have started bringing out the “bits and bobs” of Christmas things.
    We are having another shut down so plenty of time
    to bring out things to “dress up” the house.

    Our thanksgiving family will be just the two of us.
    Feels strange and sad to experience no family time.

    Happy days ahead Jackie, I love seeing pictures of your tree.

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    1. We were lucky Lynne ..... I'm sure some had a miserable time unfortunately.
      Love you story of the bells .....
      We often had snow around Christmas ..... we seem to get it more in February now .....
      We used to take it in turns as to who did Christmas ..... one year it would be at our house and the next it would be at our Aunts ..... it was always lovely.....
      We tend to start decorating around mid December although some have already got lights on their houses .....
      Try to think of your quiet Thanksgiving as a one off and that, hopefully, you will all be together again soon { maybe at Christmas }
      Will show my tree when its done although, it will probably look similar to previous years !!!!!
      Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family Lynne. XXXX

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  3. Your Christmas traditions sound wonderful and how lovely that you are carrying them forward for your family. As a child, I have fond memories of decorating the tree as a family, relatives arriving Christmas morning, everyone exchanging gifts followed by a turkey feast. Like you, today, I am decorating my home and will have a large live tree aglow with an angel atop.

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    1. Our Christmasses were always lovely Susan and I have fond memories ..... I think our children do too ..... I always remember them not being able to sleep and they kept coming downstairs ..... Father Christmas had to wait until they went to sleep 😂 Your Christmas celebrations sound similar to ours ..... because of the pandemic I said to our children and grandchildren that I might not get a tree or might have a smaller one ...... they all shouted Noooooooo !!!!! You HAVE to have a big tree !!!! So, it has to be done ! XXXX

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  4. Phew, you've a big family to festively embrace! Love your photo. Your Dad was a real trooper to play Father Xmas and you look as proud as punch. And love your fuzzy bolero! I'm guessing angora. Funny, I don't ever recall cameras around at Xmas, either. We used to get two Xmases as my grandparents went on a cruise every year for as long as I can remember and we'd have the first with them mid-December, and the tiny residue of family would have the second together at the rightful time. Always a lovely day but not strong on tradition, and always happily received modest gifts. I remember by teenaged years, Mum's and our fantasy would be Xmas lunch in one of the big hotels in the city but we never did it. My brother asked me last night if we should give it a try this year! But years of corporate fine dining and what-not have taken the gloss off that particular fantasy. I was hoping to go Early Tree this year but it's practically December already! And I have the sewing machine and paraphernalia encroaching on the corner so need to make some room first, haha. xx

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    1. I do have quite a lot to buy for Pip ..... it does get harder and harder to think what to get, especially the grown ups ! My Dad was a trooper but, then again, he did love being the centre of attention 😂
      Re the boleros .... do you think it was a UK thing or can you remember having one ? Rachel remembers having one as do my friends.
      Strange about no photographs around Christmas .... maybe it was because everyone was so busy ..... there were no convienience foods were there so everything was made from scratch. I remember my mum making bread sauce. She pierced an onion with cloves, left it overnight in milk and finished it off on the day ..... I buy mine from Marks and Spencers !!!
      We once had Christmas in an hotel and once went to Disneyworld with our children but, it wasn't the same !
      Get moving that sewing machine .... you've Christmas to prepare 😂😂 XXXX

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  5. Wow, Jackie - what a lovely and lively Christmas remembrance!
    Your Dad is as always very good-looking man, and you look so happy in your bolero! Always when I see photos of you I think that we two would have a good laugh together.
    Good to remind me to start to care for Christmas presents (for the triplets I have them ready, ha), and this year I have the plan to add to each present a Christmas-Card I have painted myself. Time enough I might have, I think... (at least till the 5th of December, then the Flying Dutchman will arrive).

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    1. I have very fond memories of Christmas as a child Britta { and as an adult !!! } Everyone said that my Dad was good looking .... if he could have heard you say that he would be over the moon !!! I'm quite embarrassed about my bolero but, that's what children wore in the fifties at parties !!! .... Rachel remembers hers.
      I'm sure we would have got on very well Britta ..... and, I know we would now .... I think we have much in common.
      Aahhh, the triplets ..... they will love opening their presents. I have got most of our grandchildrens presents so I might start to wrap them soon. It becomes a marathon if I leave it until the last minute.
      I hope you will show us your hand painted Christmas cards ..... what a lovely idea. XXXX

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  6. I did the same thing...........STILL trying to make it ALL SO MAGICAL!
    I was an only child and the thrill of going downstairs to CHRISTMAS DAY will NEVER LEAVE ME!WE had a RED PLASTIC SANTA BAG.....I STILL HAVE IT that would be filled with toys and dolls.......we opened family gifts on the night of the 24th.Then SANTA would come and eat his cookies and milk I would leave on the fire place.........HUgs to YOU!XX

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    1. .... and, I am sure that you have made Christmas magical, every year Elizabeth !Hugs back and have a wonderful Thanksgiving. XXXX

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  7. Oh goodness Jacqueline, most of my memories are exactly the same; especially Uncle Holly. A few toys from Hamleys, usually a meal at Scmidts in Soho, and a pack of those burnt Chestnuts. Christmas wasn't Christmas without that (very tiring) day in town.

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    1. Haha Cro ..... I bet there are many of us that share the same/similar memories. I feel so lucky that I was given those memories. XXXX

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  8. Oh that all sounds so lovely Jackie. It brings back many memories of my childhood Christmases. They seemed so magical back then. I do remember one time when my aunt, uncle and cousins were staying with us for Christmas. All us kids were squeezed into my little brother's bedroom, in bunk beds(!). I woke up sometime in the night to see my dad dressed as Santa, obviously a little inebriated from the adults' party going on downstairs, putting all the stuffed pillow cases at the end of our beds. God, I loved that man! xx

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    1. It was my favourite time of the year JayCee. We were the same ..... our cousins and us, all in the same bedroom getting more and more excited !! What lovely memories of your Dad ..... sounds like you were really close to him. XXXX

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  9. What a lovely post....always good to remember....this Christmas is the strangest ever I think....last year I was alone for the first time...and this Christmas I think it will be the same...together with leaf...I ask some friends for dinner...and try to make it a good one.....I search for presents online....because I think that is the best to do this year.....love from me 🍀🌲🍀💕

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    1. I'm sure your Christmas will be lovely Ria .... we will just have a different time this year ! I, too, have bought all of my presents online..... so easy and stress free ! Keep happy Ria ..... thinking of you and sending love.♥️ XXXX

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  10. My favorite Christmas memories are that my brother and I used to wake up way early. We would sneak out to the tree for a look around. We would come back to our rooms and wait for everyone else to wake up. We would congregate on one bed and wait whispering in the dark. The anticipation is what I remember most of all. How exciting it all was!

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    1. You have similar memories to me Debby ..... it was SO exciting ..... I loved every moment of it. Such a magical time as a child. XXXX

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