Post-war Memories of Christmas

At this time of year, when the nights draw in and the heating is turned on, one thinks of times gone by, when it was an open fire to sit by and frosty mornings meant that the windows would be frosted up both inside and out. No fitted carpets, just lino and rugs, so putting your feet out of bed in a morning was quite an ordeal.

When I was a small child my parents took me away for Christmas. I do not remember a great deal about the holiday as I was only about three years old. We went to Blackpool; I have no idea why they decided to go away neither do I know why they chose to go to Blackpool.

We stayed in a guest house, which I later learnt was in the very north of the resort, situated on the front with just a road between it and the sea. I was the only child there, as not many people went away at that time of year. One day while we were there it rained and the wind was so fierce that sea water, sand and grit from the beach washed down the front windows of the guest house. I remember this as it frightened me until I understood what was happening.

Christmas presents were in short supply as factories did not return to making toys very quickly after the war, but many parents went to great lengths to make sure that their children had something to open on Christmas morning. My Dad worked with wire and made myself and the girl who lived next door a cradle. My friend's Mother used some old pink curtains to cover the wire and made a hood for each cradle. My Mother had managed to get two dolls' heads and bodies were constructed then clothed in long night dresses made from my Mom's wedding dress. My friend and I thought we were in heaven when we found our cradles waiting for us on Christmas morning.

One thing that always made Christmas something to look forward to was chocolate. My aunt ran a Christmas club, which sold Cadbury's chocolate, not readily available in the shops. My Mother used to pay into this club so that we could have chocolate on Christmas Day. How this worked with sweet coupons etc just after the war I have no idea but that chocolate tasted wonderful and the bars seemed much larger than they do to-day. 

We had an artificial Christmas tree which was produced each year, decorated with pre-war decorations and candles which were only lighted on Christmas Day. To-day's Health and Safety would have had a field day. The tree gave good service for many years but when it

became bald it had to be replaced. The chicken which was roasted on Christmas Day was a real treat as chicken was not an everyday meal as it is to-day.

I hope these few lines have brought back some happy memories to you all.

Ed’s comment-Thank you to our contributor who wishes to remain anonymous but a lovely story following on from our Christmas celebrations

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