Sunday, 22 December 2013

The ghost of Christmas past ...

My mind has been wandering down memory lane once again, and as I carry out my Christmas rituals I remember the way things were done when I were a lass ...

Thank you Google! xx

The build up to Christmas was always so exciting, at school there would be end of term competitions, guessing the number of sweets in a jar, raffles and of course The Christmas Party.  A new dress and shoes would always be bought, these would be worn for every special occasion over the Christmas period ... we didn't have drawerfuls of clothes then, and with four of us to clothe it was an expensive time for my parents. On the last day of school it was 'toy day' and I always took my favourite doll, Patricia. My Mam would make her a new dress specially for the occasion and I would wash her and do her hair the night before so that she looked beautiful.

Putting up the decorations was always a big event, and we would ooh and aah over the bubble lights which I so wish I still had ... we would get straw and set up the crib with the figures which my Mam had since she was a child and make paper chains to hang from the ceiling.

Spot the deliberate grammatical error! Grrr ...

On Christmas Eve, when my Dad was collecting The Turkey, my Mam would clean the house while me and my sister and brothers were becoming frantic with excitement ... I would help her to make the trifle and loved crumbling the Cadbury's Flake on top of the cream ... I still make my trifle exactly as my Mam did all those years ago. We would go to bed after putting out the mince pie for Father Christmas, and hope that sleep would come ....

The excitement of waking up and realising that it was Christmas Day ...

One of my best Christmas presents was a Tressy doll ... You pressed her belly button and her hair grew, wound her up with a key in her back and it was short again ... I can remember unwrapping her on Christmas morning, and she came with a wardrobe of hand knitted clothes, a pink and navy skating suit, jumper and skirt and a turquoise lurex evening gown with matching stole.  My Mam will have made these when i went to bed, and hidden them away. I played with her endlessly ... when you see what children get nowadays, Tressy would probably be just another stocking filler, but she was my best present.  

From Google - thanks so much! xx

We would each get a main present, usually a doll for me, a selection box, 2 annuals, and maybe 2 or 3 other bits and pieces. Probably a carrier bag full ... always with the Pretty Peach bubble bath from Avon sticking out of the top.  My Aunty always gave me a Bronnley gift set, soap, bath cubes and body lotion ... this made me feel very grown up, I remember.

So this year, once again as I prepare for the Big Day, my mind goes back to those carefree days, not so long ago, when Christmas was more about sharing and a time for families to get together, than the feast of consumerism it has become, where we all worship at the great God, Tesco ... It was a proper holiday, shops were shut for days, and the January sales were a big event, not starting until after 12th night ...

Along with the traditional favourites, new things are tried ... Peppermint Bark, yum yum!!

But Christmas just wouldn't be Christmas without a tin of these, now would it?

Whether you are traditional or modern, at home or away, I'll be raising a glass to you, and wishing you the very best Christmas you've ever had!

(and so does Ruby)

Have a fabulous time my lovelies, and looking forward to hearing all about it!

Love Claire xxx


  1. a veritable wander down memory lane! I so wish Christmas was like it used to be, the fact it makes the news about how busy the shops currently are, speaks volumes about the over consumerism. Saying that, I do love to buy gifts, I still love the whole Christmas shenanigans and I hope I always will!
    Have a very Merry Christmas!
    BH x

  2. OMG!!! youve just brought back the most amazing memories for me... I always wanted a Tressy doll... and never got one but one girl at school had one and let us all press that button to make the hair on the doll grow... how jealous I was!!! and pretty peach... lol I used to get that every yr as a gift from a neighbour and loved it as it made me feel so grown up!!! lol! thanks so much for sharing those wonderful ol' times!

  3. A lovely festive post.

    What lovely memories you have I think most of us have similar memories of our childhood Christmases. Maybe that is why people have become a little bit jaded about it. As a child we just turned up and fun we didn't realize just how much hard work put in to the festivities. Now as adults we do. I don't think Christmas has really changed all that much. I remember my MIL telling me about an old newspaper they had found in one of their old houses. It was printed in the 1800's I think and had an article in there about the pressure of Christmas and how busy the period was. I think even the word commercialism was used! So its been about for a long time. But I personally wouldn't change it or all the world. Growing up in the 80's I love the lights and sparkle the cheesy music and films and just like back in child and in the present I look forward to spending extended time with all my family. Having fun and yes a few foodie treats. Life is for living I say and although I celebrate that all year I love celebrating at this time of year when the nights are dark and days are cold.

    Ooo a bit of an essay there sorry about.

    Wishing you and all your family a very Merry Christmas Claire. And a wonderful New year.

    P x

  4. ~ Sending blessings of the season to you and yours, Claire ....
    and remembering all you have mentioned here..The simplicity of visiting , The Crib and nativity in our , Dalton Road shopping street with my Mama was my most favourite thing to do....Bet you remember this too! ~ Christmas is a feeling in your heart... after all and will always have our wonderful memories..Wishing you a, Joyful Noel... With hugs and Twinkles ***** Maria x

    1. I'm a bit older than you Maria, and when I was young the crib was a,ways at Coronation Gardens (it moved to Dalton Rd later) and I can still remember the excitement when the 'stable' appeared, along with the lanterns in the trees in Abbey Road ... It meant Christmas was coming! xxx

  5. Oh that's made me feel very nostalgic! So many of your memories are my memories too! I remember in the later years of primary school we were allowed to bring a younger brother or sister to school on the last day before Christmas. I felt so grown up taking my little brother along with me! Thank you for the memories and may you have a very very happy Christmas!

  6. and a very happy christmas to you as well - you always manage to bring back memories for me - today it was pretty peach!!!!! xxx

  7. Snap! This really was a walk down memory lane Claire - especially the Pretty Peach bubble bath which I saw as the height of sophistication. Hope you have a wonderful time this Christmas x Jane

  8. What a wonderful post, took me right back to my childhood too...I also had a Tressy doll as my main Christmas present, and my dear aunty used to get me pretty peach each year too. One year I had a lemon Bronnley set, a Yardley Sea Jade set, AND a Goya Aqua Manda set!!!!!!

    Have a wonderful Christmas, full of sweet memories.


  9. Dear Claire
    Pretty Peach - I had forgotten all about it - thank you for bringing back those happy memories. I can almost smell it too!
    Merry Christmas to you too.
    Best wishes

  10. Your dog drinks?! LOL!
    I'll raise a glass to you to and happy memories!
    Sandie xxx

  11. It really was much simpler then wasn't it.....or was it because we weren't parents yet? We each had a pillowcase, I reintroduced this tradition last year! Merry Christmas Sweetheart, have a good one! :) x

  12. Yet another beautiful post. Have a wonderful time.

  13. I too had a Tressy ... I loved that doll! I wonder what happened to it? .. I've not seen one since ..

    Vicky x

  14. Claire, I think looking back they really were the good old days. We expected less and were pleased with what we had. I love remembering childhood christmasses and Tony and I have spent hours talking about what our families did over the festive period. Do you remember 'snowballs'- of the alcoholic variety that were all the rage? I was only reminiscing today in the supermarket how I used to go to my aunties and she would give me one at christmas when I was a teenager and how grown up I felt. I'm sure it would have been more lemonade than aadvocaat but that didnt matter. Have a wonderful Christmas.XX

  15. Oh! Pretty Peach! I'd forgotten all about that! Do you remember Pretty Peach soap-on-a-rope?

  16. Lovely Claire, you are so right about what you said. I hope that you have a great day though, whatever you do or don't do, new or old traditions! Happy Christmas to you and yours. xx

  17. I too have wonderful Christmas memories. Growing up in Germany we would decorate a real Christmas tree with proper candles and mostly home made deccies on Christmas eve with my mum. The smell of a spruce or pine tree in the house was amazing. I can close my eyes and still remember that smell. There also was a crib being built up on mossy hills by my dad. The crip is now mine and I still put it up every Christmas on top of my radiator cover. There it sits now
    again with my small artificial tree and my German Christmas pyramid (a candle turned, hand carved ornament with toy train and Father Christmas upon it). As kids my sister and me would receive presents like new pychamas, a few books and a board game. There would also be some slippers or new tights. My paternal grandmother was an avid knitter, so we were always sure of some hand knitted socks in our favourite colours. Days before Christmas we would sit in the kitchen with my mum and her mother, cutting out shortbread biscuits with cookie cutters and baking until late into the night. Mum would then store all the cookies in metal
    tins down in our very cool cellar until Christmas eve. There was always a home made Christmas Stollen as well, and I have made my own this year, too. However frugal our lives would have been before the festive days, Christmas was always brimming with plenty of home made goodies and good company of family members. Being together and sharing the simple pleasures was then still appreciated a lot. I miss those good old days.
    Have a lovely Christmas and a Happy New Year!

  18. Memories are what it's all about xx

  19. Lovely to step back in time to the much simpler days! Wishing you a very Happy Christmas with all your family home.
    Sarah x

  20. It was so nice to read about your holiday memories. I wish you and your family a merry Christmas!

  21. You have started an avalanche of memories! I had a tressy, I loved her hair - in fact I took up hairdressing as a school leaver, probably thanks to Tressy! I also remember that Avon Peach - the little peach on the bottle was so special! thanks for the memories. Betty

  22. Lovely memories Claire ..where did those days go
    Yuletide Greetings dear friend
    Hope you a very special time
    Thea xx

  23. Beautiful post, Happy christmas x

  24. Thanks for the lovely memories. Wishing you a lovely Christmas.

  25. I agree, let's quit buying presents and just enjoy the music, the movies, the family time together and the big turkey feast! My Christmas as a child was very much like yours. We got a stocking filled with things like colouring pencils & a pad of paper, and one main gift and a few little things like dusting powder and writing paper. One year I got a doll very similar to yours! Her name was Velvet and she had a sister named Chrissie. My eldest sister got Chrissie who had lovely auburn hair (I was a bit jealous of that doll), and my Velvet had blond hair & violet coloured eyes. I loved her. Her hair grew & shortened in the same way as your doll's. She came with one purple velvet dress & tiny shoes, and my mom had made all kinds of outfits for her. I was so amazed that she did all of this just for me. Usually these things were done for my eldest sister, but never me! I still have the doll & gave her to my daughter. Sadly, she was never a doll girl, and never played with her. Maybe one day she'll have a daughter & Velvet will find a new playmate. Merry Christmas Claire ... it was such fun reading this post :) Wendy xox

  26. Merry Christmas to you dear Claire,
    from Italy
    Love Susy ♥

  27. Loved reading these wonderfully evocative Christmas memories, Claire! Wishing you and your family a very Happy Christmas!
    Helen x

  28. Hi Claire....what a nice post sister had one of those dolls with the magic hair ...I had forgotten all about it ! Wishing you a warm and wonderful Christmas ! Love Gail x

  29. Wonderful memories .....thank you for these reminders!

    Merry Merry Christmas Clare :-)

    Amanda x

  30. Merry Christmas Claire to you and your family and also a wonderful New Year! Anita xo

  31. Seasons greetings to you Claire and to your family.
    Loved hearing about the memories of your Christmas's as a young girl.
    Sounded a lot like mine - we would hang our pillowcase at the end of the bed and in the morning would wake up excited to find a doll or soft toy and always an Annual every year for us to read.
    Hope that you have a wonderful time this year with your family

  32. Pretty Peach bubble bath ... I'd forgotten that! I love your walks down memory lane Claire :)

    I do hope you and your family have had the most fabulous Christmas, and that you have the best year yet in 2014 x

  33. a happy new year to you Claire! I've nearly finished the quality street! I think i ate most of them! and you have just reminded me i still have Mollie makes to read tucked away under things! Heather X

  34. wow , this took me back a bit , my mom used to be an Avon lady and i always had some pretty peach for Christmas , i remember felling really grown up when i had some of the cologne for a present , A few years later i had a Mary quant makeup set , this was the best present i ever had xxx


I love to hear what you think of my ramblings and value all your comments ... I will try and get back to you, but am sorry if I don't always manage this ... sometimes real life just gets in the way! Claire xxx