So Christmas is over for another year. You’ve eaten about as much food as you could stand and still helped yourself to the Quality street tin. You’ve explained the rules of your new board game about twenty times and you’ve promised yourself that you’ll start being healthier in the New Year. We all know our own Christmases very well and take pride in our own unique family traditions.  However this year I took the chance to sit down with my Nan and ask her about the Christmas when she was my age, 15, in 1952.

What did you have in regards to presents?

“When I was small we had a pillowcase that was put at the end of the bed. But when I grew up we all did our own parcels and they were all put on the breakfast table. It was one present from each person to each person, there was none of this mountain of presents that you undid, and they were nice presents. Well I had some really lovely things. One year when I was twelve I actually had a gold watch but that was unusual because every member of my family put something towards it and I only had that one present, nothing else that year.”

So you didn’t have a tree?

“No, I didn’t have a tree until, I think I was 17 before I had a Christmas tree and it was very tiny. We used to have paper chains and a bit of holly but that was it, nothing else.”

Did you open your presents after breakfast then?

“Yes, and we had to wait for my dad because he would insist on having egg and bacon and we were all too excited but we had to wait for him to finish.”

What food did you have?

“Christmas dinner was virtually the same as you have now; we had turkey and sprouts, roast potatoes, mince pies, Christmas pudding, all that sort of thing but no alcohol with the meal at all. But the only way we had a turkey was that my aunt had a relative in Scotland who had a turkey farm so used to send us one via Royal mail! The Christmas pudding always had real silver thrupney pieces (threepence pieces), if you got one in your pudding, because they were all cooked in the pudding, it was so exciting but you never spent it. It used to go back to your mother for next year. We would have Christmas dinner about 2 o’clock, there was a great crowd of us all trying to get a word in edgeways I expect.”

When did people come round?

“My aunt used to hire a car to come on Christmas morning and then everyone would stay over because there was no transport to get home and we would do it all again on Boxing Day but with a cold dinner instead!”

What happened during the rest of Christmas day?

“After we had our tea on Christmas day, which as you can see was a huge spread (see pictures), at about 9 o’clock we’d all push off into the front room and that’s when the drinks would come out and then we’d play games. My father nearly always tried to buy a new game at Christmas. Money was flying all over the place, we all liked to bet. And then we’d all go to bed about 4 o’clock in the morning! Also we would all have a sing song round the piano, every household had a piano.”

So when did you start getting all the shopping in because you didn’t have a fridge?

“Well the first thing my mum used to do was the Christmas pudding in September which was a marathon because all the dry fruit had to be washed and the raisons were huge and you had to stone them.  Then all the fruit had to dry before she could make the cake and the puddings. But apart from that Christmas didn’t start until December, there was none of this all the shops done up as they are now in September. It just didn’t happen; you didn’t start preparing Christmas until the first week of December.”

Now you have an insight of Christmas from the fifties and can see the differences as well as similarities it all really comes down to spending time with loved ones and being grateful for what you have. Have another Quality street, you deserve it!