Boyhood memories from the Thirties - 'Christmas’

With puddings and cakes already made Christmas Eve was fast approaching. At school rehearsals for the festive concert were well under way and coloured strips of paper were being pasted together for chains to decorate the classrooms. Arthur Bray and choir singers from ‘The Chapel’ could be heard singing carols under the light of gas lamps around the village.

Christmas Eve arrived. Cockerels had not been heard crowing for some days and empty rabbit hutch doors hung loosely on their leather hinges. Vegetables were lifted and brought to the kitchen. That evening children retired to bed amid great excitement, hanging pillows or stockings at the foot of their bed. Soon sleep overcame excitement for a few hours, but at the crack of dawn an exploratory foot was sent to the bottom of the bed to see if ‘He’ had left any presents.

Next morning every one rose early, after breakfast presents were opened and then it was off to church to hear the true story of Christmas and to sing the chosen carols. Meanwhile at home the kitchen was a hive industry as the annual feast was prepared. This day the poor lived as the rich! After the midday meal presents were examined more closely, clockwork trains hurtled round circular tracks, books were read and new games played. At tea time the table was again laden with Christmas fare, the cake taking pride of place plus a colourful arrangement of Christmas crackers.

The evening was spent playing cards and other family games until paper hats crumpled on weary heads, nut shells strew the hearth, pieces of orange peel fizzed and sparkled in the dying embers of the fire. The last meal was a supper of cold meat and home made pickles, freshly cooked mince pies and sausage rolls, and then to bed so tired, but oh so happy. “Merry Christmas everyone”


Remember when Christmas was Christmas
And there was no room at the Inn
We gathered to sing our carols
Around lamps lit with paraffin.

Remember when Christmas was Christmas
And the Shepherds had a vision
We sat round a table
Instead of the television

Remember when Christmas was Christmas
Three kings in a camel train
And families went home for Christmas
Instead of phoning from Spain.

Remember when Christmas was Christmas
They followed the guiding star
Folks would walk to their church
Instead of driving by car.

Remember when Christmas was Christmas •
And they worshipped at the manger
And we all called "Merry Christmas"
Even to a stranger.

Remember when Christmas was Christmas
Was that message given in vain
Will there ever be peace on earth
And relief from suffering and pain???

Teynham Parish Council Website