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Christmas as it used to be
Posted On 11/13/2020 14:31:13 by kiwibarb

Christmas morning at our house began about 5am. It was summertime, and the brat who had to go to bed at 7.30pm was excitedly awake correspondingly early.

We had a set format that differed from that at any other home we knew of. We didn’t have a Christmas tree. All the gaily wrapped presents were put into the wicker clothes basket, a large oval basket with a handle at each end. Each present had a tag on it indicating whose it was. There were six of us. Mum and Dad, Coral, Arthur, Hazel and myself, the brat. Everybody gave a present to everybody else, nothing big and expensive, but carefully chosen with the recipient in mind, not the purse. Many of the gifts were home-made.

We didn’t have to get dressed. We all congregated in Mum and Dad’s bedroom, where they were still in bed, and we sat on their bed. The clothes basket was on the floor, and the brat was allowed to give the presents out. I had to ensure that nobody got their second one until everybody had opened their first one.

I have no idea, now, what we got or what I gave. I do know that all of us we well satisfied with our lot. 

After the opening and inspecting, we kids had to remove the clothes basket, fold up the wrapping paper, clear away any scraps and strings, (string was the order of the day, not sellotape) and generally tidy our parents’ bedroom.

Then we got dressed and were free to play with our toys until it was time to do the peas.

Arthur and I got that job. We would sit on the doorstep with a large pot of home-grown peas and another pot to put the shelled ones into, and a container to put the empty pods into, and we would chant one for the pot and two for me, eating them as we shelled them. I wonder that we managed to eat any dinner!

Our main meal consisted of roast hogget (mutton) with roasted potatoes, kumara, and pumpkin, served with mint sauce and gravy, plus the peas and beans from our garden.

The dessert was the traditional plum pudding with silver coins in it, served with custard and cream. Mum dished it up out in the pantry where we couldn’t see that she was ensuring that everyone got at least one coin. In later years we also had strawberries and cream.

We sang carols in the sitting room in the evening, in later years with one of us playing the piano.

There was nothing fancy about it, except a special cloth on the table and the best china. Fancy or not, those happy years can be recalled with fondness.


Tags: Presents Food



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Viewing 1 - 5 out of 5 Comments

11/19/2020 01:15:33

Sure sounds memorable.



11/18/2020 23:48:24

Because your Christmas is in the summer, did you have a comparible character to Santa Clause and his reindeer? It wasn't really emphasised in our family, even thought it was well known. Our celebration was about the Baby Jesus, born in a manger, and angels announcing the arrival of God's Son. Sunday School programs were part of our Christmas celebrations.



11/16/2020 10:08:58

Thanks for sharing. It's interesting how different holiday customs are in different parts of the world.



11/14/2020 20:24:09

I can well remember being out in the garden shelling peas though for us it was roast chicken then roast turkey then lamb when everyone said they weren't fond of turkey. These days it is different with my mother in her retirement village and no one will travel over to New Zealand because of the covid. We'll take Mum to a restaurant for lunch.   At least  everybody is well. 


Great blog, Barb!  



11/14/2020 03:17:08

What a wonderful memory.  So totally different from anything I have ever heard about.  You called it summertime, yet for us Christmas was always in the winter.  Thank you for sharing this.  Loved it.





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