A family affair
I have been doing some musing on times past.
In particular, what Christmas was like some sixty or so years ago.
Christmas in our house started months in advance. The first sign was when my mother had a baking frenzy. There was the cake to be baked, mince for the mince pies and of course the Christmas pudding [with sixpence buried in it]. They would be left in their bowls and tin in the pantry to settle and mature.
Then a turkey would mysteriously appear and would hang from the pantry ceiling where there was even a special hook for the purpose. I hasten to add that the turkey was devoid of life – we weren’t that cruel.
Coming closer to the day, my sister and I used to make up paper chains to string around the place. The cake would be taken out and iced, and the turkey would be plucked [I always seemed to get that job!].
Christmas Eve was all about shifting furniture and opening the big doors between the sitting and dining rooms. Decorations would go up and the Christmas tree would go up and be decorated, usually to the sound of carols from King’s College on the radio.
The overriding impression though was that it was a happy peaceful event. There was no commercial hype, no frantic pleas to buy some horrible bit of tat to make our day “perfect”. There was an element of shopping but no frantic traffic jams trying to get into overstuffed shopping centre car parks. Granted, some lights would appear on some Dublin streets [not to mention a display of moving lights on Mc Birney’s on the Quay], but it would have been unheard of for people to string lights around outside their houses. That would have been seen as vulgar and totally unnecessary!
Christmas was a quiet family affair.
How times have changed!
Have a good one, ye’all.
Indulge yourselves and give Nanny a heart attack.
” my sister and I used to make up paper chains to string around the place”
DAMN YOU , you bog trotting, mountain dwelling,condorist, leprechaun fucker! I have spent decades trying to erase -through copious ‘self medication’- the memories of childhood Xmas. I had ESPECIALLY managed to totally erase the memory of me and my brother being forced to sit there with those booklets of ‘DIY’ sticky paper paperchains making those chains whilst Mother got more and more stressed by whatever it was my dad should have been doing and wasn’t. Even now I can still taste the glue (apparently reclaimed from 2nd hand stamps ). Add in the sensory memory of brussel sprouts and the tears because just the smell of those evil little green fuckers makes me,even now,vomit a little in my throat and being forced to eat them meant my vomiting over the xmas dinner Mother had spent three weeks, and money she didn’t have, slaving over ….(and this was back in the late 70s when beating children for upchucking over the meal was considered wholesome and character building).
You bastard. May your cat pull the turkey off the Xmas table, the dog use the tree as a lamppost and ALL,every last bloody one of your relatives, descend to play Monopoly and drink your best whisky.
ps. I’m getting the Craptcha again.
Heh! They used come in wads, wrapped with a bit of white paper, like bank-notes. Of course we were more intellectually advanced and instead of licking the damn things, we used to wipe ’em on a sponge that was sitting in a dish of water.
As for tomorrow – the cat shall be ceremoniously fucked out the door for the day and the dog is much too well behaved to piss on the Christmas tree [Herself might, but that’s another story]. No turkey or sprouts for the simple reason that neither of us likes turkey that much. There isn’t a drop of whisky in the house. Whiskey,on the other hand shall be drunk in copious quantities. If relatives arrive they shall be expected to supply their own.
ps. Is it any wonder?
pps. Added you to the whitelist, against my better judgement.
I suspect I got an early dose of carpal tunnel syndrome from making those paper chain decorations. Even so, I dreaded the day when they were taken down and the house looked drab and shabby again. One year we decided to bury the turkey neck. This proved an impossible task as the bloody dogs kept digging it up again. A shriek of horror from one of my sisters meant that an increasingly foul smelling object which was a different colour every time, would have to be dealt with. Looking back I can’t for the life of me remember why my dad didn’t just cook it in the first place.
This is weird. I always had the notion for some reason that ours was the only house to make those paper chains. It seems like it was quite some phenomenon?
I shall probably dream of turkey heads tonight………..
Christ, bloody paper chains were an annual chore in my house when I was a kid. Likewise, my mother would make Christmas pudding (with sixpences) and Christmas cake in about June and put them in the pantry to mature. Didn’t do any turkey plucking, though. She’d order it from the butcher, ready hung and plucked. I can’t be doing with plucking birds – a right pain in the arse. Twenty odd years ago I had a friend who would regularly give me pheasants he’d shot, which of course had to be hung, gutted and plucked. Gah! Bloody awful job.
Your missive about what Christmas was like when you were young brought back some fine memories (unlike the Dwarf, no offense meant, BD). If I recall correctly, we had a baked ham rather a turkey for Christmas dinner. Turkey was for Thanksgiving.
And my mother never served brussel sprouts for Christmas. Too bad since I liked the things–I put vinegar on them.
I also recall a family tradition of our parents giving my sister and I those large “12 Days of Christmas” cards early in December. The kind that had 12 little doors that we had to peal back, each revealing what was received on that given day–partridge in a pear tree on day 12, 8 maids a’ milking, etc and so on.
Always kind of wondered what that “8 maids a’ milking” was all about back then. I had a sneaking suspicion it wasn’t necessarily about cows).
Anyway, a very Merry Christmas to you and yours, GD.
“Always kind of wondered what that “8 maids a’ milking” was all about back then”.
All will become clear: https://michele.blog/12-days-christmas-irish-comedians-take/
Hah! I had forgotten about that one.
Don’t worry – we had the ham as well, followed by weeks of ham sandwiches. Sales of Branston Pickles must go through the roof after Christmas?!
I hadn’t heard of the 12-days version. We had the full Advent, with 24 little windows so Christmas started at the turn of the month. Having said that, woe betide anyone who dared put up any decorations before Christmas Eve! Now they start going up at the end of October.
The two of you have a happy one tomorrow, and let the snow fall as it may.
All the best to you and yours from him and me across the big pond.
“Indulge yourselves and give Nanny a heart attack.”
Did my best 😉
Very happy christmas to you and yours!
Have a great Christmas, old fella.
At early primary school we made those linked paper ring decorations for the classroom, but not at home where every year we put up the same concertina-ed paper stuff, carefully packed from the year before – always on 6th Jan. , 12th day of Christmas. Those in employment worked until at least noon on the Eve. We, in Scotland, would receive a chicken dead, gutted but un-plucked and with head, from mother’s mother on a wee farm in Fermanagh, with a brown card board label tied round it’s neck – no other wrapping.
Yes, Christmas was for family, pubs were shut but Hogmanay was for freinds, although it always entailed the pleasure of friends visiting each home in turn. The long walk, the fresh air and need to be respectable in each other’s home meant nobody got stoshious despite copious amounts of spirits being drunk.
A good Christmas and a happy New year to you, yours, and all your readers.
Lang may yer lum reek.
my wife and i(where did i hear that)took our 9 year old son and our 7 year old daughter home to dublin for our first trip since moving to melbourne .both chisslers born in ireland .my mother sent siobhan to the bathroom to wash her hands on closing said door she saw the turkey hanging behind the door.and screamed blue murder and took the rest of the day to calm her down.the following morning i brought my mother her morning tea to her bedroom on opening her door her door alarm went off causing me to drop the tray and contents she lived in east wall hence the alarm! too late for christmas greetings but may 2018 bring yourself andyour wife a peacefull and happy year