The title of this post refers to my younger self. I have often said that you lose much of the excitement about the proximity of Christmas as soon as you are responsible for organising it for yourself. Today, then, I will attempt to recall how the young bot would have felt.
We always had a real tree. In the late 60’s they had sort of perfected the problem of dropping needles to a manageable level. The coating was also fire retardant to an acceptable level, very important as our house was heated by a coal fire. As an adult, I feel it is unfair to kill a living thing just to throw it out later so we, like most, go for an artificial tree. That said I miss the smell of pine needles that permeated our little home. It was in every room, especially in the evening. The tree was put up in early December and a sniff of pine still reminds me of the holiday season. This is one of the few pictures of our house at that time (Far right.). You can see that, along with the smell of roast dinners, the pine needle smell would spread through this tiny building very fast. The house is long demolished.
The Christmas lights were old fashioned filament bulbs and added their own, more muted smell which combined with that of the tree. They were similar to this…..
………..So at this time the lights were primitive and they may have flashed but most were static and if one bulb blew none worked. Decorations too were primitive. These are some of the most common.
These were made at school and were our contribution to the decorations.
Hanging decorations were this type. Chains too were made of crepe paper.
The presents were, of course, at Father Christmas’ home awaiting delivery but the house was decorated and food of varying types was arriving courtesy of the relatives who were joining us for the day itself. In the case of Chocolate decorations to hang on the tree, stiff injunctions were in place about touching them. Of course any infraction would result in the non appearance of Santa and those presents.
So imagine, if you will, the excitement of waking up and finding the house in a state of colourful splendour, fire lit (It was usually cold in the mornings.). As Dickens observed in ‘A Christmas Carol’ “There was nothing of high mark in all of this.”. We were not rich but compared to the daily existence in a fairly poor working class home, the house was a jolly riot of colour, those Christmas smells beginning to filter into the Kitchen and thence up the stairs into the bedrooms.
Then there was the Advent calendar. No chocolate behind these doors, just a Christmas image. My daughter told me last night that our Grandson had eaten all the Chocolate in 1 sitting after opening all the doors. This did not happen in my day simply because opening each door in turn was it’s own reward, knowing that each door was one day closer to Christmas. It is sad that we had to tempt Children with any other reward. Children cannot restrain themselves very well and they lose the simple pleasure of anticipation we enjoyed. It was similar to this with large double doors for the 24th and single ones from Dec 1st to 23rd. Each door had an angel or a Star or similar behind it but the 24th was usually a nativity scene.
So there we were, counting down. With each day the excitement was building. There was fruit and sweets, all kinds of rich food which would be enjoyed on the day, appearing as if by magic.
I may post more nearer the day about the season as viewed through the eyes of a young Bot but for now I hope you have some idea of the wonder that these simple things created in me and the excitement that was building day by day. I must thank my parents here (1 alas dead and 1 in a care home!) for the wonder and excitement they gave me every year as a young child. I suppose it won’t hurt to post a pic of that young bot so here goes.
Also one of the few pictures I can find of the type of decorations we were used to, also featuring Nan Elsie and Grandad mac. Both are gone now. This was in the early 70’s but gives some idea.