Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Granny's Christmas part 3

Interior of Crayke Church

The third and final instalment of Granny's memoirs follows below.

Mother and Father went to church at 8.00 am and we children got up then and were dressed and ready for breakfast at a quarter to 9.00 am. There was church once again at 10.30 am and Christmas Dinner at a quarter to 1.00 pm. The dinner table always looked very gay. We had a brown basket with holly and a robin on it in the middle filled with fruit. There were silver dishes with almonds and raisins and crystallised fruits and sweets. At a party we went to we had each been given a little figure with a nodding head, a man with a wire pigtail, a fluffy dog and a black cat, a plaster puppy with a blue shoe in his mouth and a little fellow called “Billiken”. We liked to see whose figure would keep its head nodding the longest. I think “Billiken” usually won. The same kind friends had also given us a set of huntsmen complete with jumps and hounds and a fox. We used to take care that the fox was well hidden from the hounds. Father carved the turkey and Mother served the plum pudding which was always brought in alight with the brandy. Mother put the little silver charms in at the table. She liked to give Foss the sixpence, Mary often had the thimble and Brooke the bachelor’s button. Margie and I perhaps a 3d piece or a little donkey. Father usually had to go without. 
At 2.00 pm we had a carol service and then home for an early tea. Mrs M and E from the Hall always came to tea. We waited for Foss to ring the bells when everything was ready in the drawing room and then we all rushed in for the great event of the day. There was always a bright fire of logs, the standard lamp stood by the piano, the tree with its shining tinsel and coloured glass ornaments was lit up with its little candles and round the room stood the tables with our presents on them. First we had to sing a carol. We always sang, “Come to the manger in Bethlehem”, which was Mother’s favourite. One year, Father told me to be the page in “Good King Wenceslas” and he was the King. I managed to sing my part quite creditably because I knew it so well. Sometimes the choir boys came round singing carols and were invited in to see the tree. They were given an orange each and pennies. Father kept a bag of pennies to give to the carol singers. Some came on Christmas Eve and some very early on Christmas morning. “A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year and please will you give us a Christmas Box”, was a familiar cry on Christmas morning.
The celebrations do sound lovely, don't they? Wouldn't it have been nice to have been there?


  1. Dear Ellie
    Thank you for your comment on my blog about the aprons - of course I'll enter you for the giveaway. Popped over to explore your blog and although I know you posted this around Christmastime and so this comment is rather late in the day I wanted to say that I absolutely love this series of posts about your Granny's Christmas - SO evocative and with the beautiful old photos as well. I was mesemerised and would have happily gone on reading further instalments. The way you quote and present what I presume are diary entries works extraordinarily well. I really hope you will post some more. Your jewellery is beautiful by the way. Elizabeth x

  2. Dear Elizabeth
    Thank you so much for the lovely comment you left. I'm really pleased that you enjoyed reading about Granny and the way she spent her Christmasses as a child. Her writing is taken from a memoir that she wrote covering her early life up until she was about 17 or so, and she did have a very interesting time - going to school in Europe and travelling, as well as exploring her local area. Thank you too for the comment about my jewellery - I am still very much a novice but am really enjoying the chance to be creative in a different way, using gemstones. The other nice thing about it is that I can wear what I have made.
    Best wishes