SO THIS IS CHRISTMAS – GENEAMEME 2014
1.WHAT KIND OF CHRISTMAS DID YOU HAVE AS A CHILD?
Was your childhood Christmas a religious one? Did you go to Church? Was your Christmas a large family festivity or a small occasion? Who did you spend Christmas Day with?
Most of my Christmas memories are as an adult, I have more Easter memories as a child than Christmas for some reason. It wasn’t religious and we didn’t go to Church and I can’t recall any big family gatherings on Christmas Day. I do remember that we went down to the Gold Coast for the Christmas holidays so perhaps we didn’t do too much in the tent.
2. WHERE DID YOU SPEND CHRISTMAS?
When you were a child did you celebrate Christmas in your home, at a grandparents house or did you travel or go away on holidays and have Christmas away from home?
I have partly answered this in the first answer but I do know that we did use to decorate the house. There was a tree (sometimes a pine and sometimes a eucalypt) and Mum had lots of these paper lanterns that she used to hang everywhere.
3. A LETTER AND SOMETHING YUMMY FOR SANTA
As a child did you write a letter to Santa or leave out food and/or a drink for him? Did Santa have milk and cookies at your home or did he find a refreshing beer to help him on his merry way? And don’t forget the reindeer!
Our Santa was a beer and cashews man and I don’t think we ever left anything out for the reindeer. I can’t recall ever writing to Santa but I did find this invitation to Santa’s Workshop. Mum used to take us to the annual display at Finney’s.
4. THE CHRISTMAS TREE
Do you recall your childhood Christmas tree? Did you have a real tree? If so, do you remember where the tree came from? Do you recall going out to get the tree? When did your family put the tree up? Who decorated your childhood Christmas tree? (see the prompt below for decorations) Have you carried any of your family Christmas tree traditions into your adult life?
As I said earlier, we either had a pine or eucalypt tree from our back yard which bordered on bush land. It was always put in the front lounge room windows so that it could be seen from the street. I think Mum did the decorating with help from us kids. Dad did the lights.
Although I can’t recall much about my early Christmases, as an adult I have always had a tree and decorations, even when I was living by myself away from family.
5. DECORATING THE CHRISTMAS TREE
Who decorated your Christmas tree when you were a child? Did you help? Did you make or buy decorations. If you made your own decorations perhaps you might share a description of them here. What were your favourite decorations?
We didn’t make our own decorations but they seem to have all been made of paper although there was a big shiny star at the top of the tree and lots of tinsel.
6. DID YOU DECORATE OUTDOORS?
Did you decorate your house or a Christmas tree outdoors, or put decorations on the roof of your house? Did you put up outdoor lights? Do you remember anyone in your neighbourhood putting up Christmas decorations outdoors?
I can’t remember anyone decorating outdoors back then, not decorations or lights. I do now and have done since I was living in Melbourne. The house we had there was part of a Christmas lights street so we participated. We are now doing it on Bribie and last year we were the only ones in the street although some of the neighbours were more interested when we said it was all solar lights and not costing us anything.
7. CHRISTMAS CARDS
When you were a child did you give and receive Christmas cards? Who sent cards in your family?
Was there a special place where you displayed the Christmas cards your family received? What did you do with your Christmas cards after the festive season? Were they used in craft activities or were they kept?
We always seemed to have lots of cards from relatives, neighbours and friends as well as people who worked with Mum and Dad. They were always kept for the next year so that we knew who to send cards too again. Mum did keep all our very early Christmas cards up till about five years of age.
I kept up the Christmas card tradition by mailing cards to aunts and uncles but Mum is the only one left now. I still send her a card even though we see each other at Christmas most years. Most of my friends now send ecards or past Facebook greetings.
8. CHRISTMAS STOCKINGS
Did you have a Christmas stocking as a child? Was your ‘Christmas stocking’ a pillow case or a real stocking? Where in your home did you put your stocking out? Were all your gifts placed in your stocking or did you have some wrapped under the tree?
I don’t recall Christmas stockings as a child, just presents under the tree. As an adult I have had Christmas stockings in which I place lots of little presents.
9. CHRISTMAS PRESENTS
Who gave you Christmas presents when you were a child? Did you receive presents from Santa, your parents, from other family members, family and from school friends? Did you make any Christmas presents for others when you were a child? Can you recall any gift that you made? When did you open your Christmas gifts?
Mum was the youngest of ten children so we used to get lots of cards and presents from aunts, uncles and cousins. We all used to visit Mum’s mother’s place just before Christmas and catch up and exchange presents. This practice seems to have stopped when my grandmother died in 1964. I think she was the one who always gathered everyone together.
My son was the first grandchild and he reinvigorated our Christmas spirits and traditions as this photo shows.
As adults we always try to gather together at Mum’s place on Christmas Day but that is not always possible with some of the grandkids heading to their partner’s family place for Christmas and so on. Last year we had everyone together and it was great.
10. YOUR FAVOURITE CHRISTMAS PRESENT
Was there one Christmas present which stands out from your childhood as your best ever gift? What was it and had you been waiting for many years for this gift?
I can recall lots of doll type presents and my brother used to get cars and trucks. I can remember a cowboy and Indian tent which we had a lot of fun in but whether it was for Christmas or not I can’t remember now.
11. WAS THERE A PRESENT YOU WANTED BUT NEVER RECEIVED?
Did you ever have an unrealistic Christmas present that you wished for but did not receive?
I can’t recall, my family never had much money so we didn’t really expect big presents. Seems a lot different these days.
12. DID YOU GIVE GIFTS TO TEACHERS AND FRIENDS AT SCHOOL?
As a child did you exchange gifts with your school friends? Did you give your teachers presents? Looking back now, can you recall any of these presents?
Yes we always gave the teacher a present and for the female teachers it was usually nice soap or hand lotion and for the male teachers it was biscuits or chocolates.
13. CHRISTMAS FOOD
What kind of special foods did your family have on Christmas Day? Did you have a hot meal or cold as is often the case with an Australian Christmas which occurs in the hot summer month of December? Where did you eat – indoors or outdoors? Did you have a picnic or was your Christmas meal a formal occasion? Did you have a favourite Christmas food? was there a particular Christmas food you didn’t like?
Christmas dinner seems to be a blur in my memory but even today Mum still likes a big hot meal with chicken, ham, pork and roast potatoes and green vegies. I have memories of the plum pudding always having threepence’s in it and I can see Mum making it when I was little. Not sure what we had in the tent if we were camping, but probably a lot simpler. I have never liked fruit mince pies.
14. A SPECIAL CHRISTMAS RECIPE
Was there one very special Christmas food from your childhood Christmas that you still have the recipe for or have carried on the tradition of making? Whose recipe was this Christmas dish?
Sadly no, Mum was never really into cooking. My grandmother died when I was about 7 and she used to make the most delicious coconut ice cream in the summer but the recipe was never passed on.
15. CHRISTMAS TRADITIONS
Did your family have any special traditions when it came to celebrating Christmas? Did you have bon bons on the table? Did you say grace before eating? Was your Christmas a special celebration of a cultural background? Perhaps your family went caroling or went to a Carols by Candlelight evening?
No special traditions, no carols but we always had bonbons – still do!
16. CHRISTMAS MUSIC
Do you associate music with Christmas as a child? Did your family sing Christmas carols together? Were you in a choir that sang Christmas carols? In what other ways was music a part of your childhood Christmases?
We weren’t into carols or Christmas singing although when we were very little Mum did have a piano. Strangely I can’t recall her playing it.
17. YOUR FAVOURITE CHRISTMAS CAROL
As a child, did you have a favourite Christmas song or hymn? Do you still enjoy listening to is now? Have you passed this Christmas song on to your children?
As I didn’t grow up with Christmas carols I never passed them on to my son. We don’t normally play Christmas songs.
18. CHRISTMAS PARTIES
Christmas is often a time for festivity and parties. What Christmas parties did you attend as a child? Did your parents have work Christmas parties, or neighbourhood or street parties? Were you invited to these? If you were involved in group activities such as Scouts, Girl Guides or Sporting Teams, did you have end of year, Christmas parties?
At last something that I do remember. Dad’s Christmas work parties were fantastic and really big events. We used to get presents from Santa and there was always lots of food. I don’t think there were any other Christmas parties that we went to.
19. CHRISTMAS CONCERTS/PLAYS
As a child did you ever take part in Christmas concerts, Pantomines, Nativity Plays or Band Performances?
No and I can’t recall going to them either.
20. CHRISTMAS HOLIDAYS
On your Christmas school holidays, what did you do? In Australia, the Christmas break falls in summer so it is the longest break of the school year. Did you spend the holidays at home playing? Perhaps you holidayed at the beach, went camping, skiing or travelled? What activities do you remember doing? In countries where Christmas falls in winter, how do you remember spending your Christmas break as a child?
Some years we spent Christmas camping on the Gold Coast or went on holidays after Christmas Day. Some years I stayed with one of Mum’s sisters but most of the time we stayed home.
21. WHAT IS YOUR EARLIEST CHRISTMAS MEMORY?
What is your earliest Christmas memory? What do you remember about the day?
I am going to have to ask my brother about our early Christmas dinners as I really can’t recall sitting down and eating. I can remember unwrapping presents and sitting on the lounge room floor and I can recall Christmas dinners after I left home but nothing while I was at home. Next time I visit Mum I will have to get her photos out and see if they stimulate any memories!
A VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL