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Christmas in the 1950s

How different it was then.

We always had a large family gathering involving my mother’s family. Lots of aunts and uncles, grandparents, older cousins with their spouses and families; younger ones sometimes with future partners; several of us unattached teenagers or younger children.

Today me, two daughters, one spouse, one teenage grandson. Families are both smaller and more scattered. No close relatives nearby.

Food then was always cold, as days were invariably hot, and most of us travelled several hours in un-air-conditioned cars. The problem was being sure that food did not spoil from the heat as we drove along. Wet towels or wet newspaper helped to keep it cool. Hot food was unappealing after a hot drive. Now we drive in air-conditioned cars, and can cook a hot meal and eat it in air-conditioned comfort.

During the day we made our own entertainment. Lots of conversations inside, sometimes billiards or table-tennis, even card games; outside it was usually cricket. The young men played real cricket, with bowlers, batsmen and wicketkeepers; if women or girls were involved it became ‘french cricket’, using a tennis ball. The player had a bat to defend her legs from being struck by the ball, which was tossed from anywhere in the circle of players surrounding her. If her legs were hit, then she had to hand the bat to someone else.

Now the TV is always available to provide passive entertainment.

But Christmas is still Christmas, a time for loving and sharing with those important to us. I hope your Christmas is everything you could wish for.

Barbara Randell


PS, If you enjoy reading my blogs about life in the 1950s, then you would enjoy reading my book, 'The Redgens of Redford'. The 'about my memoir' page on my website tells you how to purchase it.

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