A child’s Christmas, 1950s style

Christmas 1954 was eagerly anticipated by us children; two weeks before our mothers would allow us to go singing carols. At people’s houses, a group of six or seven would sing our favourite carols and, if we were lucky, be given a few pence at each house which we shared out at the end of the night.

The choir from St. Mary’s church would gather on Christmas Eve around the Christmas tree on Church Green. The reverend Winsor-Cundall would lead the choir and villagers for the service. We all loved the excitement of the lit tree, the cold air making our breath steam, and the singing. At the end of the service we wished everyone a happy Christmas. The adults would most likely have a drink in The Shaven Crown or The Red Horse (now the Wychwood Inn) on the way home and us children would hang around outside for a glass of lemonade and a packet of crisps. (No children allowed in the pubs in those days).

Next morning we all woke about five o’clock to see if ‘he’s been.’ We took down the stocking that had been hung on the fireplace to see what was inside – an orange stuffed in the toe, a few sweets, a couple of sixpences, crayons and colouring book. If you were lucky you had what was referred to as a ‘big present.’ One year I had a beautiful dolls’ pram that mother had bought from Chippy Co-Op with her coupons.

Thank you, Father Christmas.

Phyllis Clarke

December 2019-January 2020