Our weekly local newspaper arrived yesterday. Ordinarily the ‘Memory Lane’ column bores me to tears (don’t hate me, but I’m not big on history). However, this one was headed ‘Orange and coal in your stocking if you’re lucky’ and recalls Christmas in the Black Country in the 1990s.
Fiona Carding, of the area’s fantastic Black Country Museum, recalls:
Many mothers started paying a penny a week into the sweet shop 12 weeks before Christmas, putting aside sweets for children’s stockings.
Suddenly makes us all racing around shopping centres picking up the latest ‘must have’ look a bit pathetic doesn’t it?
I also loved this:
Christmas was far less commercial and more charitable too. Donations from the benevolent trusts ensured even the poorest weren’t forgotten. In 1904 Christmas in West Bromwich workhouse began with carols played on a gramophone and breakfast served in the decorated dining hall, followed by a Christmas Service conducted by the Chaplain.
It’s been a difficult year financially for many. But I think we really need to put things into perspective. There are people out there who are in genuine poverty, who need help and assistance. Then there are the rest of us (I know I’m equally guilty) whose expectations are bigger than our bank balance. If you’re still racing around looking for last-minute presents, or food for the get-together, take a step back and remember it’s the thought that counts.
Look back at old photos of your Christmas tree with all the presents nestled underneath. Can you remember what gift was in each package? Probably not. Now can you remember a story from a celebration from that year? Perhaps the year when you fell on your arse pulling a cracker (me), or when the turkey decided to jump out of the oven… it’s those things that make Christmas special; not spending vast amounts of money.
And with that, I’m off to put Michael Buble’s Christmas effort on Spotify and get into the Christmas spirit. Before I go, here are two web links which I bequeath thee as an early Christmas gift…
The first is a fantastically inspirational article written by someone who had the guts to ditch their day job and follow their dreams. No, it’s not me. I’m not as brave as this woman. But it is food for thought for anyone who is unhappy in their nine-to-five, especially with those all important New Years’ Resolutions just around the corner.
The second is one for my fellow bloggers, some of whom combine full-time (and then some) jobs with blogging. Yes, the tips on how to be more effective are common sense, but that doesn’t mean we don’t all need a gentle reminder from time to time.
Happy Christmas! xx
PS… I also love, love, love this post about Christmas traditions from Gala Darling. Something to think about for next year.