As a special festive addition to our blog series, some of our members have shared their thoughts and memories around Christmas. From bikes to guinea pigs, to Brussels sprouts and the joy of carving the turkey.
My favourite gift for Christmas was a purple Chopper bike in 1974. I had it for about 15 years. I didn’t ask for a Chopper, I just asked for a bike. It is my favourite gift of all time.
For me, Christmas is about the church - there is a message there. It’s important for me it doesn’t become too commercialised. We do daily devotions online at my church with a different decoration for each day and a biblical message. We also light an advent candle for the 4 weeks leading up to Christmas and have the Advent Crown.
Every year, the church do a charity thing for an organisation called the Samaritans Purse where you fill a shoe box with gifts, sweets and small toys for children abroad. We haven’t been able to give sweets in the last few years because of Covid, but we have donated toys, notepads, and that kind of thing.
At Christmas, I love pigs in blankets, and Brussel sprouts! We have an artificial tree and we put it up on 12th December. My mother used to put the tree up every year. Now, my personal assistant puts up the tree, though she’s not so keen on the job. I have one bauble that’s transparent which my gran gave me. I always make sure that is somewhere prominent so I can see it, and there’s always a star on the top, never anything else.
One of my other favourite memories is also the Dawn French episode from the Vicar of Dibley when they did the live nativity going around the farm, and Mary actually gave birth in the stable. That is brilliant. Miracle on 34th Street is my favourite film at Christmas.
In 1976 we had guinea pigs, and on Christmas day we went out for lunch. When we came back, we no longer had two guinea pigs, we had 5! We called the three new guinea pigs Fluffy, Flip and Flop – and I’ll always remember that.
Years ago, when I was a boy, I was given a toy house and I had to put it together and build it myself. I thoroughly enjoyed doing that. My father got it made through a friend, and I wouldn’t let my brother put his toys through the front door of the house. It was a family feud kind of situation. In the end, a second door got put in the house so my brother could let his toys into the house, but I always made sure my door in the house was bigger! Yes, that’s the way it was.
Food wise, I always remember getting the trifle. My mother could make a marvelous trifle and that was very special. At the end of the war period sugar was rationed and you could never get enough to create a nice trifle, so she would save stuff up so we could have a special trifle either at summer holidays or at Christmas. That was very special.
The worst Christmas I can remember is when my sister got a bike and I didn’t, and she was younger than me. My father was responsible. With the bitterness I felt, I’ve completely forgotten what I got!
I like the turkey and it has been the tradition in our family that the man cooks the turkey. That is the ritual of the day, and the man carves it too. The Christmas cake is another thing. My wife Angela makes that and there’s enough for the local regiment! I eat Christmas cake well into the Spring!