As a little girl I would regularly be taken to see "Santa Claus" usually at Mawer and Collingham's store in Lincoln and of course in those days they used to take photos of the special moment. I have one of those photos probably like many other children a black and white photo with a white curly haired old gentleman. Me sporting a little blue bonnet to match my coat and it also had a little matching muff to pop my hands into and being given a present.
Much was always made of Christmas when we were growing up. My father believed in imagination and being able to use it. He took every opportunity to make us use it and there are several incidents where great concern was shown by us because he had us believing and eating out of his hand. The innocence of children. Saying that my Dad and my Granddad (Pop) loved and enjoyed their children. We were never a bother and we were enjoyed. There was always loving support and encouragement and love.
One of the earliest incidents relates to a particular winter where my parents' had invested in a gas fire. I think it was the year after 1962 when we had the big freeze up. This was a big change as we had up until then always had an open fire place in the front room. I wanted to know how he could get in and was given some spiel about how he had special powers and could open locked doors at will - that is if he could not get in by his regular route i.e. down the chimney. This terrified my brother because he did not want anyone coming into his bedroom and begged my mum not to let him in.
During the summer months if there was a particularly bad thunder storm we were always calmed down by mum saying not to worry it was only Father Christmas turning his toys over. This apparently had the desired effect in keeping us occupied.
Another incident was in the loft. Dad had a dark room in the attic and he took us up one day. You could clearly see the outline of the chimney and my Dad said why don't you tell Father Christmas what you would like for Christmas; so there we are my brother and I talking to the chimney and when we had finished this voice answered back saying Ho Ho Ho Merry Christmas children don't forget to be good between now and Christmas. I swung round thinking it was my Dad (which it was he threw his voice) and then the voice came again and said don't forget to listen out for the reindeer's bells jingling as they landed on the roof!
We used to hang a pair of socks each up on the chimney before going to bed together with glass of sherry each and a mince pie. In those days no carrots for the reindeer. Needless to say we always checked to make sure the drink and pie had been eaten and they always were; but we had to check.
When we used to get up in the morning as littlies the presents always used to be under the tree, but as we got older we used to hang a pillowslip on the bottom of the bed. Good idea in principle but waiting for us to go to sleep was not as easy as all that.
One particular occasion I recall was we went to bed and could not sleep. My brother had napped and had then woken up (we think about half an hour after Dad had managed to pop them there without us waking up - about 1:30am in the morning. He then came in to me all excited telling me he had been he had been and wanting to open his presents. I said not we would have to wait but my brother was not having any of it. In any event Dad came in and I got the blame for waking my brother up - Dad after all had only just gone to bed so was tired and grumpy.
My Grandfather was a Fitter and worked for the same company Ruston Bucyrus for 56 years. After he retired he found a seasonal job that earned him a bit of pin money and for about 10 years he was Santa Claus at Mawer and Collingham's shop. He stopped because he had been reading in the papers about senior members being caught for picking items up accidentally and not paying for them and he got so anxious about this that he stopped going into town so often as he did not want to be in that kind of a predicament. By all accounts though he made a very good Father Christmas .
Did your Dad/Granddad make Christmas special for you and if so how did they do this. Would be lovely to hear from you.