following is from last Winters Golden Days.
"Christmas time was huge to me. Massive. Because I loved it so much. It didn't come as early as it does now. You didn't start thinking about Christmas until you were into December. You'd go out and get your decorations and things a couple of weeks before. That couple of weeks before was full on. This was Christmas now. You know, you'd go and get the tree. We always go the tree too early. And we'd always get one of those trees where the needles drop after about three days, so by the time Christmas day came, it'd be completely bald.
We would make paper chains from crepe paper and you'd cut them and so you could twist them. And I still do that now with my kids. And we'd stick them all over the ceiling in sort of loopy things. And in between the loopy things, we would put up balloons, so there wasn't a gap on the ceiling. And we'd have the tree really laden with presents around. It was very much Aladdin's cave.
My stocking would hang at the top of my bed, so I would only have to reach out to see if he'd been or not. And when he'd been, that feeling. And it was a real stocking as well; it was my Mother's stocking. And inevitably, she wouldn't have a clean one. So I'd go 'Mum I haven't got a stocking' and she'd take it off, Christmas Eve night. And so you'd have that fantastic Christmas aroma of my Mum's smelly feet hanging by the side of the bed.
I remember one Christmas I was probably ten or eleven, getting a doll. It was as tall as me at the time. It was hard, it wasn't a soft squidgy doll, but it was like a proper little girl, like my best mate. I remember thinking; Father Christmas is the most generous man because he's given me this ENORMOUS doll. I was flabbergasted, I couldn't believe it. And the next morning, I went into my Mum and Dad and went 'Mum, look what he's done, he's brought me the biggest doll on the planet'. To me it was huge; it was like the biggest, most generous thing anybody could give, a doll as big as you.
Christmas Day was such a big day because my Mum and Dad got married on Christmas Day in 1939, so it was a double celebration. Mum and Dad always toasted each other with a little nip of whisky in the morning, which my Mum absolutely hated. So my Dad would go 'Doll' (they were called Dolly and Teddy would you believe), 'Doll, I still love you and here's to many more years' and my Mum would go 'Yes Ted' and drink and always hated it and she'd pull a face and we'd all laugh at her.
We would always watch the Queen's speech. I never think of it now. But you would have to watch the Queen's speech; you would sit riveted to the telly watching the Queen's speech.
Christmas night we would have a party. Always a party. There'd be loads of sandwiches, turkey sandwiches and loads of pickles; every sort of pickle and friends would come over, my brothers. And we'd pull the curtains open; let everyone in the flats opposite know we were having a big party. "