Christmas in the 80s

Christmas in the 80s was amazing, nothing at all like Christmas nowadays. It actually meant something more than extravagant gifts, huge Christmas trees decorated within an inch of their modern life and flashing LED lights draped around each corner of the guttering. Christmas in the 80s was all about foil decorations, tinsel, multi-coloured glass fairy lights and a magical atmosphere.

I used to love Christmas at primary school the excitement of making decorations for the tree, we never had ‘happy hour’ at school we just cracked on with making our tat to take home in the hope that we would get a ‘wow, that’s amazing’ from our mums. We had a Nativity play every single year, when I say Nativity play I mean a proper birth of Jesus, all signing Away in a Manger and fighting over who was Mary play. No one was afraid that they would offend anyone with the story and we never had dancing aliens in our plays. During my primary school years I was a Star, an Angel with a gold tinsel halo, a shepherd and Mary.

Even though Christmas was about the presents it wasn’t the bee all and end all, I remember the magic the most. The build up was immense, my sister and I used to squeal with excitement. My mum really brought out the magic of Christmas for us, I remember each year when it came to putting the tree up she would get the cardboard box down from the loft and pull out the colour coordinated beads, velvet bows, foil ceiling decorations, glass and cotton covered baubles and tinsel. Before we were allowed to decorate the tree she would iron the velvet bows, there were probably about 30 of them. We used to look forward to it so much, we never had fancy lights outside of our house just the tree and our stockings hanging on our electric fake log fire.

Carol singers would come knocking on the door in groups, this was the done thing back then. I do remember hiding from them on one or two occasions though. People would deliver Christmas cards to each other by hand, we would walk around the street popping cards through our neighbour’s letter boxes.

Each Christmas Eve we would pull the sofa to in front of the TV, turn the lights off apart from the tree lights and put Santa Clause The Movie on. To me he was and always will be the real Father Christmas. We were allowed to open one present on Christmas Eve, I remember having a good old prod at the presents that were under the tree as well as sneaking chocolates from the tree and wrapping them back up to make it look like I had not touched them. We always had new pyjamas on Christmas Eve, after we had a bath and hair wash we would put them on and get cosy. We left Father Christmas a plate with a mince pie on and a glass of milk, Rudolph was left a carrot and our front door was left unlocked (until my Mum went to bed).

When Christmas morning arrived we were beyond excited, just hearing the rustle of the stocking at the end of our bed was the best. We would race downstairs but were told to wait first so my mum could check that Father Christmas had been. We then opened our presents, we had one big present and a pile of little gifts. The Snowman was always on in the morning which we watched eating our breakfast. Christmas Day outfits were a thing back then, these were always matching and fancy, my mum crimped our hair and I remember having a new pair of shoes each year. Christmas dinner was at my Nan and Granddad’s house so we walked there in our little dresses and coats. My Nan put on a massive feast for us all, she had the best Christmas sweets and treats – After Eights, Match Makers, Jelly sweets, Quality Street and Dates (yuk) –  I would stuff my face! Who remembers Top of the Pops? I looked forward to watching it after dinner to see who was Christmas No.1.

I have really lovely memories of Christmas in the 80s, there are so many more things I need to mention (Radio Times, Eastenders special, actual proper snow) but I would be here all night. I would love to know what your favourite childhood Christmas memory is?


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