A Real Christmas

A Real Christmas

CHRISTMAS! Huh, it isn't like it used to be at all!
It's not a bit like Christmases of old that I recall
Oh, we knew how to celebrate the season then, alright,
Although It was hard work for Mother, and the money tight.
Why, I remember how we stirred the Christmas puddings, and
Made wishes as we mixed them in the bowl from the washstand!
The aroma of them cooking in the wash-house copper
Made us feel the Christmas season was upon us proper
We liked to peep and see them on the shelf under the stairs
The cloths tied in a double knot and neatly stacked in pairs
But just a little "taster-pud" we'd try before the day
To make sure they were good enough to please our Auntie May
For Mum said "Ev'rything she makes turns out to be just fine
And I don't want her puddings turning out better than mine!"
But now they're bought from Supermarkets in a plastic basin
And cost too much to buy if you are on an old age pension -
Oh! Christmas isn't like it was at all!

I'd eat a plateful of mince pies when I was just a kid
Hoping that I would find a "silver joey" 'neath the lid!
Today they're sold in boxes and packed in cellophane -
Just one bite of the pastry gives me indigestion pain.
You wont find any silver pieces in amongst the filling -
You'll have a job to even find the mincemeat, bet a shilling!
The Christmas cakes are square now - they can cut a smaller slice -
The little bit I got last year would hardly feed the mice!
But anyway, the thin and tasteless marzipan beneath
An icing hard as concrete - well, it nearly broke my teeth!
We used to wash the fruit ourselves and lay it out on trays
Which rested on the fireplace fender by the fire's blaze;
And when, the mixing over, it was turned into the tin
We'd lick the spoon and scrape the bowl as clean as a new pin
The smell of that cake cooking is a memory I treasure
It's simple things like that, that made my childhood such a pleasure -
Oh, Christmas isn't like it was at all!

The Christmas tree was magical and filled us with delight
It had real candles on it, casting their mysterious light
Today, it wouldn't be allowed - 'twould be a fire-risk, so
They have those gaudy fairy-lights instead of candle glow
We hung our sugar mice and candy shapes, just two a penny
Upon a real fir tree - nowadays you don't see many
A lovely angel topped our tree, we thought she was divine
Now Santa in a plastic space-craft costs five ninety-nine!
Our trimmings were of paper chains we children had hand-made -
Although we got more paste upon ourselves, I am afraid!

Today they spend a fortune just to decorate, you know
And you can get an aerosol of 'artificial snow.'!
I still enjoy receiving cards and letters in the post
But while a few have Christmas scenes, or Santa, or mice,
Or funny red-nosed reindeer, or skaters on the ice....
Oh, Christmas isn't like it was at all.

You never saw a Christmas feast like we had, I'll be bound!
For all the Aunts and Uncles and our cousins would come around
There were jellies and blancmanges - some in a rabbit shape
And we pulled the Christmas crackers and wore hats made of crepe
We played Charades and Blind Man's Buff when we had finished tea -
But now, they "Shush" me if I speak, their eyes glued to T.V.
It wouldn't be so bad if they spoke up so I could hear
And now my sight is failing so I really have to peer
They sit me in a corner, and they say to me "All right?"
And I mutter, "I suppose so - though I wish there was more light!"
They say that I'm asleep when my eyes close, they never know
I'm thinking of someone who kissed me 'neath the mistletoe
He was a handsome soldier-boy, and I was just sixteen
And what a lot has happened in the seventy years between!
There's not a day goes by but what I miss my husband, Fred,
Although it's over thirty years now that he has been dead...
Oh, Christmas isn't like it was at all!

Then I remember carol-singers knocking on our door
They sounded just like angels, and we always asked for more
"Once in royal David's city", or my favourite, "Silent night."
Their rosy faces seemed to glow with an unearthly light!
But now, they clap and holler and strum on their guitars
And sing strange tunes, and shake their tins - then dash off in their cars!
I often used to wonder as I sang the carols, why
They told that the Lord Jesus came down on earth to die
But what a comfort later when at last I understood -
"He died that we might be forgiven, He died to make us good!"
Forgive me for complaining, I shouldn't really moan
It must be my arthritis, and the hours I spend alone
I need to "get things off my chest", but I can thank the Lord
He always listens to me - He has time - He wont get bored!
He knows the pain and weariness of life, He felt it too
So I will count my blessings, and just say this to you -
The REAL CHRISTMAS hasn't changed at all!!

Copyright Dorothy Bull ( England ) with permission to reprint
--- Submitted by by Rose Perry --- Australia

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