Ryde Social Heritage Group research the social history of the citizens of Ryde, Isle of Wight. Documenting their lives, businesses and burial transcriptions.
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Christmas Past

Ann and Mum on holiday at Great Yarmouth
Ann and Mum on holiday at Great Yarmouth

Ann Barrett, leader of our Research Team, wrote this poem for her family of her memories of Christmas as a child and she has kindly allowed us to feature it on the website along with some photographs from her childhood:


That time has come around again,
with greetings and wishes galore.
Cards written out and glad tidings sent,
oh no! I’ve remembered some more.

Xmas shopping sprees of yesteryear,
were fun to say the least.
With boxes full of goodies,
quite a veritable feast.

Buying presents for the children,
looking, choosing, this and that.
Fillers for their stockings,
crackers with jokes and a paper hat.


Fruit and sweets a wonderful treat,
some only seen once a year.
Chestnuts roasting by the fire,
no longer an option we fear.

After breakfast, excitement abounds,
aromas from the kitchen come.
The bacon, turkey and mince pies are cooking,
mm! mm!, can we sample some?

The gifts for each other, lovingly made,
by hand, with infinite care.
Knitting and sewing throughout the year,
we’re thrilled with our something to wear.

A present for my Aunties, a calendar I made,
pot holders and tea cosies were knit.
Hand-made socks for Grandpa,
keep fingers crossed they fit.

Toys made with wood and useful things too,
Grandpa with his carpentry skills.
Would carve and shape to his hearts content,
with chisel and plane and drills.

No bikes, no game-boys, nor PC’s for us,
no tele to watch all the day.
Our radio took pride of place,
conversation, was more our way.


The dinner was a splendid affair,
although money was rather sparse.
Dad carved the turkey, who wants a leg?
don’t argue or you’ll wait till last.

A silver joey in the pudding, no less,
everyone wanted to get.
Is it in yours, is it in mine?
Mum’s put one in each, I bet.

Family gathered, simple pleasures to enjoy,
sing song round the piano a must.
Monopoly or cards, everyone joined in,
whose cheating, we know, we’ve got him sussed.

A game of charades, that was such fun,
and now its Nana’s turn.
The antics she tries, to tell us the word,
you’d think each year, she would learn.

The Christmas tree sparkles and the fire is aglow,
we each had a story to tell.
Of Santa and elves and fairys and such,
Noel, Noel, Noel.


The whole day was special, I remember it well,
Oh never let it end.
With the family all around me,
no matter, we had now’t to spend.

I may be old fashioned, but just you think on,
my memories are fresh and clear.
Of the loving and caring all around, it was,
yesteryear, yesteryear, yesteryear.

By Ann Barrett
December 2008