A child's Christmas in the 1960s

01 December 2022
default-75641.jpg Christmas in Sixties Scotland
Andrew McIntyre recalls the fun of the festive season in Sixties Scotland.

Christmas is always a time for relection and remembering Christmases of the past, fortunately not like Ebenezer Scrooge.

Our Christmas when we were young and living in Lambhill, began in November. We attended Lambhill Mission, and my father was a season agent for Pickering and Ingles, a well-known Christian book and card suppliers. My father would collect orders form the congregation at Lambhill for Christmas cards and calendars and they’d be delivered in a huge cardboard box at the end of November.

It was a time of excitement as this box portended the start of the Christmas season. It was great to help my father sort out the orders and also to see all the Christmas scenes on the various boxes of cards.

Contrary to our rose-tinted memories it didn’t always snow at Christmas, although I do recollect more snow in the Sixties than in other decades.

A working day

My father didn’t always have Christmas Day off work, as was the case with many other families. There was one Christmas Eve that he did have off when he left the house early in the morning to do his Christmas shopping. By 8.30 that night we began to worry as he hasn’t returned home, but all that had happened was he’d forgotten the time.

Father always bought the most enormous fresh turkey for Christmas, some years we did wonder it id’ actually fit into the oven! Christmas is always a family time and in the Sixties my grandparents celebrated with us. My brother and I usually bought my grandfather a special cigar that cam in an aluminium tube and we always watched his face light up in pleasure as he smoked it after Christmas dinner.

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Special presents

I also remember some of the presents my brother and I received. Things like The Scottish Football Annual, The Hotspur Annual, The Broons, Oor Wullie and The Eagle Annual. These were mainstays and we looked forward to receiving the latest copy each year. I also recall ‘swoppit’ cowboys and Indians, and Airfix model kits. My special ones were 12-inch-high kits of the three Musketeers. They were amazing and lasted many years.

One year I was hoping for a bike and when I woke on the day I noticed a saddle bag had been left for me. With a little disappointment I charged downstairs, almost blurting out about receiving a saddle bag but no bike, I stopped in my tracks as there sitting in the back room was a shiny new blue and white bike with Sturmey Archer handlebar gear change, wow!

(image copyright Wellcome Collection)

(Originally published December 2018, reviewed December 2022)