We got our first Elf on the Shelf this week – late to the party but glad we came.  Elf is currently riding on a glittery reindeer and I have MANY ideas for him.  This, added to my friend Lisa pointing out that advent calendars used to just have pictures inside and we didn’t know to care, got me thinking about Christmas childhood memories;  All the brilliant things that were magical in the decade of… coughs… the 70s.   Brilliant things list alert!

  1.  THINGS FROM THE MILK “float”  

Hampers!

The hamper leaflet would arrive months before… hampers!  And I’m not talking Fortnum and Mason style posh things, I’m talking cardboard boxes stuffed with ambient apocalypse food!  They were all named after trees in ascending order of leafy greatness.  I used to read the leaflet daily – studying the difference between the Silver Birch and the Elm (can of peaches), and hoping Mum would choose the Oak because it had 2 flavours of Matchmakers.  We usually got Silver Birch

Crates of Corona Pop

So, we would work through the order form with Mum trying to work out appropriate quantities of  flavours.  Cola (battery acid type)… *insert fruit-ade.. what’s Cream Soda?  We’ll have 3 of them.  Dandelion and Burdoch?  (only made that mistake once).  Then they arrived!  And Mum wouldn’t let us drink it.  Oh Corona Cherryade!

Dairy Diary/Book of Home Management/Cookery

My mum bought the diary every year + probably every 5 years an update on the other things.  The Home management one was excellent!  I used to read it while eating Ready Brek and yearning for the days when I might need to be able to fix household items and do things in the manner of a 50s housewife (oh the irony!)

We had this ACTUAL one!

We had this ACTUAL one!

2.  Things on TV (from coveted big thick TV and Radio Times that got obliterated by 17th December)

Why don’t you?

Why don’t you REMAKE this TV people?  Get kids to turn off the TV and do something less boring instead… (like maybe watch iPads?).  I loved this!  Synonymous not just with Christmas school holidays of course, but certainly poignant.  A bunch of jumped up kids making crocodile pencil holders out of bean cans, felt and string and… stuff!  MORPH!  Of course nothing from this was ever done or made but it was watched and loved.

Why don't you... GET A BOWL CUT!

Why don’t you… GET A BOWL CUT!

We all looked like it in the 70s

We all looked like it in the 70s (actual me)

The Wizard of Oz

Just always and FOREVER!  It was where I fell in love… WITH SHOES.

IMG_9630

 

Christmas Top of the Pops (with Christmas songs)

Jonah Lewie stopping the cavalry!  When a child is born by Johnnie Mathis!  Mull of Kintyre, There’s no-one quite like Grandma, Mary’s Boy Child by Boney M.  OK, not Christmassy but how about Save your Love by Renee and Renato?  He was WAY punching above his weight, but how very grand Renee to have a bloke sing at you in an opera way with a rose in in chops!  This just doesn’t happen nowadays.

 

Save your love? Save your money and RUN AWAY lady

Save your love? Save your money and RUN AWAY lady

 

3.  Kitsch Christmas Decorations

Baubles made out of loads of shiny pearlescent string!  Glass baubles, of which 3 would smash each year – by the early 80s they were extinct.  Pendulous shiny things hanging from the Ceiling.  3 dimensional, ruddy faced Father Christmas plastic things.  Paper bells and other items that started off flat and became 3D with the addition of bluetac.  Totally non matching, explosion in a glitter factory schemes.  Bring it all back!

 

Not enough of these in the world

Not enough of these in the world

 

4.  Christmas Food & Drink

There’d be a bowl of fancy nuts – arranged on the side board (side board!) with a nutcracker poised on the top.  (This would be discarded untouched on the day the decorations came down, once it was established that most fancy nuts are uncrackable by anyone but my Dad and even he would need to grunt to do it.. and they tasted shit anyway).  And there were better things to eat anyway…. Like… Matchmakers, Quality Street – (old school ones) and After Eights.

What about Piccalilli and a box of dates! *see bowl of fancy nuts above.  Babycham!  Advocaat from Warninks!…. COMBINED with a glace cherry – only a freakin’ snowball!  Sherry!   My first drunken experience;  (Sorry Dad).  Me & Dad 6pm that Christmas:  Dad, can I try this Sherry?  Me & Dad 8pm that Christmas:  Dad holding my hair back singing carols while I vommed it all up along with the mouthful of piccalilli.  Cinzano Bianco!  Martini!  Bottles of stuff Mum got out of the sideboard but that no one drank (until the 80s when I had the lot and replaced it with water/relevant coloured liquids never to be discovered!)

5.  Annuals

I always got  at least 2 – Blue Jeans and Jackie.  Excellent.  HowI loved the photo stories of bouffy haired, attitudey teen romances with boys in jeans, tight only in the pelvic area.  Advice Columns!  Pictures of David Essex showing extreme chest hair.  I particularly remember a great feature on how to be popular – the main piece of advice seemingly being to share chocolate (WTF!  That explains most of my teenage social life then).

That's not Jackie! Its Lesley Ash eating melon

That’s not Jackie! Its Lesley Ash eating melon

NO SHARE!

NO SHARE!

 

I don’t even WANT to stop this list.  But in the name of blog length etiquette so I shall.  But seriously though.. what the total frig is Advocaat?

'Ave it Elf

‘Ave it Elf