‘Christmas treats: The food, fun and fanfare of the festive season in the ’60s’

Dec 16, 2021
Julie remembers the treats she enjoyed in the lead up to Christmas. Source: Getty Images

I am a 60-plus Baby Boomer, who loves reminiscing. My online friend from our restricted craft group likes creating brilliant felt toys for her beloved grandchildren. Felt is still popular. Felt Art and Fuzzy Felts were symbols of our youth in the 1960s. We were entranced by felt pictures, state of the art education in our classrooms or at Sunday School.

At the same time, for junior mathematicians, Cuisenaire rods were introduced. Children who were good at Maths could soon do quite advanced arithmetic correctly. Cuisenaire was the great hope of infant room Maths. It was only one way of hands-on, colourful, concrete symbols, a different form of the traditional abacus. Some years later, as I approached teaching and Maths tutoring, I used any fun way to encourage mastery, so that my students kicked goals.

More symbols of our ’60s childhood appeared on our annual Christmas treat, a trip to ‘town’. This was what we called the big city, over an hour’s car drive away. My sisters and I were frocked up in identical, homemade flouncy best dresses, with fancy socks and patent leather shoes.

We visited a large emporium in ‘town’, and had our beaming photo taken with Santa. These days, the big jolly guy wears a mask, and no one is supposed to sit on Santa’s knee, in social distancing. We Boomers hope that too will pass, for the grandchildren.

After Father Christmas, we had the treat of viewing a film in a ‘town’ cinema. The Movietone news and cartoon were obligatory symbols. Fascinated, we unwrapped Allen’s Fantales or Columbines or Jaffas. One film I recall was The Brothers Grimm. Fairy tales were symbols of our ’60s young days. Lovely!

Upon leaving the cinema, we ate an Eskimo Pie, in its foil wrapper, or a Creme Between. This consisted of two crisp wafers, sandwiching a vanilla ice cream wedge. Delish! The next week was Christmas. I received a prized and treasured gift of a book of paper dolls, titled, The Brothers Grimm.

How I loved those symbols of the ’60s, paper dolls. I could spend happy fun time, quiet hours, changing beautiful costumes, held on by paper hinges. I loved inventing fantasies for my cardboard dolls. I used my good imagination.

Magic was in the air, especially at Christmas, with our treats.

What symbols of your young days in the 1960s can you recall?

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