An old photo album has a way of taking you back to a time when things seemed simpler. As life today gets busier, there are aspects of those times that would be welcome again. Christmas is one of those. Braving the shops near Christmas, I’m always amazed at the frenzy. The real meaning of Christmas is forgotten with the need to meet expectations or to compete with others high on shopper’s lists.
The following photos take me to a time when Christmas was simple and special. It was around 1950 when Mum was a little girl living in Ballarat. The first two photos are of my grandfather Bill Gamble and Mum at a special time, Christmas tree day. Not a purple or blue tree, or a highly coiffed real tree, but one plucked from the side of the road, carefully selected to fill the home with Christmas joy. While there was a plastic Christmas tree in my house while growing up, I do remember similar pine Christmas trees we had a school, tall, often stooped and adorned with paper chains and lanterns.
My grandparents both rode bikes, their only form of transport then, and my grandfather had a nifty little trailer to go on the back, perfect for carting a Christmas tree…or taking a little girl for a ride.
The following photos were taken in Hamilton at the home of Nana’s brother, Bill Hadden on either Christmas Day or Boxing Day the following year. My grandparents lived in Ballarat, but their families lived in Hamilton. Given the family didn’t have a car then, I asked Mum how they would have travelled to Hamilton. She suspects they went by train. How did the trike get to Hamilton, I asked? She didn’t know…maybe Santa made a special delivery. Of course, I had to ask how they got the trike back to Ballarat. Again she didn’t know. Now I’ve got her wondering.
This is Mum, with her cousin Norma and a special visitor.
What more could little girls want for Christmas other than a trike or a pram and doll?
Now a photo from when I was growing up in the 1970s, not as uncomplicated as the days before television but it was still an unpretentious time. The year was 1975 and the occasion was the annual George Street Primary School Grade 2 nativity play, a Christmas staple for those taught by Miss Coffey. Not a fancy costume in sight, but rather tea towels and dressing gowns sufficed. (I was a shepherd).