Remember your childhood Christmas in Kernow years ago?
When simple things were treasured gifts and how we loved them so;
When a Christmas tree was a holly bush in the corner of the room
And real candles lit the branches in the winter evening gloom.
Not for us computer games, nor smart phones, nor mountain bikes and such.
But we felt rich with magic tricks and special sweets – not much:
A Beano annual, a Meccano toy, a Chad Valley trolley bus,
These were the presents our parents scrimped and saved for us.
St. Austell had a Woolworth’s, a Smith’s and Timothy Whites,
But no Toys R’Us, nor Debenhams nor grottos with flashing lights:
And Holmbush, where I lived, just two shops to use each day,
Rowse’s had mother’s Christmas club, Rowett’s father’s Craven A.
Remember Christmas morning before it was light enough to see?
How you stretched out in the sheets and hoped that there would be
A lovely bumpy bundle at the far corner of the bed
And ‘cos you couldn’t get up yet, your toes would feel instead.
I didn’t have a stocking: a pillowcase was always there,
With nuts and sweets and Christmas treats and the annual Rupert Bear.
Tommy Lawton’s football book – a present I still own;
That Christmassy excitement every child has known.
Remember Christmas dinner? – never lunch was it then,
With a chicken, never a turkey, and the tears always when
My father said his special grace on this a special day,
With my special Cornish family together in this way.
There was no TV to watch and we couldn’t care a toss,
Other items filled the day; we were never at a loss.
The front room was opened up – a very unusual thing,
And we sat around the wireless as we listened to the king.
Then my sister played the piano and we sang the carols we knew
And my father gave his special turn – and didn’t we love it too!
He rendered “Burlington Bertie” with actions all the way;
He sang it once a year – and this was Christmas Day.
Yes, Christmas in Cornwall – was a time to really cherish
And half a century on the memories never perish.
We can never have again those times, those folk sincere and true,
But I can at least wish “A merry Cornish Christmas to every one of you!”