Christmas stories from around McCarthy Stone
In 2020, McCarthy Stone homeowners in our retirement living developments shared their favourite Christmas memories, from the heart-warming to the hilarious – here’s a small selection:
Carrot puddingA homeowner in Littlehampton recalled that in 1939 and the early 1940s, his Christmas presents weren’t wrapped, as wrapping paper wasn’t available. And, neither was fruit, so his mother used vegetables such as carrots in her delicious Christmas pudding instead. “She was a great cook and never had to weigh the ingredients.”
“My brother got a bow and arrow. I thought it was a good present and he let me try it. Unfortunately I took aim in mid-air, shot it and the arrow went through a small windowpane leaving a neat little hole in the lounge window.” Homeowner, Braidburn Court, Edinburgh
Causing ‘quite a rumpus’
“In 1948, my parents had lodgers - a mother and daughter of a well-known radio personality. The daughter was my age (then 6yrs) and she had the most beautiful ‘bride doll’. It was truly magnificent with long golden hair and its own pram and everything else. Well, it was too much for me and I eventually succumbed to temptation and ‘borrowed’ the doll, pram, cradle, trousseau and all and hid everything away in an out-house where I could play with her, unseen. As you can imagine, there was quite a rumpus and I’m afraid I didn’t own up for a whole day!” Homeowner, Claridge House, London
‘One of everything’
One homeowner, now 90, from Victory Court, Waterlooville, remembers receiving his ‘calling up papers’, for 18 months national service with the RAF, on Christmas Eve, 1948. He decided to mark the occasion with his girlfriend. ‘I suggested that we should have a few drinks, in fact one of everything, a brown ale, cider, whisky, sherry etc, by 9.30 I was absolutely sloshed and so was she.’
Christmas dinner on the fly
In 1952, our homeowner from Churchmead Court, Hinckley was a Regimental Sergeant Major serving in Malaya (now Malaysia) “We received word that our Christmas dinner was being parachuted in. Word quickly spread, and the chaps were very excited at the thought of a ‘proper’ Christmas feast…until the day arrived, and a large, live, turkey landed near our camp. Not one us could bear to kill it, so we kept it for a while and then gave it to a local village! No turkey for us that year!”
A priceless present
“In December 1960, I was 20-year-old RAF Corporal 3 months into a 12-month tour on Christmas Island in the mid-pacific. Just before Christmas day I joined a group of servicemen to deliver some supplies. The whole village turned out to welcome us and we were seated in the centre of a large crowd of islanders and treated to an impromptu concert of carols sung with such amazing harmony we all sat there enthralled.
At the end of this unexpected concert and as we got up to leave, we were asked to sit down again. Then one by one, each one of us was called by name to be presented with a beautiful hand-made fan by the head man, who wished us a happy Christmas. The fan was made from reeds, twine, birds feathers and shark’s teeth. It really was one of the most beautiful and unusual things I’ve ever seen.” Homeowner, Cardinal Court, York
“I think the most unusual Christmas gift was from my husband who presented me with a very peculiarly wrapped parcel (gift wrapping was not his best attribute) which had a small wooden leg poking out. When I opened the parcel I found a small foot stool which he said was for me to reach our kitchen units, I am not a very tall lady and obviously he had my best interest at heart.” Homeowner, Clover Leaf Court, Alton
“I thought he’d brought me a new car…”
A homeowner from Churchmead Court, Hinckley (now 87) came home from his office one day and announced to his wife (now 85) that her Christmas gift was in the garage. “I was so excited” she said, “I thought he’d bought me a new car, until I went into the garage and found... a new lawnmower!” “Well, you keep ringing me at the office complaining you can’t start the mower, so I’ve bought you one with an electric start, and there’s a gallon of petrol in the porch!” her husband replied.
And finally, foosty Roses
Many years ago our homeowner, now of Merchants Gate, Glasgow, gave her neighbour a box of Roses chocolates. Two years later she received them back as a Christmas gift. And “they were a bit ‘foosty!’” (mouldy!)
Ho ho ho!
Read more about our homeowners’ memories of unusual or popular Christmas gifts from the 1930s onwards.
Find more seasonal content and recipes...
A delicious hot panettone and chocolate Christmas pudding recipe, perfect for Christmas day, from our McCarthy Stone chefs...read more
Recipes for delicious savoury shortbread, perfect for a Christmas party treat, from our McCarthy Stone Retirement Living Plus chefs...read more
Swimming in wild waters has seen a surge in popularity in a year when many of us have reconnected with nature...read more