OLD folk love to remind everyone of the grim Christmases of their childhood which they stoically endured without complaining. But could these memories be lies?
Walking six miles to school
You can’t help being sceptical. Six miles is a hike, especially for a five-year-old battling though snow, hail and sleet. By the time you got there you’d be too exhausted to learn anything so you’d learn nothing, which might explain why the old voted Brexit.
Presents were shit
Boys got a wooden spinning top. Girls got a hair brush. Both would also receive a small bag of aniseed balls. Needless to say, they were grateful for this festive kick in the teeth. But did it happen or have the credulous seen it on TV? Skim back through the Radio Times and there’s the smoking gun: 23rd December, A Victorian Christmas with TV historian Ruth Goodman.
They just put on an extra jumper
The over-60s will not f**king shut up about this. But as anyone who’s turned off the heating this winter knows, conserving body heat with extra layers is no substitute for a warm room. In the fantasy world of old people, Captain Oates would have been fine if he’d just put on a woollen sweater before leaving the tent.
They’d never seen an orange before
Assuming the old person was born anytime after 1930 you can call bullshit, as they were fairly common in the UK by the 18th century. Nell Gwynn seduced King Charles II by wedging one in her cleavage. This can only be true if they’re 300 years old.
They got up at 6am to make the fire
Were families entrusting four-year-olds with matches, kindling and newspaper? Any probing as to possible fire risks will be parried by tales about bathing on Christmas Eve in a tin bath in front of said fire, after parents and nine siblings went first. This did not happen in the 1950s even in Wolverhampton.
There were icicles indoors
Wouldn’t happen in any inhabited home further south than Siberia. Not that it matters, it’s just a prelude to ‘We didn’t have central heating in them days’, as though subsequent generations are spoilt weaklings for not growing up in the Gulag.
A total cock and bull story
Lying becomes a habit with dopamine rewards. So when your gran claims a schoolmate was dragged off to the woods and eaten by wolves, tell her firmly it did not happen. You’ll go to a library and check six years of the Spalding Guardian on microfiche if you have to.