Mum would hang up the Christmas cards on long pieces of string, placing sprigs of holly behind every picture on the living room wall, staging a Nativity scene on top of the telly.

Our Christmas tree was covered from top to bottom in tinsel and glass baubles bought from Woolworth’s with Christmas lights that Dad had to spend hours replacing the fused bulbs.

Mum would always make her own Christmas cakes and pudding in November, stirring in a sixpence for luck.

Christmas always began on Christmas Eve at our house: most shops would close at dinnertime then we would buy our festive food and drink with orders always taken by the butcher, baker and greengrocer.

Any giant whisky bottles of loose change collected over the year was emptied in order to pay for the Christmas drinks and Mum’s Advocaat from the off-licence.

Every shop closed till after Boxing Day, so if something was forgotten it was too late and catastrophe for long-awaited battery toys!

Bath time on Christmas Eve was always an early one, and Dad would lay out the customary mince pies, carrot and glass of Harvey’s Bristol cream for Santa.

We would place an empty pillow case at the end of the bed to be filled with a few small presents in case we woke up early, with the main present always being downstairs and opened after breakfast.

The Christmas table always had the best tablecloth and china set out with a cracker at each place setting, being obligatory to wear the paper hat throughout the meal with a tank-top knitted by Nana.

Baxter’s game soup kicked off the meal, followed by turkey and all the trimmings - the Christmas pud always made a theatrical flamed entrance.

After the washing up and Queen’s speech we would watch Billy Smart’s Circus while snacking on a Curly Wurly from the selection box.

For the evening meal, cold meats with pickles and crisps followed by Mum’s mince pies and mismatched iced Christmas cake with a plastic robin towering above Santa Claus.

Boxing Day was always a family visiting day where a good spread was always put on.

Then Christmas was over for another year.

Happy Christmas everyone!