Christmas At Downton

Soon after the rest of us had dined on Christmas Eve, Mat, Tess, and Poppy arrived and consumed the rest of the Chinese meal. Jackie and I left the others and retired to bed somewhat later.

Christmas Day began with Mother and Father Christmas stumbling down the chimney before dawn to complete stocking duties.

It had been quite a job dragging Poppy’s into the room. Fortunately Barry and Owen had made a very good fist of sweeping the flue earlier in the year.

Beside the Christmas tree hung two of our granddaughter’s Christmas dresses, pink one having been made by Jackie by hand.

Strings of coloured lights festoon the walls. From left to right in these two images are featured Flo’s ‘My Grandpa smiling at me’ portrait alongside a charcoal drawing I made of Michael reading to Matthew in 1973; my photograph of Flo on her 18th birthday, and my pencil drawing of Jackie shortly before hers.

Much of the morning was spent opening – mostly Poppy’s – stocking presents. Here she discusses the next one with Tess. Matthew and Jackie remain in the background.

Mat received a Dandy annual in his sack, and lost no time introducing his daughter to the characters who had entertained his childhood, and that of his father before him.

After watching The Jungle Book we opened our main presents.

Jackie was quite pleased to receive the updated version of the Canon Powershot SX740 HS. This means that she will be able to see what she is photographing when she sneaks up on me.

I thought my new flash jacket went rather well with my work trousers and 30 year old grandfather shirt;

Matthew found that his birthday (19th December) jumper was a good fit.

It was all becoming a bit hectic, so I’m not sure what Ian unwrapped here.

Becky also received knitwear;

and a family heirloom in the form of a splendidly carved brooch, we think, in ivory. In a Garrard’s box this has been returned to me by Mum, as is her wont. She has labelled all presents we have given her over the years, intending for those to be returned to us when she dies. In more recent years she has been filtering them through to the original donor. This came to me a few days ago. I must have given it to her a good 50 years ago. It is now only legal to sell goods made from ivory before 1947, which means that this may have been antique when I bought it. Becky told me that after my grandmother’s death she was given a brooch I had bought her from Woolworth’s when I was a child.

Scooby was not left out. Here Tess ensures that he does not shake off his present.

Elizabeth joined us for the evening Christmas meal. The pudding and custard followed.

Goodness knows what everyone ate or drank.


  1. I don’t often get the chance to use the word “dapper” but today seems to be the day. I’m sure you are getting younger, and with the addition of a new jacket so is your wardrobe.
    Good to see that Jackie is looking good despite all the work of preparingChristmas. πŸ™‚

    1. We did, Laurie. The only blip was when Poppy was taken out to see the Byron Road Christmas lights. She fell asleep almost as soon as she got in the car πŸ™‚ Thanks very much

      1. I’m having a little clean-up and have set aside my Canon AE1 35mm film camera circa 1982. I’ve contacted a dealer who’s keen for the body and standard 50mm lens. I also have the same camera in digital – but wouldn’t you know it! The two cameras do not have the same FD mount so I can’t interchange my zoom lenses. Unfortunately the dealer is not interested in those (a Sigma 70-210mm and a Tokina 28-70mm) As a point and shoot my husband is using a Nikon Coolpix, which replace an earlier (and better) Fuji Finepix. But I might just return him to the Canon fold . . .

    1. Whenever they buy and sell ivory on the antique programmes they make a point of saying “this was made before 1947 so it is legal to sell it”. Thanks a lot, Andrew

  2. I would like to know what vitamin supplements Jackie takes to accomplish all that she does every day as well as making a fabulous pink princess dress. She is astonishingly energetic!

  3. A bit like out Christmas at one of the offspring’s houses. Our movie was A Muppet Christmas Carol, with Michael Cain looking as though he desperately needed to visit the loo for most of it. πŸ˜€ … perhaps it is true that one should never act with children or animals, or muppets! πŸ˜€

  4. … and obviously a good time was had by all! On to a Very Happy New Year! Thank you for sharing your Christmas festivities with us! <3

  5. Looks like a special and wonderful way to spend Christmas! πŸ™‚
    Ours was a lot smaller (undoubtedly a lot warmer – temperature wise, not warm spirited!) but none-the-less enjoyable.
    I guess Jackie’s present practically chose itself! πŸ˜‰

  6. Looks like a joyful, good-memories-made Christmas…I can tell by the smiles!
    You look sharp in your new jacket!
    And I’m so happy Jackie got a new camera! I know she will continue to put it to good use!
    HUGS!!! πŸ™‚

  7. What a splendid family Christmas. I did *snicker* at, “Goodness knows what everyone ate or drank.” Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

  8. What a wonderful, warm Christmas post you’ve shared here, Derrick! Bright and lovely scenes of a family Christmas. And I like your new clothes! Why are the trouser legs black?

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