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Annual Events and Celebrations

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Boxing Day in early 20th Century families

By the webmaster’s mother, 1906-2002

A time for family get-togethers

On Boxing day in my childhood in the early 1900s it was usual for relatives to meet together. My parents, my brothers and I always went to the my grandparents for dinner - lunch in today's terms.

My grandfather Cole was the live-in manager at relatively nearby the Cole Pottery in Tottenham on the border with Wood Green, and he and his wife lived in a large house there. My family had to walk about a mile to get there from our home in Edmonton, but it was lovely to come in from the cold through the side door that led into the large kitchen. Steam would be on the windows, and there was such an inviting smell of parsnips and brussel sprouts cooking on the coal-fired 'kitchener'.

Food for Boxing Day get-togethers

My grandparents on my father's side were better off than my parents, and through the door, we could see the sideboard positively groaning with nuts, sweets, dates, figs, grapes and bananas.

A houseful would be there as my grandparents had a large family. A sister of my grandmother Ellis was a regular visitor. She and her husband had a printing shop named Hunnings in Bruce Grove, Wood Green. She was very genteel and could hardly be heard when she spoke. Her husband was very interesting. He lectured on pond life and being so keen on it would talk to us children about it. When this was at meal times, there was a lot of tut-tutting from his wife.

Songs round the piano

My father used to tell me that his family in the early 1900s always had sing-songs round the piano with his mother playing for them, and my mother's family probably did something similar as there was certainly a piano at her grandparents' house.

Indoor party games for adults and children

Guest contribution

My mother used to say that there were all sorts of family games when she was a child in the early 1900s, and I am sure that most families would have had something similar. I remember Christmases in the 1940s and 50s where she showed us how to play the old games and ran them with us.

Neil Cryer


If you can add anything to this page or provide a photo, I would be pleased if you would contact me.


Page based on the recollections and notes of the webmaster's mother (1906-2002) with additional research and editorial work by the webmaster

Text and images are copyright


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