Family treasures make Christmas more special

THE festive tale of a Gorleston grandmother’s top-of-the-tree dilemma has sparked a number of similar tales from readers who think older is better when it comes to Christmas decorations.

Two weeks ago the Mercury featured 66-year-old Judith Simmons, who was having to decide whether she wanted to keep on using the Christmas fairy she bought when first married in 1968, or a newer model purchased just a few years ago. And a number of emails that appeared in our inbox show that she is not alone in preferring to stick with tradition.

Derek Thompson, of Westerley Way in Caister, also bought a fairy for his first Christmas together with his wife Yvonne 49 years ago for around 30p from Woolworths in Great Yarmouth.

He explained that their seasonal purchase had remained in her rightful position ever since, despite going through a few new dresses in that time.

Mr Thompson, 74, also added the fairy was not their only historic decoration.

“We also have a glass trumpet that was given to us by my mother and comes from before the second world war,” he said.

“Most of my early Christmases were spent during the wartime and we didn’t have Christmas trees then so how it lasted during then I don’t know.”

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Also following the wedding trend was 69-year-old Kate Page, who bought her Christmas fairy after marrying husband Charlie in 1960, and despite being given a shiny replacement by her daughter Annette is sticking with the old favourite.

“She said it looked a bit pathetic, but even though the fairy may look it to everyone else, I think she looks marvellous,” said Mrs Page, who lives in Marsh Road, Potter Heigham.

“We’ve kept her for sentimental reasons, and I take special care when I’m putting her away so that she is fine for the next year.”

Meanwhile, Pat Newman, 64, told of a fairy doll she puts on her windowsill that survived the 1953 Yarmouth floods, and for many of those who got in touch with us, the hope remained that these symbols of times past would be handed on to future generations.

Susan Moore bought a tiny Christmas tree for her grandmother when she was just seven years old.

Mrs Moore, of Martham, explained that she had transferred it to her home after her grandmother’s death around four decades ago as a way of remembering her, adding that it now took pride of place on the left hand corner of her windowsill.

She told the Mercury: “I have three children, and one of them will have it when something happens to me. They’re very enthusiastic about it and hopefully it will be passed down the generations.”