Memories of Christmas in B.G; in the 1940s, 1950s – By Geoff Burrowes + Xmas Music Video

Christmas Memories of a Little Boy in B.G….

– By Geoff Burrowes

My mother liked to laugh and that set the mood in our home!

To me, her eldest son, she was the most beautiful thing in the world. She was young and like all the members her family, the Learmonds, good looking. She had twinkling brown eyes and dark brown hair. And she loved Christmas!

Christmas in our home was special. It was a time of Santa Claus and a Christmas tree and coloured lights, treats such as fudge and black cake and boiled sweets. Pine drink and mauby  and sorrel were set in large earthenware jugs and the wonderful smells that accompanied this labour and the cooking permeated the house, spiced with a wonderful scence of excitement and anticipation!     

There was a huge and vicious war going on half a world away. In B.G. we only experienced the shortages caused by the German U-Boats. There were no ice apples and the luxuries that we had become accustomed to and certainly no real Christmas trees!

Fortunately my dad  was very handy and he made our tree with a broomstick trunk and with branches of wire and shredded newspaper.

The wonderful promise of God’s love through his beloved Son, Jesus Christ was always a joyful part of our family’s Christmas.

Throughout the Christmas season my mum  and dad entertained their friends frequently and were entertained just as often. I loved when their friends and family came over and there was laughter and singing – I didn’t like those nights when they went out as our house felt empty lifeless: do you think I might have been a little high maintenance as a child?

As December went along Christmas Eve seemed it would never come. Eventually it did but the day appeared to go on forever. At last, with Santa winging his way through the sky to B.G. dad put us to bed with the classic tale “The Night Before Christmas”. We were sure that we were too excited to sleep a wink, but before we knew it it was Christmas morning.

After Christmas greetings we dressed quickly and my dad drove us to our church, Lodge Church, also known as St Sidwells, at the end of Hadfield St, where it met Vlissingen Road. The church was a long one story wooden building which at this time of morning was filled with shadows and flickering candle light and the effect was quite magical! While we’d slept Santa had been busy and there were beautifully wrapped, shiny boxes under the tree. The boxes were hopefully filled with much appreciated toys and far less loved but far more useful, clothes.

We opened the gifts amid “Oohs” and “Aahs” and ‘thank you’s’ and we children then played with our toys while the adults prepared for Christmas dinner!

Our two families were large and for weeks before the ladies had been on the phone and had a pretty good idea of who was coming and who wasn’t and the table was set accordingly. While we ate there were toasts and since we had competent speakers on both sides of the family the toasts were both complimentary and funny!  We children loved the toasts as it was the only time we got to drink wine.

And after the tasty dinner the singing. Most people in those days loved to sing – my dad played the Quattro and later my brother Peter played the guitar. We generally started with carols, sung reverently and with feeling and went from there to Christmas songs with dashing through the snow and winter wonderlands, neither of which us children had ever actually experienced. We then serenaded our bonny who lay over the ocean and the Rose of Tralee, Satira and Melda. One Christmas Fred Wills joined us. He had a fine tenor voice and an encyclopedic knowledge of songs and we sang for an hour more than we would normally have.

We wouldn’t have won any awards with our singing (even on Youtube) but we sang lustily and enjoyed ourselves mightily and it was a fitting climax to Christmas!


Sweet Guyana Christmas music from the 60’s and 70’s – music

Music Videos featuring various Guyanese Artistes and Bands of that period

Enjoy Three Hours of Christmas Music Classics and Holiday Scenery

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  • michael hawkins  On 12/02/2018 at 3:51 am

    When life was young and care free. Days long gone

  • Kman  On 12/10/2018 at 5:25 pm

    Buddy, I think that parts of your story is a bit sketchy, unless your family was a very well to do one. Read over what you wrote and see if you can spot the made up parts.


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