Dreaming of Christmases past writes Andy Mitchell

Favourite Christmas presents from years gone by was a wonderful topic for conversation on the radio on Sunday afternoon.

Wednesday, 22nd December 2021, 12:30 pm
Clackers were all the rage at Christmas 1971

I found myself drawn into nostalgic reminiscences over the presents we wish we’d been given but never were. It prompted an avalanche of calls from people who, like myself, were wallowing in the better bits of the early 1970s.

We discovered BBC Radio Lancashire’s Stephen Lowe had always wanted the Six Million Dollar Man doll, but had to be content with lobbing his Action Man into trees with his mates.

Attention turned to those “must haves” from the early seventies.

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How many, I wonder, remember those dreadful “clackers” (pictured) that were all the rage at Christmas 1971?

Basically they were two heavy plastic balls linked with a cord which you then clacked together, hoping the balls didn’t then shatter your knuckles.

If you google them now, you’ll see countless videos showing what happened to them under pressure, shattering shards of plastic all over the place.

Mr Whittle, the Headmaster at Bispham Endowed Juniors, along with countless other head teachers, took swift action, as I remember, and banned them from being brought into school!

The other “must have” present 50 years ago was the Chopper bike.

Despite my mum’s fears that these fearsome machines would be far too heavy at the age of seven to manoeuvre through Bispham Village, I managed to regularly get a go on a mate’s bike. He brought it to Cubs each week, and so we could still practice our moves around 1st Bispham’s car park.

The one Christmas present I couldn’t stand was one which wasn’t given to me, but to my sister, and she was welcome to it. Most primary age girls back then were given those irritating fecorders. The rest of the school holiday was spent having to listen to her battle through various tunes on the damn thing.

Hoping the novelty might have worn off by the first week in January, I can’t have been the only lad to discover the horror, that on arrival back at school, there were whole gangs of girls thrashing their way through Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep on the recorder.

The past ain’t all it’s cracked up to be! May I take this opportunity of wishing you a happy and safe Christmas.

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