Looking back 60 years ago, the festivities connected with Christmas in Jersey were much the same as to-day. After the postman had come round with the local mail, the signal post on Fort Regent would be watched to find out the position of the mail-boat from either Southampton or Weymouth. More often than not, the English mail would arrive in the afternoon and what a scamper there was to get letters and cards from relatives and friends across the seas!
The Christmas pudding which I knew as a boy was of a distinctive Jersey variety: it was not brownish black as the English ones were (and are), but of a dirty-white complexion replete with currants, prunes, sultanas and candied peel. I gather that “poudains de riz” (rice puddings) were served on the day. The Christmas cake was of the “gâche à Corinthe” variety, but recently I had the pleasure of eating some “gâche à pâte” made from an old-time recipe and very delicious it was indeed.
Some folks made Jersey wonders, although they were usually prepared for Good Friday; I was passionately fond of them and asked my mother to make them at this time of year. But I gather from a good authority that in the outlying or isolated parts of the Island, such things as Christmas pudding and Santa Claus were unknown till the late ‘nineties.
Various games were indulged in after the tea table had been cleared at these family reunions, but an adult company would play card games, of which “Don” and “Loo” were the favourites. With youngsters “Snap” or “My bird sings” were very popular.
Evening Post 22/12/1954