7 things only Doncaster folk will understand about Christmas

Christmas is coming - but there are some things about the festive season you'll only understand if you're from Donny.

Tuesday, 8th December 2015, 8:50 am
The stuff of nightmares for Doncaster children of the 80s.

Here's our list of the 7 things that have gone into making a Doncaster Christmas of the past.

1. Animatronic decorations in the Arndale/Frenchgate

Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without some kind of slightly scary moving robotic figure singing festive songs at you with non-moving eyes and those strange jerky jaw movements. Entire generations of children have been terrorised by anything from reindeer to musical trees.

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2. Lights only on the upper branches of Christmas trees

There's only one way to deter "mindless yobs" and that's to put all 100 of your twinkling fairy lights on the very top branch of an outdoor spruce. For added security, install barriers around the base.

3. A trip to a glass factory was a Christmas treat

Forget the big switch on in London, in Doncaster, the festive season didn't get underway until the bulbs were turned on at Rockware Glass for an annual glittering display. No-one ever questioned why a glass factory had such a huge budget for festiveness.

4. You can remember Doncaster's groundbreaking "illuminations"

In the mid 80s, Doncaster's state of the art Christmas decorations that were meant to revolutionise Christmas were so good, they featured on BBC science show Tomorrow's World. In reality, they looked like giant, grey, dangling jellyfish, were deemed a disaster and never seen again.

5. Woolworths was the place to do all your Christmas shopping

When Woolies was in business, there was no need to go elsewhere. Decorations, boxes of Ritz crackers, Toffifee, cheap "will this do?" Hai Karate gift sets for distant uncles and soap on a rope for dad. Not to mention Old Spice and perfumes by Lentheric.

6. Silly string

Any 80s Christmas party could be livened up by spraying your nearest and dearest with illuminous gunk sold in 50p aerosol cans. Oh, the hilarity, oh the japes. Oh the massive dry cleaning bills and permanent stains from cheap foreign imports possibly used in North Korean nuclear tests.

7. A Christmas card post box in the school corridor

It mysteriously arrived every mid-December - and then each day some smug pupil would have the task of dishing out its contents. Kudos to those with more cards than Clintons.