Growing up in the 60s, Balham Woolworth’s was the place we’d get our Christmas tree each year.
They weren’t as easy to nick as the contents on the Pick ‘n’ Mix on the counter, so temptingly near the entrance, so we bought ours. This was also the place where we’d also purchase our decorations: which, because they were so fragile, by the time we’d get them back to our flat, and with an attrition rate of around 67%, we’d leave a trail of shattered glass/plastic in our wake along Balham High Road.
The biggest argument, however, was what to put on the top of the tree. As a small child we’d have a fairy/angel and then a star as I got older. Upon entering teenage years there was a perennial internal family fight as to what perched at the top of the tree.
We all had varying hobbies and interests: my mum wanted a packet of JPS, my dad, despite being a massive Chelsea fan, wanted a picture of Vanessa Redgrave and I wanted a model of Gerd Müller. We compromised, and for several years the pride of place atop our tree was a model of Tommy Baldwin wearing a Germany shirt made from old cigarette packets.