One of the highlights of the festive season for many people is their Christmas Dinner. Interestingly, the components of this important meal have not really varied over the decades although there have been the odd fashionable additions at times such as the Florida Cocktail and Ham & Mushroom Vol-au-Vent starters and Chocolate Gateau dessert seen on the attached Christmas Dinner Menu from the 1976 Christmas Dinner for Law Hospital Staff. Interestingly, as a family, we all have fond memories of the Sara Lee Chocolate Gateau that mum bought specially for our Christmas dinners.
One of Carluke’s oldest and much-loved businesses, R & W Scott, ensured that Christmas dinner was a tasty one producing their own mincemeat for those who wanted to make their own mincemeat pies and their own Christmas pudding while a trip to local bakers like J & A Wallace or Charles Eason’s, both of the High Street, would mean that there was a plentiful supply of Christmas cake and shortbread to enjoy later in the day. Charles Eason’s was particularly popular with his shortbread branded as ‘Gold Medal’ winning while another of the town’s bakers, Charles Bow, was well-known for his Scotch bun.
Local butchers too were kept busy at this time of the year. As the attached advert for James Anderson’s shop in Hamilton Street shows, the people of Carluke had a really good choice of meats to choose from for the big meal of the season. Anderson’s, of course, was not the only butcher in town. Many people made their way to another of Carluke’s oldest and much-loved businesses, Ramsay’s, to get themselves an award-winning ham.
When it came to adding a little liquid refreshment, there were, of course, several grocers who stocked a wide variety of alcoholic beverages. Wm A Gardner of 65, High Street even started a Christmas Club so that his customers could put aside a little each week to ensure they would have a plentiful supply of both groceries and beverages come the festive season. There were those who preferred their liquid refreshment to be of the non-alcoholic variety and enjoyed a glass or two of ginger wine. Quite often this was homemade and used the Ginger Wine Essence created by one of Carluke’s own chemists, Hinksman. Back in 1906, a bottle of this special essence cost either 6d or 10d depending on its size. If ginger was not to your taste, Mr Hinksman also stocked essence for making blackcurrant, elderberry or raspberry wine instead.
Festive dining is not confined to Christmas day and our own homes. Over the years, as well as work-related dinners, local organisations have gone out of their way to provide festive get-togethers for the elderly. We have uploaded some photos of Law Pensioners, St Athanasius Senior Citizens and Day Centre members enjoying themselves in the 1980s and 1990s. Following the Christmas Draw and their meal catered for by Ness Caterers, the ladies and gentlemen recorded in the Day Centre photo were entertained by Motherwell and Wishaw Amateur Operatic Society.