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Butlin’s Heritage: A magical family Christmas

During the 1960’s it was becoming very fashionable to take a winter holiday and it was increasingly common for people to go away over Christmas. Although Butlins hotels were open all year around, opening an entire resort over the Christmas period, which Billy did in December 1961, was a new venture. He was now able to accommodate guests throughout the year at his resorts as well as hotels. His resorts offered an all round experience, a place where you were looked after and didn’t need to lift a finger.

You had no need to worry about cooking; there was plenty of entertainment to keep everyone occupied and you could stay in a cosy central heated Chalet all of your own. Plus all the usual activities were available during the Christmas break. From the amusement park, to the skating rink, to dances in the ballrooms, quizzes and theatre shows.

Christmas brochure 1962

Christmas brochure 1962

In the Christmas brochures produced to advertise these Christmas breaks Billy wrote a personal message to his prospective guests as to what they might expect from the breaks. What was evident from this message is Billy’s belief that Christmas should be a time for families and should be especially magical for children.

 ‘Above all, Christmas is a time for the kiddies and once again no expense has been spared to make sure that their stay at Butlin’s will be an unforgettable one. There will be the usual present for each little guest, and to make everything just perfect, Father Christmas himself will be on hand to distribute them’...

Father Christmas, 1962

Father Christmas, 1962

If you and your family were lucky enough to be spending Christmas at Butlins, you would find that during your break there was plenty of Christmas cheer. One very popular activity designed especially for the children visiting the resort was the Children’s Christmas Tea party. These were held on Christmas day and were designed to bring all the children together to celebrate Christmas with lots of games, delicious party food and of course a visit from Father Christmas.

Butlin's Children Christmas party, 1962

Butlin’s Children Christmas party, 1962

Christmas day on resort was quite a traditional day; it started out with a Christmas service held in the Regency ballroom, followed by present giving for the children. Guests booked onto this Christmas break were sure not to go hungry, with breakfast, lunch and dinner being served throughout the day. Dinner which was served at 6.30pm was the more traditional affair, with roast turkey, Christmas pudding, mince pies and assorted cheese and biscuits all available.

Christmas day menu, 1961

Christmas day menu, 1961

The day would be rounded off with plenty of entertainment. Starting with a family pantomime performed by the Redcoats, following this would be dancing in Regency Ballroom, Sing-song time in the Pig and Whistle, with the entertainment finally ending with ‘Party Special. Crazy time with the Redcoats in the Prince’s Ballroom’, winding up at midnight.

Christmas day entertainment programme, 1962

Christmas day entertainment programme, 1962

Emma King

Emma King

Archive Manager at Butlin's
Hey! I am the Archive Manager at Butlin's. It’s my job to uncover our long and rich history and to bring this to life for our team and guests.
Emma King

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