Christmas trees were not for sale then, but anyone who wanted one could go into a woods or swamp and cut his own, then drag it home. I never had a tree but instead always hung my stocking beside the chimney on Christmas Eve, then scampered off upstairs to bed to await morning when I could get up early to see what Santa had brought me. It was never very much but the not too big stocking was stuffed from top to toe and whatever it contained I liked. If there was an orange I was delighted for oranges were real treats.
Many of our gifts were home-made for stores didn’t carry the wide variety of presents that they now do and even if they did people didn’t have the money with which to buy them. Women spent days and weeks fashioning simple little gifts to give at Christmas time and I do think that they were appreciated more than expensive gifts found in stores today. Christmas, I fear, has become too commercialized. The present day fad of sending Christmas cards hadn’t started then, but it is a beautiful gesture and they tend to bring cheer to many a lonely heart, and the habit of enclosing a letter or brief note is commendable.
Christmas Eve was always a time to look forward to. Churches always put on programs in which the boys and girls took part after which the gifts were taken from the big tree in the corner, followed by the arrival of Santa Claus with his pack of candy and nuts for the youngsters. As the crowd dispersed everyone wished everyone else a very Merry Christmas and drove off, usually in sleighs, to their homes to await Christmas Day when families got together to celebrate the glad occasion. There was usually snow enough to make a White Christmas and the jingle of sleigh bells added to the joyous occasion.
Fifty years ago we didn’t start making plans for Christmas, in mid-summer, as is done now’a days, but two weeks before were really busy ones which did make it difficult for store clerks and the postoffice, much of which is eliminated now with early Christmas shopping and mailing.
And so once again Monday of next week a troubled and topsy-turvy world will pause in its mad pace to observe the Christmas holiday season. Once again “Peace on earth, good will to men” will issue from every church in the land, once again petty differences, vanities and selfish desires are forgotten for a few happy days. This same consideration throughout the year should eliminate a great deal of strife, general confusion and disputes between capital and labor, business industry and other enterprises. If the Christmas spirit would be used every day, war threats could be reduced to a minimum. So why not extend the spirit of Christmas to the 365 days of each year?
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