Christmas Memories
On the news recently, there was a lot of talk about early bird Christmas shoppers who camped out for a week in front of well known electronics shop in order to buy a new item out for the first time this year. When I heard this, I couldn't help but wonder how people who were in this number managed to be able to spend a week in front of a store. What about jobs, families, etc., not to mention a bathroom? It seems like the Christmas holidays sure are a lot more complicated than they used to be.

I remember when decorating outside consisted of a wreath on the front door. A real live Christmas tree, usually a cedar, a family member had gone out in search of, was cut and brought back to the house to be decorated. It was always placed in the front window of a home if at all possible. A favorite thing to do during the holidays in the ‘50's and ‘60's was for a family to pile in the car and drive around town looking at the beautifully decorated tree through the window of a home. I guess that part is still observed, but the decorations aren't just seen through the window of homes, they're in the yards, on the roof, just about everywhere.

I remember too the church Christmas programs held at the little First Baptist Church that used to sit where the library is now. A cedar tree was placed in front of the baptismal pool and was decorated with all kinds of handmade decorations made by all the children's Sunday School classes. But probably the most enjoyable part of those Christmas programs was getting that little brown paper bag each person present received on the way out of the church following the program. Inside that little brown paper bag was an apple, an orange, a banana, or maybe a tangerine, some nuts, some orange slice candy, or maybe some peppermint sticks too. I suppose most everybody's favorite was the chocolate drops that everyone knew by another name we don't use anymore. We all looked forward to getting that little brown paper bag. That was a big part of our Christmas. Things were simple. Not a lot of fuss and bother, or so it seems looking back on it now.

I had a great aunt Olive who lived in East Tennessee that always made her Christmas cards by hand. Every year she came up with a new design that topped off the one sent the year before. I have a collection of these cards, some that were sent to my mother, some sent to my Aunt Rose, and then some she sent to me after I got married. I consider these a priceless treasure. Taking the time to make Christmas cards is something else we’re certainly far too busy to do nowadays, but what a nice way to be remembered years later by a great niece or another family member or friend. A lasting impression left by such a simple gesture.


A handmade Christmas card made by my Great-Aunt Olive Draper from the 1950's.

I can't imagine I'll ever be found in a line of people camped outside a store for a week just to be one of the first to get some kind of electronic game. I much prefer the old days. And I'll just bet those who are on the receiving end of that long awaited electronic game won't remember getting it this time next year. It's those little things that make the lasting memories of Christmas. The perfect example ... that little brown paper bag given out at the end of a Christmas service that's still fondly remembered some 50+ years later, or a painstakingly-crafted homemade Christmas card. What nice memories from holidays gone by!