When you were a kid, what was your favorite holiday and how did your family celebrate it?
We owned a hill with fir trees and we often attempted to cut a Christmas tree from our own land. Our hill land was called the Moore Place, because it belonged to the Moore family when my father purchased it. Most of the fir trees on the Moore Place were more than 50 feet tall. We sometimes had to walk and look for hours in hopes of finding a small, bushy tree that would look good in our living room. Most of the small trees on our hill were spindly and sparse. When my Dad went along, he could usually remember where to find bushy trees.
We decorated our tree with lights, colored balls, fake icicles and foil garlands. We had one string of lights shaped like candles, but filled with liquid that bubbled when heated. Gradually the bubble lights failed, one by one, and we gravitated to the ordinary colored incandescent lights. I remember ruining one Christmas tree by attempting to flock it with white flour. White flour doesn’t look anything like snow when strewn over tree boughs.
Our family celebrated gift exchange on Christmas day. The day began with early-rising children tip-toeing to the front room to see what Santa had left. We soon learned that Santa wasn’t real, but played along with the fantasy because it was more fun that way. One Christmas, Santa left a rather noisy electric train with a whistle. It wasn’t long before Dad was hollering at us from the bedroom to go back to bed.
We never had any guests at Christmas because our relatives all lived in faraway places like Kansas and Colorado. We did not mind because we enjoyed being together for our gift exchange and a special turkey or ham dinner with mashed potatoes and vegetables. Mother was a good cook, who could create a dinner and a dessert that all of us would enjoy.
We were a Christian family and stories about Jesus were part of our Christmas tradition. Dad would read from scripture to remind us of the religious basis for Christmas. As children, we understood the story of the birth of Jesus in a literal way.