Skip to comments.The Wonder of Christmas - 1959
Posted on 12/19/2007 4:25:17 PM PST by SJackson
It was almost Christmas. The parlor stove sat glowing in the tiny living room. The tinsel on the Christmas tree waved back and forth from the breeze created by nine children moving around the room, with everyone trying to see if there was a present for them under the tree.
Maybe one was hidden beneath the folds of the sheet that was draped around the bottom of the tree, skillfully hiding the bucket of water the tree stood in. No matter how many times you looked, there just weren't any presents in or around or under anything on that tree.
A bunch of sad faces looked at each other. Then Dennis, the oldest boy, got a smile on his face.
"Hey you guys, let's all go make or find a present to give each other." The other eight children instantly brightened up.
Off they went to see what they could find. Barb was 15 and could sew. She headed for the bag that held clothing given to the family by others more fortunate. There were women's size-large dresses with buttons the size of silver dollars on them, and shirts with holes in the sleeves, pants with the knees worn out and even some red flannel underwear. She pulled out an array of clothing, things she could make into different things. Pot holders and an apron for Mom, a warm scarf for Dad out of the red flannel, a doll for 8-year-old Patty, and the possibilities were limited only to her imagination.
Denny, age 16, took 9-year-old Mike out with him to the wood shed. There were lots of odds and ends of lumber and scrap wood they could do something with. They could make a sled, or carve a doll or a boat or make a picture frame. Denny knew they would think of something.
Lona was 13 and liked to draw. She got paper and a No. 2 pencil and sat at the kitchen table, standing books around her to keep anyone from peeking at what she was drawing. Horses were her favorite subject.
Mitzi was 14 and the thoughtful one of the family. She sat on the other side of the table with paper and scissors in front of her, also with books standing up to shield her creations. She was making note cards to give to Mom. Some said, "Today I will scrub the floor for you," and another, "Today I will make supper for you," and others said anything else she could think of to do for Mom.
Next came Delores, who was 11. She was the organizer and working hard at making a list of chores for everyone. For example, she wrote whose turn it was for dishes, or sweeping or pumping water, or shoveling snow or getting the wood in for the two stoves.
Patti was 8 and was Mother's little helper. She was busy finding ways to help Mom.
"I will do the ironing, I will do the wash, I will make the supper," she said. She didn't realize that at 8 years old, she couldn't do all those things.
David, at 6 years old, was getting stubborn and wanted to find his own gift. He pulled his six-buckle rubber overshoes on and struggled into his jacket, found his stocking hat and pulled it down over his ears. Finding some mittens that were too big, he put them on and out the door he went.
There was a heavy wet snow that had fallen and David went to work and made a little snowman with it. He packed it with his little hands, making a round ball for the head, then the body.
Even though it was a little lopsided, he thought it was just right. He went back into the house and found an old shoebox. Taking that outside with him, he put his snowman into the box and with binder twine tied it shut.
Going inside again, he marched over to the table and asked Mitzi for a piece of paper. She gave him one, and he laboriously wrote, "To Mom and Dad, from David." Then he went and proudly put his present under the tree. His was the first one there.
Then there was 3-year-old Keith. He had a paper bag and was going around picking up whatever was loose. Into the bag went one of Dad's socks. Mom's comb was lying on the edge of the sink, so that also went into the sack. There's a toy car, and there's a button on the floor. Dad's coffee cup, Barb's notebook for school, Mitzi's hair curlers and one feisty gray kitten all ended up in his bag. Keith dragged the bag over to the tree and pushed it underneath with a big grin on his face.
In just a few hours the tree was transformed from standing empty to many presents waiting to be opened on Christmas morning. The kids were all smiles.
When Mom and Dad got home from work, they saw all the presents and wondered where they came from.
Dad said there must be a hole in the bucket the tree is in because there is water running out from under it.
Christmas morning finally arrived and the presents were passed out.
Little David was beside himself waiting to give Mom and Dad the present he made for them. He proudly handed it to Mom and leaned on her knee as she cut the binder twine and opened the lid on the box.
There was nothing in the box! David's face crumpled up into tears as he cried, "Who took my snowman?"
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How was it...?
That year was a blur with all the babysitting I had to do for your grandchildren.
Wonderful CHRISTmas story. Forwarding to my email list.
Thanks. Merry CHRISTmas to you!
Hey! No fair! *SNIF* I’m having a High Hormone day as it is, and am stressed out over Christmas, LOL!
Actually, that is a neat little story. I hand-made a lot of gifts this season, and I plan on doing that from here on out.
I love to make stuff (sewing, baking, crochet, etc.) and it’s fun to remember back to when you wanted to give someone a gift you had to MAKE one.
All of my childhood gifts were handmade. Rag dolls, doll clothes, doll blankets, a handmade crib and bunk beds from Grandpa, a wooden Noah’s Ark (also made by Grandpa, with cloth animals made by Grandma.)
I’m not all THAT that old, but so many kids miss this GIFT these days.
Thanks for the reminder as to what the Season is all about. Christ. Love. Giving (of yourself!)
...and Merry CHRISTmas.
I enjoyed your memories from Christmases past. Merry Christmas to our Orthodox friends.