I remember Christmases in Dutch Hollow as family time. On Christmas Eve, several of my aunts, uncles, and cousins would join us in the house where we lived with my grandparents. The tree was nothing like the thick trees you can purchase at lots today. No the branches on ours were sparse and far apart, probably because tinsel hanging was a big part of tree decorations back in the day. Big long strands of silvery beauty covered every available spot.
Under the tree were pretty wrapped packages and we were always allowed to open one package on Christmas Eve. As the years passed and I began high school, we moved from the house we shared with my grandparents into a rented house just a hop, skip, and a jump away. By then we didn’t have the large family gathering any more, which was sad. Since I was the only child in the house, Christmas and Christmas Eve became kind of quiet and for me a bit sad. But there was still the opening of one present on Christmas Eve to look forward to.
Dad worked on the railroad and he actually worked on Christmas Eve now. So it was just Mom and me. This picture was taken when I was about 15. I don’t know what was inside the box, but I do look surprised, don’t I?
This might have been the Christmas, and the only Christmas, I peeked at a package under the tree when no one was home but me. Inside was a pretty white blouse. I closed it back up again, and that took away the joy of opening that package. I knew I had to act surprised though. So, this just might be the package that made me feel so guilty I never again in all my years, to this day, peeked at any Christmas present or tried to find where they were hidden.
Still my dear husband went to great lengths to hide his present for me every year and was so proud of doing so. I think he might have done a little peeking when he was little!
I miss Christmases when I was young. The presents weren’t overly numerous, nor were they expensive, because we didn’t have a lot of money. Some presents were home made and those were so special. I still remember a lovely blue wool suit my mother made me.
One memorable Christmas was the year I received a poodle skirt and rock ‘n roll shoes and some white buck shoes. Oh, what joy to a teenager’s heart! I remember how happy my mother looked when I opened the presents and saw things I didn’t expect to get.
Back then, on Christmas afternoon, my friends and I would visit each other to see what we’d received. Living in a small community was different from my life and my grandchildren’s lives today. But I know, one day in the future, they will be remembering their childhood Christmases fondly and thinking how different things were in “those good old days.”