Christmas for me as a child and teen centered around family and church, not much different than now. I believed in Santa Clause, but I also knew and understood the true meaning of Christmas found in the birth of Christ, Immanuel, the Son of God born of a virgin. This was not, even as a youngster, a hard truth to comprehend. If God be God, then He can do anything. It’s not difficult.
Presents at our home – for three siblings: Minnie, Martha, Tommy, all younger than me – we did not find in shiny wrappings under the tree on Christmas morning. Each of us kids had an assigned place in the living room – a chair or loveseat – and so we saw the gifts all at once, no unwrapping needed. Toys mostly as a child, then clothes and such as a teen. We played with the toys or games, and some clothes we tried on that day in our rooms.
As a purchasing agent for a steamship corporation, Dad received gifts from various companies and he displayed them on top of our baby-grand piano. One special treat was a big basket of fruit (including kumquats) and nuts. I have a knife set from those gifts.
Food for Christmas day consisted of a good hot breakfast and later a turkey with cornbread dressing, rice and gravy, cranberry sauce (the jelled kind from a can), a vegetable usually green beans or corn (also from a can). Dessert came later, a cake as I remember, and always ice-cream.
Daddy would have searched in the newspaper for a church that held a Christmas morning service. It was optional for us kids, but Minnie and I found it quite a treat to go with Dad. One church downtown had a full choir in robes and Christmas decorations.
One night before Christmas day we would ride around town looking at houses that had outdoor lighted decorations. Their practice was not a tradition for our house. We did have a tree, usually a cut spruce from a lot in town. But I remember at least one year we persuaded Dad to purchase a silver- or blue-sprayed tree. Our simple decorations included lights, ornaments, and silver tinsel we placed, not threw, onto the tree.
After dinner on Christmas day we would visit family members in town or they visited us. This took up most of the day. No exchange of gifts, maybe eating cookies, spreading love and appreciation. We liked to show off our gifts from Santa or our parents. Then it was time for bed.