Old Fashioned Christmas

Jack's story... He remembers Christmas as a time when everyone went to church and you exchanged gifts of cookies and fruit with family members and really close friends. Hand made gifts like wooden sleds and handkerchiefs with your initial in the

corner, wooden flutes from an uncle who allowed you to play it whenever he came to visit. Otherwise, Jack's mother would ..Put it away... it made too much noise. A huge dinner with everyone there. The more the merrier.

Every older neighbor with no close family and everyone that you knew didn't have enough of their own was invited, fed and sent home with heaping plates of food for the next few days. He was born in 1935, and he was privileged to belong to a wealthier family. His grandfather was an engraver with the Elmira Gazette Newspaper in Elmira, NY. His father died when he was six, so he and his mother lived with the grandparents until his mother remarried and moved to Syracuse, NY.

I remember piles of gifts in different chairs. We didn't have wrapping paper, all 8 of us children had a special chair with our name on it. The gifts would be on it or next to it on Christmas morning. We would have a large dinner with special friends invited and also sent home with plates of food to help them out.

We lived in Brooklyn some of the time and it was different there. It was always a tinsel Christmas. Lots of decorations and tinsel all over. Santa Claus on about every corner and we always gave pennies to the poor.

In the country, we always had tons of food. The men and boys hunted and we had a hog and sometimes a cow for beef. Ham and venison were our main meats. Chickens were kept for the eggs. We would go with the local church to sing Christmas carols to the elderly and shut-ins. We would spend Christmas day sliding and snowball fights, building forts and laughing the day away.

Today, Jacks daughter's and my daughter's send packages through the mail and we exchange Christmas gifts on whatever day happens to be chosen... Christmas or not. Usually on a Saturday closest to Christmas.

We enjoy my grandchildren and Jack's great-grandchildren the most. My grandchildren get bonds for their college education. Birthdays and Christmas, Jack's great-grandchildren get educational gifts and then we sit down and play the games with them after they have opened everything. Its fun, but not like it used to be. Everything is too modern now.