Christmas decorations

Published 2:05 pm Thursday, January 3, 2013

It has come around to the time for the decorated trees for Christmas, along with the front door, the yard and wreaths to celebrate the Christmas season. In years gone by we would go into the woods and find a tree right after Thanksgiving, back before we had tree farms or stores that sold them. We would cut the tree and trim it up and bring it home to be fitted with a base, usually a homemade base. Most people didn’t have the strings of lights and used a lot of things that were common, like popcorn, or just ribbons to make the tree look decorated.

Eventually, times got better and families started having more money to spend on their trees when they became a little more available. Several people began to bring trees into the different neighborhoods in wagons with horses or mules pulling them. You could buy a fair-sized tree from these sources for four or five dollars and it reached a point where most families had a tree.

As we grew older we found that Christmas presents and decorations became a bigger project every year. In the earlier years we would usually have one ‘Santa Claus’ present under the tree and a stocking attached to the mantle that would have an apple or orange and maybe some candy in it. This was a big deal in our young years and we enjoyed whatever we received, but it was nothing like the presents now. When we reached 10 or 12 years of age we began to have one thing that we really wanted for our present under the tree. One year my present was supposed to be a football, but instead I received a pair of roller skates. The first time trying to skate on the highway I had a great fall, took the skates off and threw them in the yard. My brother wanted a pair of skates but received a football instead. A short time later we made a trade and everything worked out, which shows that even Santa Claus gets mixed up every now and then.

A few years later everyone began to ride around at night and look at all the pretty decorations in the different parts of town. The local newspaper usually had a contest and would show the prettiest decorated home, along with many others that were just as pretty. This got to be a big way to celebrate the Christmas holiday when money was not as plentiful as it is now. Gasoline was around 24 or 25 cents a gallon and the ride around town every night was a happy occasion.

Christmas means a lot of different things to many people and it is easy to forget the real reason for the celebration sometimes. Different parts of the country have different ways to celebrate, but it almost always comes to the local churches to be the leaders. The choirs all work hard with their musical programs to remind us that we are celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ and we are thankful for their work.

One of the things in our earlier years that made the holiday something to remember was visiting with family members. Sometimes it was about the only time we visited other parts of the family or when they came to visit. It was a good time to make pictures and catch up on what was going on with others. Now, we visit whenever we want and it does not require a holiday to get together with friends and family.

We are lucky that we live in a country where we can have our beliefs and worship services and we need to remember that. May we all go into the Christmas celebration as a religious time and not just a money-spending season.

God bless you all now and into the new year.