Do you remember when you were a kid and you counted the days off until Christmas? You always knew exactly how many there were to go. Fourteen, thirteen, twelve and on. Well, this time in two weeks it will be Christmas Eve and many families will be gathering to enjoy the holiday with presents and glittering lights and delicious food. And the kids will all be ready to go to bed so Santa can come. Such a different perspective when you’re Santa’s helper instead of just wishing he’d show up and soon! Still fun, but instead of wishing the days gone, you’re wishing for an extra day here and there to wrap those presents, to address those cards, to make that candy or those cookies. Being a Santa’s elf is not for the faint-hearted.
Someone asked me about the Shakers celebrating Christmas. They did observe Christmas but not as we do today. They gathered in their Meeting House and sang and danced as they worshiped. And they definitely had a good meal. The Shakers’ tables were always laden with the best foods. But in the “world,” as the Shakers called everyone outside their villages, the celebrations were probably not much different. Certainly not much like our celebrations today for the average person, but then Christmas celebrations have changed for everyone.
Think about your picture of an old-fashioned Christmas and compare it to the Christmas you and yours expect to have this year. My mom can remember getting an orange and candy in her stocking. She ate the orange one section at a time over several days to make it last. Back when I was a kid, oranges were still a treat, but we might have a whole box of fruit under the tree. Now a lot of children have oranges whenever they want one and have no conception of how an orange at Christmas could be a special treat while most of us older folks could never have imagined the sorts of things they find in their stockings these days – phones you stick in your ear so you’re never out of touch, music players that are smaller than your hand and don’t require tapes, CDs, records or anything to be inserted in order to play songs, and computers where one person can sit woolgathering and somebody half a world away can read the words and send a comment back immediately. Wonder what Christmas will be like in 2050. One thing I hope – that it will always be full of old-fashioned love and joy.
Here are some quotes on an old-fashioned Christmas and what makes the best presents to give and get at Christmas. At least I think so. I love getting books and I wish I had time to read all the books I’m giving my kids before I have to wrap them. Everybody always gets a book. It’s a long standing tradition in our house. And of course, love and your gift of time is always the very best and most valuable gift you can give.
- “Do give books – religious or otherwise – for Christmas. They’re never fattening, seldom sinful, and permanently personal.” — Lenore Hershey
- “They err who think Santa Claus comes down through the chimney; he really enters through the heart.” — Mrs. Paul M. Ell
- “Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love.” — Hamilton Wright Mabi
- “Christmas–that magic blanket that wraps itself about us, that something so intangible that it is like a fragrance. It may weave a spell of nostalgia. Christmas may be a day of feasting, or of prayer, but always it will be a day of remembrance–a day in which we think of everything we have ever loved.” — Augusta E. Rundel
Hope you can take time to enjoy the special time of Christmas. And that you know a child with Christmas stars in his or her eyes.