Living on a large farm in snow country in Gallia County, Ohio, it was always a white Christmas. On the last day of school before the holiday vacation the teachers gave each student a pound bag of hard Xmas candy and sometimes an apple or orange. When we got home our older brother would have the horse hooked up to a large sled and we’d get to ride over the hills to the site of a good scotch pine (Christmas) tree. The tree was placed in the parlor by the fireplace (the parlor was used only in the winter and the fireplace was the only source of heat in the room. In the main living room was a pot bellied heatrola; the kitchen woodburning stove heated the dining room and there was one upstairs bedroom above the parlor with a fireplace.) Mama or one of the older girls would pop bowls of popcorn which we young ones would string for rope around the tree. Other ornaments were made for the tree also. All of us picked up tin foil on the road from cigarette and chewing gum packages and stars and balls were made from it. Sycamore tree balls were sprayed silver and hung on the tree. There were very few manufactured decorations and they were given us. I guess we were a ‘do it yourself family’.
We young ones hung one of our long stockings from the fire place mantel and Santa filled them with nuts,(sent from California by Mama’s Mother), a few pieces of Xmas candy, a small wrapped toy or handkerchief, an orange, a banana and always a candy cane sticking out of the top. These were treats because we got them just once a year. On Christmas morning we had to sit on the stairs outside the parlor until Mama and Papa had built the fire in the fireplace. The tree was always decorated after we went to bed. There would be one or two wrapped gifts under the tree for each family member usually something practical, useful and needed.
….BUT Christmas season at our house was an exciting and fun time. We went to Grandpa and Grandma Gatewoods for dinner and ‘grab bag’. Each of us with our cousins got to reach into the large Santa’s sack and pick one gift. I was ten years old when we moved from the farm and all traditions changed to fit the new environment. But memories linger and good times past or present are worth keeping.
Written this 18th day of December, 2013, by Lucy Eleanor Gatewood Seeds (LEGS)