My mother wrote this essay in the early 1980’s in answer to a request by my son to tell him how she celebrated Christmas when she was a young girl.
“We would always cut one of our trees from our woods for Christmas. It was always a hemlock, and we would have to get it the day before Christmas because the needles would drop. I would usually go on a logging sled drawn by a horse – that was when I was around your age [probably eight years old]. Later, we would drive our old truck. Often we would just take the top off a tree – that would just fit in our living room. Then the night before, we would all decorate the tree with our old favorite ornaments. We often made colored chains to put around the tree – and sometimes popcorn. But my father liked his popcorn made into popcorn balls that we kept in the back of our wood stove.
My mother always made around 3 plum puddings and a large fruitcake with white boiled frosting. We would hang our biggest knee sock on the doorknobs near the tree – one year we hung them at the foot of our beds. Before we went to bed we would leave 2 oranges on the shelf with a note for Santa Claus.
Christmas morning we would get up around 5:30. That was the time life on the farm started – cows had to be milked and fed. We were always so excited Christmas Eve that we could hardly get to sleep. The 3 of us slept in one room on that evening. When we got around eleven, I slept with my sister, and my brother had his own room.
We usually got about 5 presents Christmas morning – one of them could be skis or a sled. But we were always happy no matter what we got. Christmas was so special on the farm. The windows in the kitchen were covered with beautiful snow flakes that Jack Frost made during the night, and the wood stove gave us a very magic heat, and on the wood stove a large tea kettle sang a little tune.
We would have our Christmas dinner at noon – always a roast beef and Yorkshire pudding with mashed potatoes and boiled onions, peas or corn. We would have company, but it always depended on the weather. Then in the afternoon we went sliding on our beautiful hills or ice skating on our favorite pond. We also might go down the hill to our neighbors to see their presents and play with them for a while.
Then late in the afternoon I would go out in the barn and help my father at milking time. Even if it were zero outdoors, it was always warm in the barn. Somehow 30 or 40 cows help make lots of heat.” – Janet Hall Crump, 1983
Wishing you all a warm and peaceful holiday!
On Monday: Ellsworth’s Birthday