There were always school plays from each classroom and we used to draw names to get a gift. Usually a treat bag was given out with an apple, orange, candy bar and candy cane inside. The last day of school before Christmas break was always an exciting time knowing school was out for two weeks.
Then came your individual Christmas with your families. Thinking back to past Christmases, I think of all the big Christmas gatherings we used to have with extended family. So much has changed since then.
One thing I remember is how different it is after the meal than what it used to be. For one thing, when my mom would prepare a really large meal we always had dishpans of water to wash up the dishes as soon as she would make something so there wouldn’t be so much to clean up afterward. No home we went to used paper plates, and there was no dishwasher or even water in most homes.
But the one thing that stands out in my mind is the bonding of the women in the kitchen doing the dishes, laughing and talking, telling secrets about the kids and inviting the others to their homes during the holidays. We would go through about 10 tea towels to dry all the dishes and two or three dishpans of water. Cleaning up never seemed too long with all the help we had.
Another thing, once a girl became a teenager, no one had to tell her that the polite thing to do was to help in the kitchen or see what needed to be done. The only way you could get out of helping might be to rock a baby that was new to the family. I still think that is how it should be and can’t stand laziness in kids. You teach your children so much when you teach them to work and have manners.
Another thing, we kids were never bored and never had to ask our parents what to do to have fun. We created our own fun and could always come up with something to do. We had no cell phones or electric anything, but we played lots of Monopoly, with my cousins Marvin and Ronald taking the time to teach everyone no matter how young. If they wanted to play, the whole group of kids was playing. This might have taken the whole afternoon. There was no running in people’s homes unless you wanted to be embarrassed by a spanking in front of your relatives.
Another thing: People seemed to not always be in a rush. In other words, they may come for lunch and not leave until it was time to get home to milk the cows and feed the chickens or animals. People today eat and are always in a hurry. I am also guilty of that. What have we done to ourselves? We have more conveniences with automatic dishwashers, washing machines and dryers, and many other conveniences but less time.
We wouldn’t wait until the next holiday to visit one another in between either, as many families do today, but would visit often throughout the year.
Family is important whether it is Christmas or not. Maybe we can make it a priority to be more family-oriented this year.
Merry Christmas to you and your family.