Susanne did drape some lighted faux evergreen garland on the front porch and more on our faux fireplace, and that was about it for our decorations. We didn't put up a tree, or place any of our vintage paper houses on cotton batting to make a village. We didn't fill bowls with red or green apples, or tuck evergreens behind pictures and mirrors. We didn't string white lights among the pieces of a silver tea service to create a shiny glow. When I say low key, I mean l low key!
|Centigrade or Fahrenheit?|
When we got home, we exchanged gifts, even though we had agreed not to. I gave Susanne a transistor radio to use while she is in "her" bathroom getting ready in the morning. I also got her a wireless thermometer to hang outside and broadcast the time and temp into the kitchen. I just hope it does not have commercials! Other gifts included some chocolate goodies, always a sure bet.
|"Here's lookin' at you, kid."|
In the evening, Susanne made a turkey dinner, with stuffing and candied sweet potatoes.
|Simon W. Goodyear|
|Harrisburg City Directory, 1930|
Then came the parade of aunts, uncles, cousins, and neighbors --
|Aunt Rachel and Uncle Carl|
This went on for most of the week after Christmas. My mother's sister Rachel and her husband Carl would come bearing gifts all the way from northern New Jersey. After all these years, I remember receiving a rather large metal 1952 Cadillac to play with. It was pretty spectacular, and I blurted out, "How much did this cost!?" Aunt Rachel said I was "fresh."
This took place at the house of my mother's other sister, Helen, whose tree is pictured just above. Under the tree were often displayed her daughter Elaine's collection of dolls, including some beauties from Japan.
By New Year's, we began to play with our toys for the first time (not really, but we pretended it was for the first time) and wear our clothing.
|Matt, Sarah, and I, c. 1975|
I recall one year my dad almost had a stroke when my mother bought a blue spruce tree about four feet tall for $7.00 -- this at a time when white pine and hemlock trees were being sold (mostly at gas stations) for two or three dollars. To prove her point, my mother kept the tree up until February 14, when it lost its first needle.