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Rose M Rideout

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Member Since: Nov, 2006

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Christmas of Long ago
By Rose M Rideout
Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Rated "PG" by the Author.

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Our Christmas was a lot different then those of today. Life and times have changed and even though we know it is for the best, I just wish every child could live through one of ours.

I was born in November of 1954. There were four boys and four girls along with Mom and Dad. Shortage of work made it hard for pretty well every family but no one did without. It seemed all the neighbors watched out for the other and therefore no one went hungry.
Christmas was the best season for all the children and we never asked for too much. The girls looked forward to their dolls, dishes and the boys wanted sleds trucks ans guns, yes guns were a big item when we were children.
We never got to go to the stores shopping with our folks because as far as we knew Santa made all the toys in his workshop at the North Pole and delivered them on Christmas Eve.
Due to the shortage of money my folks would do the best they could with very little, but we never seem to do without on Christmas.
Dad would stay up night after night making snowshoes to sell and go in the woods to poach a moose and pray not to get caught. He would sell some of the meat to buy the other foods we needed to survive.
Mom would knit sweaters, hats, mitts, slippers and sew us a new outfit to wear on Christmas morning. She would make items for our new dolls.
Mom always made sure there was plenty of fruit cakes and date squares along with sugar cookies, all decorated so beautiful for the holiday season. We would string popcorn and cut out homemade snowflakes to help decorate. We knew we had to be extra good or Santa would just put cold in our socks. We would be busy writting our letters to Santa making sure we weren't greedy, afterall Mom would tell us there are a lot of boys and girls in the world for him to take care of.
Dad would work in his workshop for hours and we weren't to bother him because he was so busy, doing what, we weren't sure. It was until we got much older that we realized all those doll sleighs, sleds and kitchen furniture was indeed made by our father. Later when my brother Bill got older, he helped out by making doll cradels for our dolls and Mom would make pillows and blankets for them.
Before we would know it, it was Christmas Eve and the excitment was almost too much to stand. We knew we had to go to bed at a decent hour and that Santa Claus wouldn't come if we were awake. It just seemed to us kids that Christmas morning was the greatest. The tree was all lit up and there was always so much under the tree. Nothing was wrapped because Santa didn't wrap his gifts.
We would call Mom and Dad and they would show all this excitment over what we got. They never once gave us the feeling that they weren't interrested in out gifts.
I can almost smell the freshly cut tree and the turkey roasting in the oven as I think back through the years and the bowls of fruit, candy and nuts that were left behind by dear old Santa.
The adults also enjoyed themselves on Christmas's of long ago. They would dress up in weird clothes and masks and they would go mummering is what they called it back then, they would come into your home and you would give them a drink and try to guess who they were, which wasn't always easy, they were harmless and then they would take a member of your household along with them to the next house and this would go on for long hours into the night. Today we couldn't trust to let people into our home because of the harm that is happening in the world, such a shame to have a funtime tradition ruined.
Little did we ever think we would see or know of computers, cd players, game boys or x boxes, I couldn't imagine asking for something like a cell phone for back then most families didn't have a house phone or a tv or a refrigerator. Yes our lives have changed for the best they say but the children of today will never know the magical Christmas's of long ago. When our children were younger we would try to get them to make a gift, and tell them the joy of receiving a gift made from the heart with love, something that no one else could go into a store and purchase. Today people forget what the true meaning of Christmas really is. They forget that we celebrate a very special birthday, the birth of The Christ Child born upon this day.They have a price tag on everything and the more they get the better they feel. What a shame.
If we could just give them one magical Christmas in their lifetime, what a joy they would know.
We couldn't wait to call on our friends,which meant we had to walk to their house, to show them what we got from Santa and to share the fun with them, We'd share hours of sledding and making angels in the snow or skating on the rink our dad made in the back yard. I don't know why Mom never got tired of warming our feet and hands just to dress us up and let us go back out to play, how many pairs of mittens did she dry in the warmer on the top of the old wood stove. Our holidays seemed to last forever and we couldn't wait to get back to school to show everyone what beautiful things we got. Oh yes, they were indeed the magical Christmas's of long ago. 

       Web Site: Rose M Rideout

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Reviewed by CJ Heck 6/7/2011
What a beautiful memoir, Rose. That certainly was a kinder, gentler time back then. I remember it well (I'm older than you are). We were happy with much less, that's for sure. I loved reading this.
Hugs,
CJ
Reviewed by Stephanie Murray 12/5/2009
Have to use the same word Nostalgic-was what came to my mind. I enjoyed reading of your heartfelt Christmas memories. The materialism of today has took away some of the simple-yet important traditions of the past.I will be joyful anyway.
Reviewed by Elizabeth Russo 1/27/2009
Rose, this is such a nostalgic, touching and moving tale of Christmas' past. Times certainly have changed and perhaps we should take a step back so we can truly appreciate the real meaning of the day and the simple joys of being with family and loved ones. A beautiful, gentle reminder. Loved it! Hugs, Elizabeth
Reviewed by Ev McTaggart 5/23/2008
Oh my gosh, DO I remember mummering. It was the geatest fun!

We kids always accmpanied Dad and his ax into the snowy woods on Christmas Eve to find the perfect tree and drag it home. with three kids, there was some discussion about which tree WAS the perfect one! Dad would light a fire in the front room fireplace so it was toasty warm and we'sd all pitch in on the trimming. Ah, the pleasure of unwrapping each delicate glass ornament from its tissue paper and untangling each strand of tinsel.

After the trimming, we were expected to hop upstairs to bed, with visions of Sandy Claus bursting our kiddie brains.

Christmas to me still smells like oranges and new crayons and I can't see a Lifesaver's book of candy rolls without feeling that Christmas spirit.
Reviewed by Joyce Devenish 9/29/2007
Well done. The world was safer back then and that is what I miss most...Best wishes...JDM
Reviewed by Staci Gansky-Wagner 9/26/2007
That was a nice story Rose--took me away from thinking about work for a few minutes. Times sure have changed. :)
Reviewed by MaryGrace Patterson 8/5/2007
Dear Rose, I really enjoyed the story.. I was an only child,. Money was scarse, and many of the gifts I received over the years were hand made. People enjoyed so much when receiving so little. The spirit of Christams still remains tho , and I treasure those special memories , and the ones we have now created . Its not quite the same tho. Thanks for sharing this wonderful story with us.......M
Reviewed by Regis Auffray 1/7/2007
This reminds me of Christmas when I was a child. Indeed, it was much different than the ones my children have experienced. Thanks for sharing the memories, Rose. Love and peace to you,

Regis
Reviewed by Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado 12/21/2006
Good story; well done! :)

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