Christmas was a very exciting time for us kids, going to church
on Christmas Eve where we had a Christmas program. We usually had
a part in it. At the end of the evening we would be given a present
from under the big Christmas tree that was always at the front of
the church. From Santa of course and he always came in for a minute
to wish us all a Merry Christmas. Also, Santa (the church) gave
a large brown bag of candy to each of the kids. It contained several
kinds of candy that we were not used to having except from the "Church
candy" at Christmas time. Some kids only came to church on
Christmas Eve, of course to get the candy and we thought that wasn't
proper. We were taught the values of life and what was necessary
to earn them so we figured that they did not have it coming because
they didn't come every Sunday. Now I see that how often you came
to church wasn't the criteria for getting the candy.
One year Keith and I had a sparkling new tricycle under the tree
at church. Another boy was sure that Santa had put it under the
tree for him and when it was given to Keith and me he started crying
and yelling. He didn't quit fussing until his father persuaded one
of the local hardware storeowners to open up so he could get his
boy a tricycle for Christmas. I remember coming down from upstairs
on Christmas morning and our folks telling us that Santa had just
left and I would look out the window to see if I could see him leaving
in his sleigh. My belief in Santa lasted until we went to school.
It seemed that cold weather and snow was almost always present
at Christmas time. We were always afraid that the snow would be
too deep for us to go to the Church Christmas program. Also if we
had a bad cold or the flu we would have to stay home and worry if
someone would bring us the presents that Santa left there for us
and the big brown sack of "church candy". Our getting
a large bag of candy like that was a major event for us at that
age and those depression times. We always had some candy and orange
in our stockings that we hung on one of the colonnades that were
between the dining room and the living room. (We didn't have a fire
place). Also, Mother made the best chocolate fudge ever at that
time of the year. Almost everyone used to make a lot of candy at
Christmas time. Lots of sugar, chocolate and black walnuts.
Our Christmas tree was usually a small red cedar tree or a branch
of a larger tree that Dad would chop out of the timber or along
the road somewhere. Most of the ornaments on the tree were mostly
things that we made with paper, tin foil, popcorn or shiny can lids.
The idea of spending money for decorations wasn't even considered
and we didn't have electricity for lights.
We always went to Grandpa Heim's house at noon on Christmas day
to see them and get a small present, usually a book, from Grandpa
and Grandma. They always had several kinds of homemade candy that
we looked forward to eating. They were always happy to have family
there on Christmas and Grandma would have a nice dinner (the noon
meal) for everyone.