Christmas was a very exciting time!

Feature Story December 2005
Christmas was a very exciting time!
(Written by Kenneth Heim in his autobiography)
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.