Black Friday, Cyber Monday, lights up throughout the neighborhood, Christmas decorations pulled out of storage, Christmas specials and commercials on TV. No matter how we may resist, the holiday season is here. That includes the whole idea of gift giving which is the topic for this week's Fun Monday. Our host Julie from Another Chance Ranch finishes her month long hosting duties by asking us to share our approaches and thoughts on holiday gift giving. Since I don't do much gifting these days, I thought I'd get a bit nostalgic.
Like many of you who may read this, I'm a child of the 1950s. It was just after WW II and times were very hard. Still, when the mail carrier delivered that magical Sears or Montgomery Ward Christmas wishbook, we kids poured over the toys on every page and made sure that our parents knew what we wanted from Santa. We also wrote him letters with our lists. I remember asking for a lot, but it was a new doll that I wanted most and would have been heartbroken to not see under the tree on Christmas morning. I always wanted a girl doll with black hair like mine, wearing a pretty dress and shoes and anklets.
Aside from the doll, which I wanted more than anything, I remember getting a cowgirl outfit(like Cousin J's that my grandmother is inspecting in this photo)and cap pistol. Dale Evans and Roy Rogers were very popular then. In the 1950s little girls got home making toys like dishes, tea sets. That was a standard go along with your doll. I also remember getting fresh paper dolls to supplement the Betsy McCall paper dolls in the back of the McCall's Magazine.
When I was too old to get a doll I begged (seriously!) for a red banlon sweater. This, after all, was what all the girls in my class were wearing. And I really wanted to fit in. My neighbor worked at the local department store and I have vague memories of talking so much about this sweater that she promised to buy it for me. I cringe at the thought now because very early on I decided not to take anything from anybody. My scruples didn't hold up to a red banlon sweater apparently!
I found this letter to my sister, written in 1964 when I was a college freshman. By that time my concern had shifted from what gifts I would receive at Christmas to how my family could celebrate the season without worrying so much about gifts. I was the youngest in the family so was responsible for the Christmas cheer and traditions continuing. Sadly, there was not any money left over for Christmas.
This letter pretty much holds true today for many people. The pressure is on to buy even when families cannot afford the extra expenses. Much better to keep things low key. Several years ago my friends and I decided not to exchange gifts. We're all independent people and buy what we need or want throughout the year. None of us need more stuff. So, this year I'll get my sister a few gifts simply because she enjoys seeing wrapped packages under her tree and opening them on Christmas morning.
Finally, just to let you know that I haven't always been a Christmas grouch. These photos are from college Christmases spent with my "adopted" family. And what grand times we had. On Christmas Eve the house was full with grand parents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. There were gifts galore, many home made like the year of red-striped flannel nightgowns for all the girls. The kids distributed their handmade treasures--Bobby's cans of Chex party mix, Dan's clothes pin reindeer ornaments.
There was more joy in the gifts you gave than those received.
These gifts warmed your heart because you knew they were chosen especially for you by people who took the time to select something special just for you.
This year my holiday wish for you is that your gift list be short enough that what you give is truly special for each person on the list. And that the gifts you receive were selected with the same amount of love and attention.
- Recent retiree--35 year's experience teaching reading, English, adult basic education and volunteer leadership skills. Started this blog to exchange ideas and commentary with friends and others having an interest in joining the discussions. Greatest life accomplishments include: 1.organized my 3rd grade class to check out library books for me to get around librarian's weekly limit--Amazon.com, the Mullins Elementary 3rd Grade Class of 1956 is still waiting for "thank you" notes; 2. volunteered in the Peace Corps, island of St. Kitts, West Indies; 3.taught adults to read, earn their GEDs., and speak English as a second language; 4. bought a border collie puppy for $6, got evicted rather than give him up, and began a life-long love affair with all things "Dog"; 5. joined a physical fitness boot camp in my mid-50s--don't mess with someone who's been doing regulation pushups in wet grass at 5:30 a.m.; 6. walked across Northern England with best friend Sally--over 80 miles from the Irish to North Seas; and 7. travelled to many foreign countries for pleasure and work.