About Me

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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.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Fun Monday - Christmas Wishes

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.


Molly said...

Being of similar age, I smiled reading about Banlon sweaters and Roy Rogers and Dale Evans toys. As a child, I wanted a Lionel train set like my neighbors had. This was way beyond the reach of my parent's budget.

I thank you for your very thoughtful holiday wish. I wish the same for you, and I wish for you many happy times with friends and loved ones this season and throughout the upcoming year.

Jill said...

Love the homemade stuff, drop by my blog, you'll love next week's topic!

Sayre said...

I remember the wishbooks arriving around Thanksgiving. As kids, it seems we could never get enough - in my case, there were so many brothers and so little money, Christmas must have been stressful for my parents. Luckily, I had a well-off grandmother who filled in the gaps.

Well, now I'M the grandmother and not well off, so I have to get creative when christmasing my granddaughter. My son lives with us so he knows how tight things can get and he only asks for one or two things.

I loved our poor Chrismases though - they seem to bring out the best in people!

Debs said...

I love this post (as with all your others) it's so filled with great pictures and information. I don't remember those Wish books though, I don't think they had them over here.

I love your gift wish and wish the same to you.

Jan n Jer said...

I too grew up in the same era Faye.I got my first bike when I was10, it was a used one and my Mom painted it bright blue. My Mom would put things on layaway starting in July for me n my four sibs. I loved playing with dolls and got a new one just about every year until I was 12. Us kids knew my Mom could not afford much and we were always so grateful. Right back at you with your Christmas wish. Just being here on this earth to celebrate another holiday is gift enough.

Sandy said...

I remember the doll from Santa, too. I got clothes from my family and one toy from Santa. I think maybe that's what we should do again. When I was little, it was the number of gifts rather than the content, you know? My mom knew and I remember the year she wrapped each pair of socks individually! I thought I was rich. Oh wait, I was!

Merry Christmas!

Pamela said...

WE usually got necessities for Christmas. Socks, Mittens, etc.

I remember the year my brother bought us all a life saver assortment box. I thought I'd won the lottery!

joangee said...

I'm another that grew up in the fifties! Your post has stirred some happy memories of those days. This side of the pond too, cowboy outfits were a must have. My childhood companions were two lads of similar age to me. (smile)
Thank you for your lovely Christmas wishes, may I wish the same to you too.

Lane said...

I love this post and wish you exactly the same right back.

And that letter is just the best. As is your lovely handwriting.

The Church Lady said...

Hi Faye! I have to agree with you on the gift giving thing. Except, my kids are still a little young, so I still purchase "Santa" gifts for them. But my gift giving has dwindled over the years. I like to craft a gift to give away to my friends. A handmade gift means so much (to me anyway). Here is the link to the "melted snowman ornaments". They are easy to make. Just let me know if you have any questions.