Step back in time to enjoy Christmas Memories of a by-gone era through the writings of my Great-aunt, DeEtte Morrison Blaurock:
"No matter where we were or what our circumstances might be, Mother always made Christmas a magic time.
In retrospect, all Christmases of childhood seem as one wonderful day merged with the happiness of love of family, faith in the beautiful story of the Christ child, and the loving care of Mother for us all.
The sounds that came out of the past - sleigh bells and the sharp ring of sled runners zinging over the frozen snow; footsteps crunching along, occasionally stopping to stamp the frozen snow from boot heels, where it had formed in hard little balls; the sounds of neighbors calling out "Merry Christmas" in the sharp winter air; and the smells of mince pies, roast turkey and goose, cedar boughs and coffee - all blended into one.
Christmas morning would dawn clear and cold. The snow would sparkle with millions of diamonds flung prodigiously by a dry, capricious wind.
We would wake up long before the fires were built, and oh, the endless waiting until the house would be considered warm enough for us to scramble out of bed and into our clothes. Some Christmases we did not have a tree, and I remember them as being the most thrilling, just our stockings hung up in a row. They would be limp and dejected looking when we tore ourselves away to go to bed. We would lie breathless and starry-eyed until sleep overtook us, and then in a moment it was morning.
Probably we would be awakened by the zing of sleigh runners on the frozen snow, or the jingle of sleigh bells. When the room was warm enough we would run for our stockings, those mysterious, knobby stockings with a doll sitting on top, or tied to the bulky length of the whole, lumpy, lovely thing.
Mother used to knit our stockings using fine black yarn. How we hated them, for they drove us nearly crazy scratching our tender skin, but at Christmas time we loved them because they stretched to hold such an amazing amount of toys, and candy, and always an orange!
One time down in the very toe of Fran's stocking was a ring she had wanted for a long time. I can still see her shining face as she slowly slipped it on her finger and held it up for us to see.
Confusion reigned, but out of a mighty chaos there evolved a dinner. The snowy tablecloth, the bowls and platters of food, and the laughter and fun. Once dinner was over the day was ours until we were too weary to move. Then Mother would read to us from one of the books we received for Christmas, or from what we called the "Blue Book", a story of the life of Christ. Mother was a sympathetic reader, laughing when the characters in the story laughed, and weeping when they wept. Consequently, listening was an emotional experience for all of us. I've heard Mother punctuate her reading by remarks such as: "the poor fool"; "that poor girl"; "I can imagine such a performance", etc. Jo went along with Mother on these emotional outbursts, and one time wept so hard that the story had to be discontinued.
The Christmas we lived in the little cabin was the same as all others except that we were alone. Father did not make it home that year. I know now how lonely Mother must have been..."