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Remembering Christmas past

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By Natasha Colbaugh

As I decorated my house this year for Christmas I was so thankful because last year it was quite a chore. I was taking chemo and didn’t have a lot of strength. Since April of this year 2010, I have felt better every day.

If you are modern or trendy as some of my granddaughters say, you would find my decorating interesting. I have accumulated Christmas décor for 55 years and have a few things my mom had that are 70 plus years old. Nothing expensive, just nostalgic. Many centerpieces and a ceramic tree were gifts from various Sunday school classes I have taught over the years.

My theme remains the same every year just as bright and cheerful as I can make it. To me it is the most glorious birthday celebration ever. Remembering the birth of the Savior of the world.

Giving gifts is fine as long as we don’t go beyond our means. It can cause much heartache and stress.

My dad was a coal miner, and in the forties work wasn’t constant. There was a big light at a designated place, if the light was green the minors would work, if it was red there was no work.

At Christmas dad would find us a tree, if we ever had one that wasn’t perfect we didn’t know it. Looking back, I realize our trimmings were very meager, but we didn’t know that. Mom had a wreath for the front door and dad would tack pine branches around the door facing. He would always find some mistletoe. It is interesting where you find mistletoe; dad would shoot it out of a treetop.

As a young child I can’t remember much about gifts. I do remember a big highlight was a Christmas play depicting the Christmas story, and then it was on Christmas Eve. Can you imagine in our day and time, celebrating Christ Birth at the appointed time. Everyone would be so busy that they couldn’t come. Busy doing what?

Another highlight was on Christmas Eve also. Every child in the camp received a brown bag; what a treat back then, an orange, apple, tangerine, nuts, a candy bar and a pack of gum. I don’t think that would be a prized gift by today’s standards.

Living in a community where everyone’s circumstances were pretty much the same, you don’t miss what you’ve never had. One year my sister and I received a doll (each) with a change of clothing and our brother got a big truck. We were the happiest kids you could ever imagine.

I don’t remember having turkey or ham until the early fifties; but even by today’s standards mom could make the best chicken and dumplings and dressing I have ever ate. Christmas dinner was a treat indeed.

Commercialism has almost taken over when we think of the true meaning of Christmas. It is hard to find anything pertaining to the Birth of Christ. Bob and I feel so fortunate that we have taught our children and they have taught theirs the true meaning of Christmas. Praying you had a great Christmas. Happy New Year.

God Bless.