A Christmas to remember

December 1957.

The Christmas that I received the least is the one I remember the most.

My parents were in their mid 30’s.  I was 7, my brother was 12.  We lived on a small farm which we farmed “on the half” with the farm owner. We had milk cows, a few hogs, chickens and eggs, and we grew corn, soybeans, wheat, oats, and sugar beets.  My Mom worked alongside my Dad milking the cows and driving the tractor.  In addition she did all the mom chores…. gardening, housework, childcare, canning.   My Dad also worked third shift in a local sugar beet processing plant and I  remember Mom getting up early and going outside to start the chores.   Feeding, milking, cleaning out stalls.  She knew Dad would be tired when he got home and wanted to have things pretty well finished when he arrived home from work.

Like all farmers, Dad wanted a place of his own; a place where he made the decisions. Mom and Dad had traveled around for months looking at farms for sale.   Dreaming of the day when one of the farms would be their own. They found it.  We were to take possession of our new farm and new home on January 1.  Mom began to pack items in preparation for the move.  She began to talk to my brother and me about changing schools and moving to a nicer house.

She also explained how Christmas would be a little different this year. We were not going to have a Christmas tree, because all the ornaments were packed. There was too much to do so just this one year we would scrimp a bit.  There would just be a few gifts under the tree.  Every penny saved over many years was going to pay for the farm.  she went on to explain how a new house, our own bedrooms, and a better life were to be part of this new adventure as well.

I don’t remember being disappointed about the gifts.   I do remember being disappointed about the Christmas tree.   I could not even imagine a Christmas without a tree and without all my favorite ornaments  But life went on, I knew not to complain, and I saw how busy and stressful this move was for my parents.

My Mom must have sensed my disappointment.  Maybe I didn’t hide it very well.  I do know that when it came time to open our gifts on that Christmas Eve, there in the corner of the kitchen, on a small wooden table, was the best surprise of all…. it wasn’t a Christmas tree but it was close.   Mom had cut branches from the evergreen bushes that surrounded our house and placed them in a large vase.  There were no lights, but a few of our favorite tree ornaments hung from the branches.  A towel was wrapped around the base of the vase and on that small table were our gifts.

I remember distinctly what I received that year.   A Mr Potato Head, a baton, a coloring book and crayons.  And a make shift Christmas tree that would have inspired Charles Schulz!

When I remember that Christmas, I remember it with love and excitement.  Somehow my parents had instilled in 7-year-old me a sense of sacrifice, love, and commitment to something that would give back to us for many, many years.   A place of our own.

Perhaps this wasn’t the Christmas I received the least.  But it is still the Christmas I remember the most.

About Life in the 50's and beyond...

Welcome to Life in the 50's and 60's and beyond .... where I write about my childhood memories, music of the 60's and about life in the country. I am a mother, grandmother, farmer's wife, business owner, and retired teacher.
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17 Responses to A Christmas to remember

  1. Sheryl says:

    Beautifully written – what a wonderful story!


  2. what a wonderful memory–thank you for sharing it!


  3. Caddo Veil says:

    Your writing choked me up. Merry Christmas early–love, sis Caddo


  4. Such charming memories you share Ruthie.
    There is something special about leaner times that lets all the the shallow trappings be removed and we find so much to really appreciate.
    We are the lucky ones who have had these experiences and know the balance of the finer things.
    This is a happy feel good post Ruth, thank you for sharing .


  5. Thanks for sharing this. You’ve provided another way to look at Christmas – one that I need this year. There’s so much noise ‘out there’ it’s nice to concentrate on the true meaning.


  6. marymtf says:

    Parents are great, aren’t they?


  7. What a lovely story – thanks for telling it!


  8. Judy says:

    As long as you have family or friends that care, the decorations aren’t critical but certainly nice to have. We moved once on Christmas Eve day with the wind chill was 54 degrees below zero. Our daughter came down with the chicken pox, and my mother was visiting from out of state. The movers picked up my husbands small hand tools by mistake when they left. We became so frustrated trying to trim the tree with a steak knife to get it in the stand, I opened the door and threw the tree onto the patio – didn’t have to go down the steps because we had no steps. We all laugh to this day about the year Mom threw the tree out.


  9. cobbies69 says:

    I remember potato heads, never had one though…

    Memories are always welcome.. Enjoy also ,,lovely post thanks.;)


  10. Sounds like the kind I like to remember…great story…mkg


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