How did you spend Christmas Eve? This is sort of hazy for me because when I was a child all we did was go to bed and try to listen for the reindeer on the roof. I never heard them.
But when I got a little older my parents, somehow, celebrated Christmas Day on Christmas Eve Day. We were not allowed to go outside and on Christmas Day we went to mass.
I think this was because they thought that it would be impossible to get the excited children to church when there were new toys. I can not remember how long they did that subterfuge.
We each got perhaps one or two toys and clothing, which I did not consider very valuable. Things were hard in the 1950’s and early 1960’s. My father did not make a lot of money and there were the layoffs and strikes on occasion.
On the last visit to her oncologist I think my mother knew the time was short and she told me that each year her mother gave her $100 to buy the children toys. At that time the $100 was worth a lot but that was before the electronics and the feeling that you had to give your children everything that they wanted and then even more.
What we received were board games, things like Lincoln Logs and a Erector Set. The boys would get guns and trucks and the girls doll houses and dolls. As I grew older each child received one gift,perhaps clothing or a piece of jewelry for the daughters.’My mother would prepare a turkey and all the fixins’
Some of the grandparents and Great Uncle Bill would come for dinner or my father would prepare a dish and take the food to Uncle Bill, this was after my grandmother had died. Bill and his sister, my grandmother, shared a house.
We had a good childhood despite not having much money, we were poor but we did not know it.