Frenzied efforts were made by all the children to finish the sparse decorations before the big day. The scrawny cedar had been cut from the tree line of the pasture and stood in the corner of the ‘front room.’ Colored Construction Paper, was cut into strips and glued with flour paste into gala chains, to be draped around the branches.
The nearby cotton fields had been scoured for leftover fluffs of the fruit to serve as Snow. Tin-Foil; collected from discarded Cigarette Packages was shredded and used for Icicles. Holly Berries and Popcorn, strung with thread, completed the festive decorations.
With the tree decorated, everyone’s attention turned to the preparing of the “Christmas Boxes”. The Containers from the last purchase of winter shoes had been hoarded; to become the ‘Receptacles’ for the; ‘expected loot from Santa. Crayons were utilized to record the names inside the boxes to assure that all gifts were placed in the proper container.
Let’s face it; Small Stockings were not sufficient to hold the likes of; Cap Pistols, and Holsters, Jackknives, Harmonicas, Dolls, Toys, and of course; Fruit, Nuts, and Candies:” When all the preparations were made, the long wait began. Everyone was on their ‘Best Behavior,’ for the duration of the time before Christmas Eve.
There were even no complaints when the time came to go to the Church for the “ANNUAL CHRISTMAS SERVICE.” Each child had a part in the customary pageant. “In borrowed Bathrobes, they served as Shepherds, Wise Men, and Joseph and Mary; while the Pastor re-told the Christmas Story directly from the scriptures”.
At the end of the Service, every child received a small bag containing an orange, an apple, and a few pieces of candy, courtesy of the local General Store. After the final a-men: Everyone was eager to return home and get in bed: “For it was well known that Santa would not visit until all children were asleep”.
Concern for some was the fact that there was no snow for reindeer and a sleigh. Add to this the fact that the Fireplace had been closed; in lieu of a Wood-Burning Heater; and questions were raised as to how ‘Santa would get in.’
The usual answers from the parents were: That Santa used a big, Truck; and that they would leave the door unlocked. To add credence to this story, they were told that the trucks engine made a sssshhhhing sound to avoid waking any children.
From the wee hours of Christmas morning: The sounds of Cap Pistols; Harmonicas; and laughter; reverberated throughout the crisp, clear air of the countryside for the remainder of the day. Regardless of the meager presents, the JOY, of the Christmas Season; was present in every heart.
No Research, was needed for this article; simply, because; “WE’VE BEEN THERE; & DONE THAT!” Although the celebration is somewhat different today: “The excitement remains, more or less the same.”