The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 82, July 1978 - April, 1979 Page: 298
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
cardboard. The tree's branches held the candle-holders used year after
year and the glowing, flickering candles gleaming on the shining tinsel
was a most glorious and thrilling sight to the children of that day. Divine
Providence must have been protecting the festivities for no "little an-
gel" ever caught his or her flimsy costume on fire during the Christmas
program. The many inflammables used on and around the tree, as well
as the frame building itself, would make one shudder with dread today;
but we were blissfully unaware of any danger.
Dressed in our best bib and tucker and quivering with apprehension
lest we forget our lines in the play, or our songs, we arrived at last for
the big event. At the conclusion of the program Santa Claus appeared;
for each child would receive at least one gift from on or under the
community tree. Our stockings would be hung along the mantel at
home later, and all other gifts would be received there. We did not see
or use Christmas trees in the home at that time.
At home, the approach of Christmas meant much cooking and bak-
ing-cakes, candies, and homemade goodies were prepared well in ad-
vance of the season. They required much shelling of pecans, much
chopping of raisins and other fruits, and much beating of batters. We
children were eager and willing helpers in all these preparations and
were rewarded by frequent tasting and scraping or "licking" the bowls.
Meanwhile, gifts would have been in the making for weeks, for they
would be mainly handmade.
Christmas meant much visiting with friends and relatives and several
Christmas dinners for the children. The womenfolk of each family
would arrange to have their holiday dinners on alternate days during
the holidays. Thus the children were assured plenty of opportunities
to indulge in their favorite foodstuffs. For each family not to have a
feast with many guests would have been unthinkable.
Fireworks were a must on Christmas day. We always had a fine assort-
ment of firecrackers, roman candles, and sparklers. We also always had
some new, extra novelty in fireworks for the piece de resistance.
For us, Christmas was doubly exciting, as we could run back and
forth across the road to our grandparents' home and celebrated with
two families. On Christmas morning we tried to slip in as quietly as a
mouse, to be the first to greet our Auntie or Grandmother with the
words, "Christmas Gift!" At this time we did not use today's term,
Merry Christmas," but in greeting a friend or relative, to be the first
to call out, "Christmas Gift!" had a special meaning to us. In a joking
sense the other person would now "owe" us a gift.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 82, July 1978 - April, 1979, periodical, 1978/1979; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101206/m1/350/: accessed July 25, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.