I remember driving to school in a horse drawn van (like a covered box on runners) through so many feet of snow we used to upset many times on the way. Since the van had a small stove that burned kindling wood, sparks would be flying, lunchboxes thrown around, and through it all the team of horses stood patiently waiting till it was righted again.
We used to walk down the hill from our one room country school to a cold hall to do our final rehearsals for our Christmas concert. Concert night the hall would warm up eventually from the wood fired stove at the back, but it was usually about the time everyone was ready to go home. Our concerts consisted of choruses of Christmas carols, a nativity pageant, a few comedy skits and recitations, and of course the Drill. The Drill was a choreographed pattern of movements followed by boys in black pants and white shirts and girls in crepe paper dresses who carried silver-star wands. I still shiver thinking of waiting in the wings in that cold drafty hall wearing a flimsy crepe paper dress.
Of course, the concert ended with gifts, bags of candy (the hardtack and ribbon candy were always eaten after the gums and creams were picked out) and of course the visit from Santa whose progress was reported regularly by the MC for the night.
My family always opened our gifts on Christmas Eve. Christmas Day we had another horse-and -van ride to visit family for a big Christmas dinner and, of course, more gifts. Everyone took turns and the roster had to be rotated carefully so no one had hurt feelings. Whoever had Christmas dinner this year would have New Year’s dinner next year or perhaps Boxing Day dinner. We did a lot of eating at Christmas. Some things never change.
I hope everyone is spending at least part of the holidays with family. As the years go on, a lot of the old guard has disappeared from my family group, but there is always the joy of new additions, whether though birth or marriage, or just assimilation. Now comes the scary part- I’ve become the “Old Guard” in my family.
The picture at the top is the younger generation- grandson Josh is lifting his brother Jackson to top the tree.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!