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Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Then and Now

In 1759 my first cousin 7xremoved Andrew Peters perished 2 days before Christmas in the cold of a Hebron, Tolland, Connecticut winter.  In the very early 1900's my Grandfather Peters was given a piece of wood, some nails and the loan of his father’s hammer as a Christmas gift.  He spent the day banging nails.  Somewhere around 1930 my mother, Helen Marie Peters, scooted out of bed on Christmas morning with her sister.  They ran downstairs and gathered up their three gifts each and raced back to bed.  There was no heat in the house.  In the early 50's I would open my door on Christmas morning to a long brown stocking hanging on my doorknob.  It held a small ornament, an orange and some candy.  Under the tree were the gifts Santa had left for me and I could have those before breakfast.  Everything else had to wait until my Peters grandparents arrived from Aurora, Ontario.  In the late '70's our daughter would race into our bedroom with her sock and pile into bed with us to open it.  It was crammed full of little toys and treats.  Santa’s gifts were under the tree and she could have those before breakfast.  Everything else had to wait until my parents arrived from Sharon, Ontario.  Now in the year 2010, our grandchildren will awake to a sock full of goodies and piles of presents from Santa.  They can have those before breakfast.  Everything else has to wait until we arrive from across town.  From being glad you lived through the winter, to nothing very much for Christmas, to a family who scrimped and saved all year long so their children could have three gifts each on Christmas morning in a cold house, to an unbelievable abundance of merchandise all spread out for the benefit of children who have access to healthy food, medical care, warmth and love.  I wonder who was/is most grateful for their Christmas. 

16 comments:

  1. It's hard to say which generation would be more grateful for Christmas, i would imagine the newest generation would be more grateful for the easier lifestyle with all the accompanying benefits, but are they old enough yet to realise just how good they have it compared to the much earlier time? and of course the earlier generation would be equally grateful for Christmas, not knowing just how much better off the future generations will be. And isn't that how it should be? Don't we all wish a better future for our children than we had ourselves?

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    1. Actually, considering the way the world is going right now and the way a lot of people have to live, I would be tickled to think that my grand children's future would be as good as mine.

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  2. We had a small stocking and a few presents under the tree. Which had to wait until AFTER breakfast. I hope everyone is grateful for Christmas. But know that many are not. And feel for those who face a bleak time at the 'happiest time of year'.

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    1. It's only 'the happiest time of year' for a select few sadly.

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  3. My mom and dad were quite cold and distant but come Christmas they piled the presents under the tree. Too bad they never gave me the one I really wanted....a hug.

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    1. Now THAT is a sad memory. I hope in the years since you have had many many hugs.

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  4. I believed that my Christmas mornings were the best in the world, when I was little.
    My children have told me that they had the best Christmas mornings when they were growing up,
    Now...I hear the same from my grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
    I believe you just have to be of the moment, as a child, to feel the magic of Christmas and remember it as the best in the world 🎄

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  5. I think children remember the attitude and atmosphere more than anything, and those favorite gifts, too.

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  6. Christmas morning without children is just another morning...almost. Great post, and I think the kids today get too much stuff, not their fault.

    Excellent post on several levels.

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    1. Yes they do and I've been as guilty as any in that respect.

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  7. Before living in the south, I lived in Connecticut for 20 years. I spent many Christmas Eves there watching my step-daughter's children bask in the glow of the excitement of Christmas and Santa Claus coming. I loved your post and it is difficult to say who had the better of the Christmas joy. I was always allowed to open one small gift on Christmas Eve each year and that was treasured.

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  8. My kids received more presents than I did and my grandchildren get even more. However, what I remember most were my children going downstairs and bringing up their stockings to my bed and us all having a marvelous time together emptying them out and laughing together. My grandchildren do the same thing. As Joanne said, it is not the gifts that are given, but the attitude and atmosphere of the day that we remember.

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    1. Dear Delores, check out the Christmas picture on my blog. There is something in it that you might recognize.

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  9. I never had kids, but I was at someone’s house once when their little girl opened her presents. At first, she was excited, but as present after present after present was handed to her, she started to cry. I could only guess that her initial joy had been drowned in the abundance of gifts. It was as if she had received a toy store for Xmas, the idea of her parents and grandparents apparently being that, if a lot is good, then a whole whole lot must be better.

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  10. Oh the excitement of Christmas and each family with their own traditions ... always special.

    Great post, and I especially liked Jan/JFM comment

    All the best Jan

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