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Carol Perkins: Christmas in the 1950's

Previous column: Carol Perkins: The things we do for our children

By Carol Perkins

The older I become, the more I seem to remember about the days of my girlhood (is that a word?). Christmas season takes me back to when the world sparkled as if under a magical spell. Even today that same captivating feeling waves across me when I see candles in windows, brightly lit trees in front windows, and wreaths on doors. These images ignite a memory of Christmas in the 50's.

My parents loved Christmas, especially my dad. Wearing his four buckle boots, he tramped through the field behind our house a week before Christmas to find a tree of which my mother would approve.


When we saw him dragging the tree toward the house, we ran to the back door. He stood it up for inspection and if it wasn't just right, he went after another one. He would either put the tree in a bucket filled with rocks or nail together a crisscross wooden stand which had to have a folded piece of newspaper under it for a level. Getting it inside meant sideswiping furniture and door facings.

Colorful large bulbs were wrapped around the cedar and the tinsel placed evenly before the glass ornaments were attached to twigs. Then we stood back and tossed a few packages of icicles. The star or angel at the top finished off the perfect tree. Sweeping (or picking up) the cedar that fell as the tree came through the door was a chore, but the smell left behind was the essence of Christmas.

No one bought a wreath back then; we made one out of the remains left over from shaping the tree (or from the one we didn't use). Many times, I have made a circle from a loosened coat hanger and wrapped branches of cedar around and around the wire (no glue gun!) to make a wreath only for it to droop on the nail on the front door.

As Christmas cards arrived, I taped them around the frame of the large opening between the kitchen and living room. I still do something similar today at my own house (although the sending of cards has almost become obsolete).

My dad always came home with a big box of oranges and bananas at Christmas. Also, a bag of hard candy. When I was old enough, I made batches of the old time chocolate fudge. My brother wouldn't wait for it to "set" so he dipped it out of the pan with a spoon. (I'm going to make him a batch this year.)

That was the week of Christmas in the 50's as we waited for Santa.


Copies of Edmonton (1940-2018) available on Amazon and many places in Edmonton, plus the Lighthouse in Sulphur Well.


This story was posted on 2018-12-02 07:08:30
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