Many years ago my Aunt Katherine, my dad's sister, wrote down her family Christmas memories from the 1920s and 1930s. I would like to share an excerpt from her writings and a glimpse of a Luehrman Family Christmas long ago when my father was a child.
Now for the family Christmas celebration! Santa Claus always brought our Christmas tree after we were in bed on Christmas Eve. Since we had no electricity, candles on holders helped decorate the tree. Several evenings after Christmas we were allowed to light the candles very cautiously while Mom and Dad stood ready to put out a fire or even carry the tree out of doors if necessary. The "stars" on that tree were brighter to our childish eyes than any electric lights could ever be. The tree always stood on the sewing machine in the dining room. The dining room and the kitchen were the only rooms ever heated in the winter unless we had lots of company. The dining room table was always set up with a plate for each member of the family. On this plate, Santa always put candy and an orange or two. We kids made a game of seeing who could make his Christmas candy last the longest, so we ate it very sparingly. We'd probably not have candy again until next Christmas.
Our Christmas gifts would be placed next to our plates. Sometimes there was something too large for the table such as a little red wagon which had to be shared by the three of us. I remember getting doll furniture, roller skates (a real treat after we had seen some "town kids" skate at Grandma's house.) Usually there were clothes also...gloves, sweaters, caps, etc. One year we received a ping-pong set but no table so we played on our knees on the floor. Dad often played with us.
The most exciting Christmas of all was the year that Santa Claus brought us a new Kimball piano. I never did figure out how Santa ever managed to get it into the living room by himself. What a thrill it was for me to begin to play this wonderful musical instrument.
We always had Christmas dinner at Grandma's and Aunt Emma went all out to have a sumptuous meal. One year Aunt Emma dressed up and played Santa for all the kids. I was old enough to be wise to it, but how well I remember the excitement that it created for the "little ones".
We always had to gather around the piano and sing Christmas carols sometime during the afternoon. How proud Grandma was of her family!
Christmas evening supper around the table was filled with the love of family and the Christmas spirit within our hearts. We thanked God for the blessed event of the first Christmas as Dad read again to us the Christmas story from the Bible.
Written by Katherine Luehrman Dryer
*The picture is from an antique picture postcard from the early 1900s.
Do you have precious memories of family Christmas celebrations?
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