1928 - Alderson High School - 1968


Herman King 12-09

It's good to see Christmas displays in the department stores again, though they are less spectacular than those of yore. The cashiers have been told it's okay to wish their customers "Merry Christmas" instead of "Happy Holidays." The war against Christmas was diminishing sales. Some people, mostly of the leftwing persuasion, deny there is a war against Christmas. Makes you wonder where they have been hibernating the past few years.

Some say the negativity about Christmas is Jewish. But I'd like to point out that the quintessential Christmas classic "White Christmas" was written by the great Jewish songwriter Irving Berlin. Berlin was supposedly furious when Elvis Presley recorded it. He didn't like his songs jazzed up. Berlin said he hade made enough money from Bing Crosby's version. (In later years, Berlin donated royalties from his songs to the Boy Scouts and Girl scouts of America. Irving Berlin had a great heart. He was a great songwriter and a great American.

Most sources say Christmas was first practiced officially in 1510 in Latvia, a small Baltic nation. Martin Luther is said to have introduced the Christmas tree as an indoor celebration. He wanted Christmas to commemorate the birth of Christ rather than just gift-giving aka St. Nicholas. Legend has it the first Christmas tree in America was brought to Williamsburg by a German immigrant. Perhaps that is why the Williamsburg Christmas Parade never succumbed to the generic Holiday Parade. Celebrating the winter solstice pre-dates Christianity. So it's not just a religious thing, despite Martin Luther.

I enjoyed Christmas even during the great depression. My mother saw to that. I don't know how she managed it but our stockings were always full of hard candies, a few nuts and a little fruit (usually an orange and apple) plus some small gift. Any large gifts mom could afford were placed under the tree, which was usually a cedar cut from the forest.

Children can easily blend reality and fantasy. I believed in Santa Claus and would stay awake as long as I could to get a glimpse of him. At the same time I knew it was our mother who put gifts and goodies in our stockings. I repeat: I don't know how she managed it, for times were tough. But she always made our Christmases merry.  Thanks mom.