In the fifties Christmas was a very important event in our lives. Christmas was the holiday that kids looked forward to all year long.  Back then, most kids believed Santa did check his list to see if they had been naughty or nice!  Of course, our behavior was beyond reproach as Christmas drew nearer.

Remember helping your moms bake Christmas cookies?  As we listened to Christmas songs on the radio, we spent hours decorating those cookies.  When we were finished, we just knew they were the most beautiful masterpieces ever  created!  Many can still have memories of our moms in the kitchen with their Christmas aprons on.

 

How many of you remember going with your parents to pick out the Christmas tree?   We spent a long time picking out the perfect tree and then drove home with the tree on top of our parents' cars.  With many families, singing Christmas carols at the top of their lungs as they drove home with the tree became an annual tradition.

Decorating our Christmas tree was a family tradition back in the 50's. Most of our Christmas Trees were decorated with Shiny Brite glass ornaments.  They were relatively inexpensive ornaments and affordable for most families. Plastic ornaments became very popular during the 50s.  Many families preferred plastic ornaments as they were very cheap and of course more durable than the glass ornaments.  And don't forget the tinsel we so carefully placed on our trees. However, the star was the all important ornament on our trees!  Once the star was placed on the top of the tree and the lights were turned on, many familes gathered around the tree and sang Christmas carols together.  In 1946, Noma began selling bubble lights which became the most popular lights Noma had ever sold.  As kids, many of us would sit for hours and admire those bubble lights on our trees. And how could we forget when the aluminum Christmas trees with rotating color wheels became the rage in 1959?  And, remember using flashlights to find our way to the fuse box to replace yet another blown fuse?

Some families decorated their trees with homemade ornaments.  Kids would string popcorn or cranberries on long strings to drape around the trees.  At school we made homemade decorations to take home and put on our trees.  How many of you remember making paper snow flakes that we thought were absolutely beautiful?  And of course, there were the garlands we made out of colored construction paper and placed on our trees.  But, the most remembered gifts are the ones we made for our parents at school!  We worked really hard on those presents and could hardly wait for them to be opened.

Remember how we would sit down on the floor with our Christmas stockings that Santa had filled?  Our stockings were generally filled with an apple, an orange, a banana and various kinds of nuts.  Sometimes our stockings even contained a candy cane and other small treasures.  And yes, believe it or not, some kids really were worried their stocking may have nothing but a lump of coal in it.

Think back to Christmas time in the 50s.  Do you remember participating in church and school plays? It was with great expectations we hoped to be chosen as Mary or Joseph in our church's Christmas Pagent.  But even if we were chosen to be Wisemen or Shepherds, we remained enthusiastic. Our parents proudly set in the audience with their Brownie Hawkeye cameras snapping pictures of us. Those school and church plays were a family event that the entire family looked forward to. 

 

How many of you remember going from house to house singing Christmas carols outside on the porches?  Often times, our church and school music directors would take us to homes of elderly shut-ins.  We brought smiles to their withered faces as we sang the carols together.  They didn't  care if we were off tune or forgot the lyrics because we had brought some much needed Christmas cheer into their lives!

 

  

The Night Before Christmas was written by Clement Moore on Christmas Eve in 1822.  It was first published in 1823 and continues to remain an all time favorite Christmas poem.  In many families it was a tradition for our dads or grandfathers to read that book to all the kids in the family before they went to bed.  Before most us went to bed, we left cookies and milk for Santa to enjoy  before he went up the chimney to take off for the next house.  Some kids left Santa letters telling him how good they had been and what they wanted for Christmas.

 

When our parents finally were able to get us off to bed, we often tried to stay awake to hear Santa and his reindeer on our roofs.  From pure exhaustion,  we fell fast asleep dreaming of all the things on our Christmas lists.  How we hoped Santa would bring us just one of our most wanted toys.

 


And for those of us kids who lived in Nebraska there was only one thing left that made our Christmas absolutely perfect - snow!  If only it would snow, we could build snowmen and snow forts, have snow ball fights with our friends and even go sledding!  How many of you remember going to bed on Christmas Eve and praying for snow?  Was there anything more beautiful than fresh fallen snow on our trees and houses?

Oh, the Christmas memories we carry in our hearts!  They are cherished memories that can never be taken away from us!  Weren't the fifties a fabulous time to celebrate Christmas?

 

 

 

 

 

Page Created: 10/16/07