Monday, December 7, 2009

Advent Calendar - December 7- Holiday Parties

When I was growing up we had Christmas parties at both school and at Church.

At school we would draw names about 3 weeks before the beginning of the Christmas break, usually boys getting boy names and girls getting a girls name. I remember we were limited as to how much money we could spend on a gift. This was the early ‘60’s, so probably $3 or $4 per gift. Then the last day of school before the break, we would usually have the whole afternoon for our party.

Gifts would have been placed under the classroom’s Christmas tree that morning. The teacher would pick up each gift and call out the recipient’s name. I can remember how excited we would be as we awaited our name to be called. But I think just as much excitement was garnered as we awaited the receiver of the gift we had brought to school! Each of us wanted to give the recipient the perfect gift! I don’t think I was ever disappointed, either way!

Following the opening of the gifts there would be refreshments. Usually someone’s mother baked cupcakes, with decorations. Another would have baked cookies. Another made fudge, etc. Someone else would have brought punch, [sodas weren’t used that often back then.]

School and Church parties were usually a little more elaborate, requiring one to “dress up”. I can remember wearing velvet dresses for the Sunday School party one year. Sometimes specially coiffed hair was in order! [Yep… I wore my share of beehive hairdos!] When I was very young, boys and girls shared the same Sunday School classes, but by the time I was about 10 they had separate classes, so my most vivid memories are of parties with just girls.

Church parties may have consisted of having a dinner first, then exchanging gifts, and then having a dessert, while Sunday School parties were usually just refreshments and did not include a meal.

There were a few parties where games were played, but during the Christmas season they weren’t usually played as often.

There were a few times when Mama hosted a Christmas party at our home. Usually just for the adults, and we girls were sent either to our rooms during the party, or to the den to watch television. However, I can vividly recall one time when while Mama was hosting her own party in the parlor with adults, my sister and I hosted ours in the den with girls our age. It was certainly the social event for us!

Today I don’t hostess many parties, much less Christmas events. We usually have a family get-together at my sister’s house, because that is where my parents live, on Christmas Day. Christmas Eve is spent quietly at home, just my dear hubby and I. And I truly relish the quiet Christmas’ we now have.

I suppose I have out-grown my need, or desire, to attend many parties or functions. However, I do so relish the memories of parties past. Sometimes, as I sit and recall them, I tend to think I must feel much like Scrooge in Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”, as the Ghost of Christmas Past takes him to visit the Christmas party he attended with old Fezziwig. “Twas a grand time…”, he said, “..a grand time, indeed!”

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