Friday, December 21, 2018

A Christmas Break

Library of Congress:  American Homestead Winter, 1868, Currier and Ives.

In my childhood days, at Christmas time, school was out for the remainder of the year.  We children were so happy to get to stay home for several days.  We would go sledding in our large hilly yard.  We would make snow-men and snow-houses. We would take walks to the corner store for treats.  The snowy neighborhood would be full of children playing and families walking.  Then we would go indoors to play games and read by the heater.

My mother was home with us, as most mothers were in those days.  She did her usual routine of cooking, cleaning, and just puttering around the house doing projects or visiting on the telephone.  She helped us with our coats, mittens, boots, and hats. She served us hot soup, and grilled cheese sandwiches, to warm us up after being out in the cold air. 

We were always inventing fun things to do around the house and yard.  My mother did not have to entertain us or worry about our being bored. Often, we had just received new clothes, pajamas, and some fun toys for Christmas.  We were delighted to be able to spend days playing with everything.

Our house was all decorated in traditional, humble ways.  There would be a Christmas song book on the piano, opened up to carols we could sing.  We loved those old traditional songs!  This was our favorite thing to do each afternoon. Mom would be in the kitchen, working on the laundry, or sweeping the floor, and she would suddenly hear the sound her children playing the piano in the other room.  I can imagine her smiling face, even now. 

We had art supplies, pencils, paper, and paint.  We would go from one project to another, and then do some chores, cleaning up, and then have our meals at the large kitchen table. The days always went by so quickly and then Dad would be home from work.  This was the time for rest and a winding down of the day.

Our evening routine was always the same, whether we were on Christmas vacation, or enjoying a summer weekend.  Dad would visit with Mother at the kitchen table and have coffee and some treat.  Then mother would get our supper started, while Dad rested in the recliner.  We would go from room to room talking to Mom or Dad or just playing throughout the house until we got that wonderful call from the kitchen saying that "supper is ready!"

On these winter nights, after we children helped clean the kitchen, Dad would start a fire in the fireplace.  We would watch a television program with our parents and enjoy a quiet evening with the family. 

These special times during the Christmas season are common in many families throughout history.  This winter break at home is just like how it ought to be all year round. It is a happy, peaceful time. It is a time of resting from materialism and consumerism.  It is a time to be with family and to have a happy home.

 How wonderful it would be if we could continue this with the coming generation of children and grandchildren - showing them, by the way we live, how precious it is to create a haven of rest for the family in an old fashioned home.

Merry Christmas from the White House!

Mrs. White

From the Archives -

It means Everything to be - Just a Housewife.

The Comfort of Home - The Light in the Window.

In Financial Trials We Need - Mothers With Christmas Courage.

Mrs. White's special book for homemakers:"Introduction to Home Economics:  Gentle Instruction to Find Joy in Christian Homemaking." Paperback, 200 pages. 

An Invitation - Subscribe to The Legacy of Home and have it delivered directly to your email. 


Billie Jo said...

Merry Christmas!
You described winter break at my house as well.
It brought so many beautiful memories back from the depths of my heart.
My daddy was home a few minutes after five, and dinner was five thirty sharp every evening.
I remember even now the feeling of contentment and peace as we all gathered in my mom's yellow kitchen.
Thank you for being a voice for those of us committed to maintaining the beauty of home and family.

LeighSabey said...

What a beautiful description of a typical winter day at home. There is usually not a need to drive all over town to entertain the kids, and as a mom, what I really want to do is just putter around the house, cooking and baking and tidying up and adding nice little touches. Thank you for the reminder that even days like this will make happy memories for the kids.

Tammy said...

Pretty much my life growing up in SE Ga, except for the piano/singing. Granny would have music on her kitchen radio, though. After the 'mortuary', of course :D

Today, I'm back at work from 11a-4pm, as DH is suffering effects from stage 5 kidney disease and often misses work. My dear MIL keeps our son at our house, quite a drive for her each day, but she is good, so very good, to us in many ways. It provides a calm, stable environment for him (he has selective mutism, and we homeschool when I get off work). So the tradition continues, in a slightly more modern way. :)

Merry Christmas, Mrs. White, to you and your family!

Nicole in MD said...

Merry Christmas, Mrs. White,

You have described my and my children's holidays. I love family and spending time together. Thank you for your wonderful blog and the inspiration you provide year round.

Laura Lane said...

Wonderful memories. They bring back some of my own and some with my children.
Happy Christmas time.
Mrs. Laura Lane

Sharon said...

Your vivid description, Mrs. White, is spot on. I remember when, throughout the whole year, *nothing* was open Sundays. It was dedicated to family time and fellowship, two church services and inviting a couple with their children over for a meal. Yes, if would be wonderful to keep these values with the coming generations. Unfortunately, many would feel inconvenienced by most of them.
Merry Christmas to you, and all of your readers!
And Tammy, prayers will be said for your husband's health and MIL's strength and desire to continue to help you out. Hope the new year has better intentions. Merry Christmas to you!

Mary Sorensen said...

What a wonderful childhood you had - such great memories. Your posts always read like a book and I feel like I'm off in a corner watching it all. Merry Christmas Mrs. White. : )

Tiffany said...

This sounds like my childhood, as well. Such happy times. Thank you for bringing back those old memories. Merry Christmas!

Mrs. White said...

Billie Jo, I loved reading the memories of your childhood!

Leigh, yes, days when we get to stay home can make wonderful memories!

Tammy, I hope your husband is doing okay. It is so good that your mother-in-law is there to help!

Nicole, it is so good to hear you and your children have had a similar childhood!

Laura, those sweet childhood memories are such a blessing!

Sharon, you are right. The culture was more family centered.

Mary, thank you so much!

Tiffany, so good to hear you had a similar childhood as well. Those sweet memories, are such a blessing to remember.

God bless!

Mary Rothfus said...

Thank you for the gift of your blog all these years. Prayers for you and your family to have a blessed and merry Christmas.

CountryGirl said...

Amen to prayers for Tammy and her family.

CountryGirl said...

Thank you for such a vivid glimpse into a beautiful Christmas Holiday. I dont remember Christmas breaks in particular, however I know I wish my children's Christmases could be so simple and carefree. We are so burdened with sin, as a people, we are unable to freely enjoy Christmas, vacations, and all that with joy. My prayer is that the love of Christ would set our hearts free this Christmas.

Deborah Montgomery said...

What a lovely description of a peaceful, home-oriented Christmas. I was just reading an article about the extreme addiction children are experiencing to video games. This is just tearing family time apart. I pray for parents these days that they would have the backbone to hold the line and let their children experience a quiet, imaginative, and play-filled childhood. xo Deborah

Mary Belle said...

what are some humble ways to decorate for christmas? What did your mother do to decorate in detail, please? The reason I ask is, I would like to have ideas for next years' Christmas time. Thank you and thank you for your posts. Sincerely, Mary Belle

Mrs. White said...

Mary, thank you! I hope you had a lovely Christmas. I am grateful for your prayers.

CountryGirl, You are right. Your prayer is so important.

Deborah, It is troubling the types of things that children are interested in these day. Yes, may the parents stand strong in helping their children have a peaceful, quiet, play-filled childhood.

Mary Belle, As I am remembering, we didn't have any lights on the outside of the house. I don't think anyone did in our neighborhood in those days. There were no outdoor decorations. There may have been a simple wreath on the door. We had a tree, which was placed in the living room window so that neighbors could see it and enjoy the sight. Most of the community, as we would drive by, or walk by, would just have a simple tree in the window. As for indoors, Mom would set up a little, pretty candle, near the lamp. Then we would have 8 track tapes of Christmas music set out in the living room. We children were allowed to play these whenever we wanted. That was all, just a few humble things to decorate for Christmas.