Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Eve, 1934

Ruth and Doris came down Sunday and decorated the house with boughs and trimmed the tree also, with my aid and direction. They enjoyed it and so did I. Then we had dinner and they left in the early evening carrying their box of gifts all wrapped for their tree, and Ruth carrying her dress, nicely pressed and collar attached, in a suit box, not to be opened till Xmas A.M.
Ina Dobson, December 1934

Christmas Eve found Ina pressing new curtains for Shirley’s room, which she had long wanted. She also placed a new rug beside Shirley’s bed -- a belated birthday gift. When Shirley came home – and Ina was sure she would – these new touches would please her much. And even though she needn’t have done this right now, it gave Ina comfort to do this for the absent Shirley.

Ina’s gifts were wrapped except for the rug and blankets for Jack. (Yes, household items were often given as gifts as an economy measure.)  The blankets were too big for any sheet of paper, so she took two sheets, red and holly, and made a bright package with green on one end for good measure. Then she took a large old Christmas card for a tag and pasted it to the end to cover the gap.

Well, to continue and move along, after a late dinner, Ina made donuts for she loved to have fresh donuts for Christmas, and as she said, “do-nuts and coffee never hurt anyone.” That evening after all was cleared away, Jack popped two kettles of lovely popcorn and they sugared one and put taffy over the other. They heaped a large platter with balls till Jack complained, “Oh, that’s enough,” for he wanted some left to eat. Well, Ina sent him off to the living room to eat and read – and how lovely and peaceful it felt – the two of them sharing a quiet Christmas Eve.

Next up, she prepared her dressing and sweet potatoes for the morrow and put her buns to rise. She had baked lite bread and roasted beef, too. At last she repaired to her seat before the fire with a pan of sugared corn, nuts and candy and filled eleven little Christmas boxes.

At last it was time to open the boxes received in the mail. The box from Ethel was tied with green string, which she carefully cut and used to tie the eleven little boxes on the tree. (Ina loved green string for her tree packages, even though she felt foolish to admit it to herself.)  The packages were all so pretty and she had a great time. She hung packages on the tree and put some under it.

When the presents from Ethel were all out of the box, she lifted it from the chair, and there lay a thin square package with a friend’s return address across the corner. It felt like magic to find the unexpected gift. Then Jack remembered noticing the little package stuck under the string on bottom of the box from Ethel when it came from the mail box. Ina was delighted with this surprise gift -- a very nice linen and lace handkerchief.

Next she opened the box from Vance and found two beautiful baskets, which she thought very unusual. She placed one to hold back issues of Collier’s magazine. The other she placed under the east window in the living room to hold a few books and other special magazines. The wrapped gifts from Vance she placed under the tree to be opened during the party Christmas Day.

At last all was in readiness, and at midnight she and Jack retired – much later than usual.


Hallie said...

Did she find it unusual that Vance sent baskets or did she find the baskets themselves unusual?

Kathy said...

She found the baskets unusual. She enjoyed Vance's gifts, though. She said he had an imagination. And he always sent things that contributed to her celebration, such as greenery (holly and Oregon grape) and red candles.

Chris said...

Are the baskets still in existence?

Kathy said...

Hi Chris! I don't know anything about those baskets. I am delighted when I do recognize an item that still sits in the house, but many things were removed. I'm sure the daughters felt free to remove Ina's things after she passed. And then Myrtle burned many things. You know -- they just didn't realize what they had. They didn't value those homely things which tell us so much about the era.