Christmas was a moment of heaven on Earth every year in our house. My father, my brother, and I would arm ourselves with an ax and head out for the woods to find the best Cedar Tree for our Christmas tree. It always smelled good in our living room.
The coal and wood stove sat on the east side of our living room. The Christmas tree sat on the other side directly across from the stove in front of our picture window. After we decorated the tree, it glowed in full bloom full of icicles, Christmas balls, and colored lights.
Together they made for a heavenly glow in quiet times late at night when we would just sit to look at it and hear, “Glory be to God in the highest. Peace on Earth, Good will to all people everywhere. Whenever we drove home from being out, we could always see our beautiful tree in the front window.
My family was one of farmers, preachers, and teachers. Our primary cash crop was tobacco. Tobacco seemed to be a year round event. We were always working our tobacco except during the holiday from Thanksgiving to Christmas. We always managed to sell our tobacco on the market weeks before Christmas.
Christmas was a time for family to be home for a few uninterrupted weeks. We were together to enjoy each other and have fun. Dad would rest for a change. Mom would make special dishes and lots of sweets.
I remember my brother and I getting toy cap pistols and cowboy outfits. Our sisters got their favorite dolls and all that went with them. We all got games and balls to share. The highlight gift of my childhood was the Christmas I got my first train.
Christmas was not a religious event for our family. We did not celebrate it as the time of the birth of Jesus. Christmas was for us a secular event that was deeply spiritual for us in nature and atmosphere.
The calm, quiet, still peace of Christmas Eve yet lives on in me with its many accompanying smells of the holiday. Even the one Christmas, we didn’t think we were going to get any presents; the glow of the stove heating our living room along with the lights of our beautiful Christmas tree gave our home a holy glow.
When my brother, our sisters, and I would get up on Christmas morning, there would be so many gifts under the tree; it was difficult to get close to it. Our Granny Gwen would have come during the night. She was our real Santa Claus. When came, she brought more gifts than a sleigh could hold.
Crawfords and Christmas in the country in the house at the end of the gravel road behind the woods was our family’s perfect moment every year. Those moments will have life forever in the generations to come. Clyde and Betty Crawford and Granny Gwen were the great Santa Claus ever.
Have a very Merry Christmas everybody. Glory be to God in the highest! Peace on Earth! Good will to all people everywhere!