Season’s Greetings and Merry Christmas. This is a time of good cheer and celebration. We plan for parties and we shop looking for just the right gift. We often spend too much money on people we really don’t even like. I often think of years gone by. A simpler time. A simpler life.
I grew up in the 50’s and I think of the gifts that we received. Many of the toys we received came from a small hardware store called Renegar’s Hardware. If we really wanted to be overwhelmed, we traveled to downtown Winston-Salem to the Sears on 4th Street. It was huge and every year they decorated the balconies on the front of the store with a full size manger scene with camels, wise men, shepherds and angels. They carried everything.
Renegar’s was a small shop located on the south side of Winston-Salem. They carried toys year round but at Christmas you couldn’t find the hardware due to all the toys. They had wagons (Radio Flyers), bikes, sleds, Lincoln Logs, dolls, toy soldiers, baseball bats and all kinds of balls. The only electronics you might find were compact am radios. We didn’t have ipods, ipads color tv, or smart phones. My friends and I would spend hours there just looking.
Another big treat would be about a week before Christmas. Our church would have a Christmas program. After all the singing we would adjourn to the church basement for a visit from Santa. After talking to Santa or even if you were too big to sit on Santa’s lap each child received a small paper bag that contained an apple, a couple of oranges, a handful of mixed nuts and some hard Christmas candy. We were thankful for the things we received.
Today’s kids would be offended if they didn’t receive what they asked for. A six year old doesn’t need an ipad or a cell phone no matter how badly they want one. They need to build their imagination and their ability to read.
I encourage you to give your kids things they need not necessarily the things they want. Teach them to be thankful for the things they do get and spend time helping others. While you are at it reach out and help someone else have a more enjoyable Christmas. If it is within your means, buy gifts for someone less fortunate or donate a meal. Let’s go back to a simpler time and celebrate the spirit of giving – the spirit of Christmas. It’s not how much you spend, it’s what you are willing to give.
Merry Christmas to you and yours.
***John E. Stack is the author of Cody’s Almost Trip to the Zoo, Olivia’s Sweet Adventure, and Cody’s Rescue Adventure at the Zoo.