This blog is about the story of my family here in America. We arrived in the 1630s as Puritans, and became the common folk of the New World.

Christmas in Minneapolis, Minnesota in the 1960s and 1970s

Christmastime at our house in Minneapolis, Minnesota in the 1960s and 1970s started with getting a Christmas tree. It was always a real one, from a lot somewhere nearby. It strikes me now that it was a lot of work for my dad, and he always told me that I could help by staying out of the way. I seem to recall that I did help water the tree.

The presents were all crowded around the base of the tree. Each tag told who it was from, and who it was for. There were always a few silly ones, like a jar of green olives (which I still love) that said that they were from Santa, but the real gifts from Santa were very impressive, and weren't under the tree.

Opening presents was done on Christmas Eve. We would eat supper off of paper plates, so that mom wouldn't have to wash the dishes, which would delay things. I guess we never thought of helping mom wash the dishes! Sometimes we would have a fire in the fireplace, and cook hot dogs.

After the meal, someone was selected to go get the presents from under the tree and distribute them. Sometimes my maternal grandmother and her 2nd husband would be with us. My paternal grandparents I hardly knew at all. The grownups would sit in the chairs and the kids would sit on the floor. Everyone opened their gifts at the same time, and we were careful to throw away the wrapping right away. We exchanged gifts with our cousins, and since we didn't keep in touch very much, I remember that many times the toys were too childish - they didn't know how old we were. I really didn't mind, I liked the toys.

Santa would deliver the big gifts on Christmas morning. They were always set in the middle of the living room, unwrapped. That helped get the kids to bed, as Santa couldn't possibly arrive if we were still awake, and gave the kids, who woke up early, something to do while the grownups drank coffee.

I have fond memories of Christmas.

By the way, that's me in all three photos, the baby without much hair in the top photo, the nerdy kid with messy hair reading a book, and all grown up, with more hair than I knew what to do with.
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