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A Brown Bag Christmas Delight
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Story Winner #11: A Brown Bag Christmas Delight
Growing up in the late 1950s and early 1960s, Christmas was all about tradition, all about family, and all about brotherly love. We shared many a humble meal with a neighbor or friend in need. There was no money for anything resembling the gifts of a modern-day, 21st century Christmas. I was the youngest of five, and everything I owned had already belonged to someone else. We lived in a modest, two-story, block and rock-veneered house that my father built with my older brothers' help, using stone found on our property. With its white-framed windows, small yard, and decorated flowerbeds, it resembled many other houses lining the same narrow section of town.
We were poor by most standards, but we always had food, and I was never hungry. I remember getting perhaps two dresses a year for school. I didn't have many clothes, except those that had belonged to my much older sisters, so the clothes were often too large and quite worn anyway. Since girls always wore dresses to school, I had something they called snow pants which I wore for the first couple of years to stay warm on the coldest days. I also had a coat of some kind, just without the warm accessories of hat, gloves, or scarf.
Even though I knew each of my childhood Christmases would very much resemble the previous year in every way, I always looked forward to the holiday. Every December 1st, the same five-gallon stoneware crock emerged from its storage space in the basement. We filled it with rocks, sand, and the hand-sawed evergreen tree cut from our property. My father always preferred a stout tree to fill the space of the large picture window in the living room. The vibrantly decorated Christmas tree was an extension of family pride. My older brother and I strung popcorn and cranberries. Mother would bring out the box of ornaments. We added red and green lights and silvery tinsel.
Having a Christmas tree was much more important than giving gifts. On a rare occasion, I would receive some small present from my aunties, my father's sisters who both worked in a Baltimore clothing store. Wrapped in delicate, floral tissue paper, those gifts meant a great deal to a little girl who had few possessions. I specifically remember one Christmas when I received three pairs of underwear – and a small pin.
However, the memory I cherish the most is one in which a jovial Santa provided a "treat" to all the young boys and girls who visited him.
Father loaded us all into the 1957 Chevy, and we merrily drove the ten or so miles to the small town of Oakland. We didn't go very many places – mostly just to school and the Baptist church – so to go to Oakland at Christmas to see Santa (and maybe a fire truck, too) was a very big deal.
Low, near-freezing temperatures did not dissuade the hundreds of children lining the street along the local firehouse, seeking the attention of Santa. I patiently waited my turn and endured the rough weather. I could feel my skin growing colder and colder as each moment passed by. I felt nearly frozen to death with my body void of anything to keep my head, ears, and hands warm. I thought, "This year, I'll ask Santa for a woolen scarf, hat, and a pair of gloves."
My turn finally came, and I stood in front of Santa. I smiled politely, even though no chance arose to plead my case for the scarf, hat, and gloves I so desperately desired. I was, however, handed a small, brown paper bag. I smiled again, and said, "Oh, thank you so very much, Santa."
Other children were anxiously opening their bags. However, that little brown bag was likely the only gift I would receive that year, and I wanted to make whatever was inside last as long as possible. Upon returning home, I hurriedly found my way to my bedroom and peeked inside. My brown paper bag contained two popcorn balls, a small package of chocolate drops, an assortment of wrapped, hard-ribbon candy – and best of all – an orange.
I placed each item back into the bag and held onto that little brown bag for several minutes. Then I tucked it under my pillow and joined the rest of my family in the living room.
Those little brown bags of treats brought such joy to thousands of children like me. I asked a friend if Oakland still carries on that tradition. Yes, even now, some 50 years later, the boys and girls still receive candy from Santa as he makes his way around the block.
I will never forget how excited I was when it was my turn to receive that small brown bag of treats from Santa Claus. And most memorable of all - that simple, wonderful orange.
- Shirley Dixon
In this Christmas 1963 photo, Shirley, age 10, cuddled with her cat, Puskins, a large Maine Coon. Her 14-year-old brother, the only other sibling living at home at that time, is pictured with her. In the background is the stout, hand-sawed tree cut from her family's property, decorated with popcorn and cranberries, silvery tinsel, and lights, and situated right in front of the picture window.
About the Author:
Shirley Dixon: I live in a small county in Western Maryland. I have a disability (MS) and have been dependent on a wheelchair since the early 1990s. I have one daughter and two very special and spoiled rotten rescue kitties. I help my daughter run a small business. I enjoy scrapbooking old, vintage pictures of my family. I also enjoy growing exotic plants.
Join the Scrap Girls Monthly Club and you can have fun with the newest traditional digital and printable scrapbooking looks while saving! (A $40.87 value for $9.99 or less!)
The Scrap Girls Club contents are released on the 1st day of the month (or the closest business day to the 1st).
With the Scrap Girls Club, you will receive:
December's Scrap Girls Club designed for you by Melissa Renfro
December's ScrapSimple Club has been created for you by
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The new ScrapSimple Club contents are released on the 15th day of the month (or the closest business day to the 15th).
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Surprise! Surprise! Gifts Galore!
We have TWO designer freebies for you each day until Christmas Eve!
Today's freebie designed by Angie Briggs
Commercial license versions of ScrapSimple Paper Templates: Classic Calligraphy are also available.
Today's freebie designed by Katherine Weaver
* There is a "free download" button on the details page for each gift. You don't need to put them in your shopping cart unless you are shopping for other items. Also note that if you are slow reading your newsletter, you may find this freebie has already been retired, as the freebies are only available as gifts for about two newsletter cycles.
High Noon Crop
Wednesday, December 26th - 12 Noon ET
Join April (April Showers) each Wednesday at 12 Noon ET for the High Noon Crop. All coasts and time zones are welcome! These crops are designed to allow you to work on your own photos and themes, simply giving participants a one hour goal and a fun, new challenge each week.
On December 26th your challenge will be to Use Your Stash! We all have those collections, embellishments and templates we couldn't resist, but we just haven't used them yet. Now is the time!
Create your layout and upload it to the special High Noon Crop Gallery. You'll be amazed what you can get done in just one hour, but there is no High Noon Sheriff timing you! Hope to see you in the chat room!
Speed Scrap Crop
Wednesday, December 26th - 8:00 p.m. ET
It's time for some Speed! Join Shannon (tinkerbell11) at 8 pm et for the Speed Scrap Crop! We'll give you 6 tasks, spread out over an hour. You'll then have an hour to get it finished and posted in the gallery!
December's Forum Game: BINGO!
Join us for an exciting game of December BINGO on the Scrap Girls Forum!! Pick 25 words from the list provided and send them in an email to [email protected] with a subject line that says "BINGO CARD - your Scrap Girls Forum username" by Sunday, December 2nd (Midnight EDT) in order to play in the first round. The first round will begin on Monday, December 3rd. If you miss the first round deadline, you can still play! Just send in your BINGO card at any time during the month, and you'll be eligible to begin playing when the next new round starts.
Each day (Monday through Saturday), a member of the Welcoming Committee will call five random words from the BINGO list. Match just 15 of those words to win a BINGO. You must be first to call "BINGO!" in the game thread to win that round. After a winner is called, the boards will be cleared and a new round will begin the following day.
Each winner will receive a $5 Gift Certificate to the Scrap Girls Boutique! We like to see lots of winners, so please remember that each person can only win one round during the month. Have fun!
For complete details, visit the Monthly Forum Games folder on the Scrap Girls Forum.
December Monthly Layout Contest: December is here and that means Family Time! During the holidays, we spend more time with each of our families... and we'd love for you to share your families with us! Post your layouts in the December Monthly Layout Gallery before Midnight ET on December 31st and you could one of the two people who will win a $10 Gift Certificate to the Scrap Girls Boutique! Please be sure to list your layout's product credits in the description or under the EXIF Properties.
Club Concepts Layout Contest: Post your new layout using the current club selection (either the Scrap Girls Club or the ScrapSimple Club) in our Scrap Girls Club Members Gallery or the ScrapSimple Club Members' Gallery. Be sure to list all of the Scrap Girls products you used. If your layout is chosen, it will be showcased as a Club Concepts layout winner, and you will win a $5 Gift Certificate to the Scrap Girls Boutique!
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