Christmas Past and Holidays Present

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I have had many thoughts this Christmas season of holiday’s past, meaning Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year and my reflections upon my childhood and the great change of how people celebrate today compared to years gone by…

Christmas as it once was in this country was not the financial holiday it has developed into of late. Maybe it’s my age now that leads me to these reflections and stirs my emotions that causes this article…

As a boy growing up in and around Denver Colorado; the then small cow town, noted mostly for the National Western Stock Show and Rodeo, life seemed so easy and simple. School began after Labor Day, and Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year were major holidays.

Spring break lasted one full week and it always included Easter week. Halloween was for the kid’s not adult drinking parties an excuse to get drunk. High school football season workouts started in mid August unless you were working at harvesting hay…

That would require a note from your parents or employer if you were working the harvest for others. Those who worked at harvesting still had to begin football before the Labor Day Holiday. School ended in late May and graduation was always in the first week of June.

There was never a snow day, meaning if it snowed school was canceled because of weather; the school buses made their rounds come, snow, rain, wind or hail, to pick up the students who would stand at the bus stop in the weather waiting. The one time mail slogan.

Those of us who had cars drove to school on snow laden roads or ice. We never had driver training as a class but were taught by our parents or driving a tractor.. If we had an accident we paid for it not our parents. I know because I went through two cars before I graduated from high school.

Christmas in and around Denver was a beautiful experience and people from far away came to see Christmas in the mile high city. The city capitol had such wonderful decorations for Christmas. There was always the full sized nativity scene with human sized manikins and animals.

The good old Saint Nick, (Santa Clause) and his rain deer were larger than life and the lighting just took ones breath away it was so beautiful. The Christmas music would fill the night air with peaceful joy.

Then soon thousands of people would come and dedicate this one night just to celebrate Christmas in down town Denver. They were listening and looking at this wonderful display and enjoying Denver’s version of joy to the world.

It would sometimes snow during the holidays but it always got cold around the Stock Show week which was usually the third week in January. White Christmas’s in the Rockies were among the most beautiful to be found anywhere.

Many little towns in the foot hills would shine with lights while skiers and tourists would flock to the mountains during the Holiday seasons. Homes in and around Denver put up Christmas lights and decorations and people would drive around various neighborhoods just to see this wonderful skeptical every season.

When it would snow in early December after most of the Christmas lighting was up, then on the warmer days after the cold snow, ice sickles would form from the melting snow and hang from gutters on the homes. Theses sickles would sparkle with the colors of the lighting and make the lighting even more breathe taking.

I remember several White Christmas’s in Denver when it snowed on Christmas Eve. After the holidays were over it became a tradition for everyone to leave their lighting and outside decorations up until the Stock Show and Rodeo was over.

Down town in and around the City capitol and the neighboring Colorado State capitol there were venders selling hot tamales, hot chocolate, or various sandwiches, hot of course.

Denver University had their Business School near the Denver City Hall and Emilie Griffith Opportunity School was in the north side of the same building.

Students from both schools would gather outside and buy their evening dinner. The schools would close for the Christmas Holiday and some of them would also sell eats during this special week.

I remember my folks driving around the city looking at the lights and we would always stop, park, and walk around to see up close the decorations at city hall. Mom would always bring her camera and take pictures.

The Christmas was so enjoyable then. This new age seems to believe Christmas is receiving presents, gifts, eating, and drinking alcohol.

The basic unit of our nation was the family but now its single people trying to hide their loneliness with sex, alcohol, and drugs of course I-phones. Sad commentary for a day for family, loved ones, and worshiping Christ, has been replaced with chronic addictions and greed…The older I get the more I miss the Holiday Season of yesterday’s happiness and joy.

Now these wonderful days are past and replaced with political correct holiday decorations. Christmas songs are not for Christmas songs but are winter seasonal songs.

Even Santa is gone in some areas and people who once loved this Christmas seasons are disappearing from the path of life and being replaced with Black Fridays or gray weekends.

People fighting for special sales events and even hurting others physically just for greed’s sake. No love of the season, no nativity scenes, and no joy to the world, it’s gone and we have quit celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ.

Happy Holidays Folks to those who desire a political correct holiday greetings and to those who still love Christmas, as my house hold does, We wish each of you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Robert D. Ashford was a Marine during the cold war and is now retired, after 50 years of construction management. He is a keen genealogist and loves humor. He watches the political horizons and likes to write commentary on what’s next.