Christmas on the farm in the 1930s
by Ruth Baker
Dec 25, 2011 | 1829 views | 0 0 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Ruth Baker
Ruth Baker
One of the most exciting days of the year was Christmas. It is true that the pressures were not as severe. The expectations were limited. Times were hard, money was scarce, and toys were just about unheard of. The day centered around the loaded table at what we called dinner – the midday meal. Our smokehouse was full of cured meats hanging in sacks ready to be taken down and cooked at choice. There were also plenty of chickens which gave us our loved chicken dressing my mother made for us.

In the wide hallway, were rows and rows of vegetables in storage shelves ready to be taken down and entered to the menu. Mother and daughter had spent the summer gathering and canning for the winter months. Cornmeal was ground from our own stored corn and available for bread anytime. Flour had to be bought for biscuits, and other items like sweet potatoes, irish potatoes,and turnips were stored in an underground pit layered with straw or hay and covered with old quilts. Mother would hand one of us a big pan and send us to the pit to get the desired amount for her cooking.

We had a Christmas tree cut on the farm. The decorations were very slight compared to what we do today. Sometimes we could spray cones if we were lucky, or use them after dropped on the ground. A star was made by cutting out its outline on a torn-up box. If we were lucky, we may have some paper to cut in strips to hang on the tree. The only candy was stick cany and we would not risk putting it on the tree. It sort of had a way of disappearing. It was one of the few treats found in our stocking.

One of the boys was in row to get up around five o’clock and build up the fire in both fireplaces. I remember one year that I went into the back of the house and dragged a baby crib and placed it in front of the fireplace. I was determined to catch Santa once and for all times. My brother, Charles, was fixing up the fire when I awakened and what? Santa had already come and I missed him again. I had a little crack in my faith of a Santa when my mother had come into the house with some packages the days before and I was being a good girl and helping her unload and she laid a package on the bed and it cried. One of the only crying dolls that had entered our house, one of my brothers had gone to work in a coal mines and gave my mother some money to buy us gifts. I remember that I began to get suspicious of a real Santa after that day.

We lived on a 250-acre farm owned by Mr. E.C. Ellison, a lodge friend of my daddy’s. My parents were hard workers. Daddy gave his knowledge of farming to everyone who asked. It was a hard life and demanded hard work from the whole family. My place in the family as baby of 12 children gave me an edge as far as hard work. By the time I became old enough to take a fair share of work, old age had hit and I had it a little easier in the work force.

Can you imagine how many nieces and nephews and their children and on and on are in our lineage?

All my siblings are gone and I remain the head of a huge family. Can you even imagine how many nieces, nephews, and extended families are in my family? In my immediate family, I only have one son and he died much too early.

I have two grandsons and great-grandchildren.

I wanted to keep the story short to take the space to thank you, my readers who have been so gracious to me for these many years. I send my love and wishes for all of you for a safe and happy holiday season for you and your families.