Nowadays everyone has Christmas decorations up right after Thanksgiving. When I was a child, the practice in our house was different. We never had any decorations before Christmas morning. On Christmas Eve we hung stockings on the mantle and put out cookies and milk for Santa. We were delighted on Christmas morning to find that Santa had drunk the milk, left some cookie crumbs and a footprint in the ashes on the hearth. He had also left a decorated Christmas tree in the Sun Porch complete with our Lionel train under the tree and lots of presents.. We later learned that Santa did not put those things there, our parents did. Mother and Dad and Dad's brother Bub and his wife Hazel put up the tree and the train along with our presents after we had gone to bed on Christmas Eve.
Christmas was a big thing with my parents, especially my Mother. She loved the season and did her best to make sure we had a memorable Christmas even though it was in the middle of the depression and resources were scarce.
Several Christmas gifts remain in my memory. In the early 1940's my brother Roger was thrilled when on Christmas morning a little puppy came running into the room as we sat by the tree opening our presents. The puppy was named Butch and Butch remained with us for many years. A year or so later,I got a 20 gauge shotgun at Christmas. That was a total surprise, I never thought my parents would give me a gun. They knew I wanted one because I had often tagged along with my Uncle Earl when he was hunting in the nearby woods. On another Christmas my Uncle Charlie gave me a complex balsa model kit of the steamship Queen Mary. It was beyond my skill level but I thought it was a great gift. I wish I had it now so I could assemble it,