Christmas was always celebrated as a time for family, food, and fun in Wilton and Princess Cheatham’s household. During the years of the Great Depression (1929-1939), even though times were hard, Wilton and Princess made what they did have work for their family.
My maternal grandmother, Ellistine, was the eldest of her six siblings. She remembers that on Christmas morning, she would wake up and have a peppermint stick and either an apple or an orange laying at the foot of her bed. Under the Christmas tree were homemade gifts lovingly sewn by her mother. On Christmas Eve, while her children were sleeping, Princess would decorate the Christmas tree. What a wonderful surprise for her children to wake up to see a beautifully decorated tree with homemade gifts underneath. My grandmother said that she and her siblings would suck on their peppermint sticks all day long!
Even though the Cheatham family did not have much, the cherished time spent together was more important than all the expensive gifts in the world.
It seems like Christmas back then meant more because they had less and all they had was their family. Versus Christmas today, where all we want are gifts and lots of them. Let’s get back to the basics and make Christmas not be about the gifts we get, but the gift of family, love, cherished memories, and serving others.