Happy Kids on Christmas Morning

December 18th, 2012

It’s easy, as an adult, to get bogged down in the un-fun, stressful aspects of Christmas. The mall becomes a madhouse that empties your wallet. Meals have to be planned and cookies baked. The house has to be decorated, inside and out, cards must be sent, and presents need to be wrapped. And that’s not to mention all the tension and drama that can arise when family members come together. But most of us, if we dig deep enough into our photo albums, can find evidence of a time when Christmas was just awesome.

Do you remember how it felt, as a kid, when you woke up in the middle of the night, wondering when it would be okay to rouse Mom and Dad to see what Santa put under the tree? My little brother used to get us all up before dawn, until my parents told us we had to wait until 5 a.m. I’d go in his room around 4:30 a.m., and find him wide awake, bouncing in anticipation. We’d sit on his bed and watch the clock, and talk about the size and shape of packages under the tree that we’d examined and shaken and committed to memory. We’d talk strategy: who’d wake Mom, who’d wake Dad. At 4:58, we’d run to our parents’ room and jump on them. Finally, we’d drag them out to the glory of the tree, already lit up, our one big toy each set up and ready for play.

“My husband and I discovered we both saw the same Santa, when I was 4 and he was 5 in the ’40s.”

Like me, many of our community members at Show & Tell can remember that magnificent moment when they first saw their new bike or doll or teddy bear—and they have the family Christmas photos to prove it. Or, to put a fancypants name on it, they shared their vernacular photography. If you’re feeling low on Christmas cheer, check out these snapshots, like the picture of marcobabe13 (above), holding her new doll in 1952.

Click through the slideshow below, and I promise you’ll be feeling jolly in no time flat.

Slideshow: Christmases Past

tree_bike

Packrat-place is overjoyed to discover a bicycle under the tree in 1958. "The only problem is you cannot ride a bicycle in December in Chicago. I had to wait until spring."

tree_bike

Packrat-place is overjoyed to discover a bicycle under the tree in 1958. "The only problem is you cannot ride a bicycle in December in Chicago. I had to wait until spring."

bike

When Manikin received her big-kid bike for Christmas in the 1950s, she was able to take it for a spin—in California.

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Bonnie's kids also got bicycles in 1992, but her son seems way more surprised that Santa ate the cookies he left.

tree_toys5

Manikin says of Christmas 1949, "As you can see a girl learned early to do so-called women's work: Wash clothes, iron, take care of baby dolls ... This is a one yr old's Christmas. The only child. ... She grew up to hate housework and had a professional career despite it all."

tree-train

Marcobabe13's sister and brother play under the Christmas tree in 1946. They're surrounded by dolls, a train set, and TInker Toys.

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Marcobabe13 got her beloved doll in 1952.

tree_doll_truck

Doll collector Vestaswind says, " I was a tomboy and didn't play with dolls until I collected them when other little girls gave up their dolls. Last year one of my cousins unearthed this one. I excitedly shared this with one of my doll friends with the caption, 'The tomboy does have a picture with a doll!' She wrote back, 'I see that, and it looks like you are eyeballing your brothers truck!'"

tree_toys6

Rex Butler, posting on Facebook, show us his first real Christmas. His sister got a doll, and he got a teddy bear.

doll

Manikin takes her new doll for a walk in the California winter sun in the 1950s. "Always liked dolls, but I don't know why I would like this one. Maybe I gave her away—not my style. I liked ones I could make clothes for that were little and only needed tiny pieces of material I could find."

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Macrobabe13's husband and his siblings played musical instruments on Christmas morning, circa 1952. "Back then most folks didn't have a TV so you made your own entertainment."

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Miragirl and her sister (holding a new doll) pose with their family at their grandmother's house in Philadelphia in the 1950s.

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Pop_abides' oldest son clings to his new toys in the 1970s.

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Manikin got a horse riding toy in 1949, but a smaller toy caught her attention.

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Pop_abides' boy also got a tower nearly as tall as he was in the '70s.

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Hunter's mom got a plush toy, but she was more excited about the tree in 1952.

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Miragirl says, "My husband and I discovered we both saw the same Santa, when I was 4 and he was 5 in the '40s."

santa3

Santa was so nice, miragirl went to see him twice, this time with her sister in the '50s.

santa

Bonnie's mom and her aunt visit Santa in 1948. She says her mom, on the left, was told not to smile because she was missing her front teeth.

Merry Christmas to our Show & Tell community! Special thanks to Manikin for starting this thread, posting multiple holiday stories—including her Christmas at age 1, her first big-kid bike, and a Christmas doll. Thanks to marcobabe13 for issuing the “Christmas Past” challenge, posting early Christmas photos from her family and her husband’s. Thanks to packrat-place, Pop_abides (posting here and here), miragirl, Bonnie, Hunter, Ted_Straub, Savoychina1, and Vestaswind for playing along.

2 comments so far

  1. seamorelilfoot Says:

    LOVED the pictures. BOY did that bring tears of joy. I remember those Christmas’s and now I need to dig into my suitcase of old photos and look for them.

  2. Vestaswind Says:

    I loved the pictures the first time around. I’m really happy to see them featured this year!


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