Can’t Afford Christmas this Year (1959)

By CSB

WinterTrees

We lived in an old house in a small Pennsylvania town. Every Christmas Mom served breakfast AFTER the gifts were opened. In 1959, mom and dad began preparing my sister and me for a sparse Christmas by telling us “We can’t afford Christmas this Year.” We were a little skeptical; sure we would have Christmas as usual!

Christmas morning arrived and we gathered in the living room. There was a three foot tree sitting on an end table with our two stockings leaning next to it. My sister and I opened all the “little gifts” in our stockings and lined up our oranges on the rug.

Mom announced that to make our day a little more special, she would serve our breakfast in the living room. My heart sank…we always had breakfast AFTER opening gifts. Guess they really did mean we couldn’t afford much that year.

After breakfast, my sister and I were enjoying the few small gifts that we did receive. Then Dad suggested that we take the breakfast dishes to the kitchen for mom. Reluctantly we gathered the bowls and plates and headed for the kitchen.

To get to the kitchen in that old house you had to walk through the foyer and through the dining room. (To the left of the dining room was what we called “the second living room”. The room we used the most.) Halfway through the dining room we stopped dead in our tracks. There was an enormous Christmas tree and presents galore. The whole scene took up half of the room.

I will never forget that Christmas. Our parents had tricked us royally. It was an emotional roller coaster, but the ride down made the ride up even better.