A Glimpse Of Christmas Past: An Interview With My Grandparents
Start writing a post

A Glimpse Of Christmas Past: An Interview With My Grandparents

They told me about what Christmas was like for them growing up, and it's very different than what it is today.

A Glimpse Of Christmas Past: An Interview With My Grandparents
Wallpaper Stock

The Christmas season is a time of the year that people often hold special to their heart. While some traditions and the spirit of Christmas has stayed the same over time, overall Christmas has changed a lot throughout the years. I had the pleasure of interviewing my grandparents about what Christmas was like for them when they were growing up. I learned a lot about their childhoods in general, and just how much Christmas has changed.

Even though they're about the same age and grew up fairly close to each other, my grandparents came from very different backgrounds, and had very different Christmas'. My paternal grandmother, Mary (M), grew up with one sister on a dairy farm. She lived in the country and attended a very small country school, with only four children in her grade. My paternal grandfather, Neal (N), on the other hand grew up with six siblings, and was raised by his mother because his father had died four moths before he was born. He grew up in a small town, and still lives there today.

Q: Did you receive a memorable gift when you were a kid?

M: She received a record player. She would listen to country music, then jazz and show tunes from Broadway musicals. She really loved getting books too.

N: He received a sled when he was about seven or eight years old, and it was a surprise. There were lots of hills near his house to sled down. In his family, every child would get one gift each Christmas.

Q: What was a popular gift that most children wanted when you were growing up?

M: There was no popular gift that everyone wanted growing up. "Most girls would want dolls and boys wanted trucks. Back then, you were lucky to get one or two toys or anything... we would get a jump rope or something simple like that. We didn't get big toys like kids have today."

N: Clothing items like socks, shirts, and sweatshirts were popular, especially in his family because money was tight for them. They were more likely to get clothes as gifts than toys.

Q: Did you have a favorite Christmas memory?

M: She always enjoyed lighting the Christmas tree. Her family would always open the presents on Christmas Eve, because her father delivered dairy products early in the morning from his farm, and he would make it back home late in the morning. Every Christmas, she also would go have the Christmas dinner at her grandfather's house, and get to spend the day with her cousins who she didn't often see because they did not live nearby.

N: Local clubs (such as the Lion's Club) would invite families over without a father, and give them a Christmas present, such as sleds. He always enjoyed those, and was grateful enough to benefit from their kindness.


Did you have any Christmas traditions growing up?

M: She did not have many traditions outside of dinner with her family, lighting the tree, and opening presents. They would always have a live tree, so they would set it up right before Christmas. They would either buy it, or go to the woods and cut it down. A tree and a wreath were about the only Christmas decorations they would put up, nothing like the lights, etc. you see today.

N: Christmas was always very simple in his family, so he did not really have any special traditions in his family.

Q: Did you believe in Santa as a child?

M: She did believe when she was younger, and she made sure she was very good about two weeks before Christmas when her parents would tell the story of Santa.

N: The older siblings would tell the younger ones that Santa was not real, so they never believed.


Q: Would you have a white Christmas?

M: Usually, yes. They got a lot more snow when she was growing up than we do today. When the creek in the pasture froze over, they would cut out chunks of ice and use it to make ice cream.

N: For the most part, yes. He and his siblings would always sled at a nearby church when there was enough snow, and shared two sleds between all six children.

Q: Did you celebrate Christmas in your school?
M: Yes, they had a Christmas program growing up, and all of the parents would come and watch. They would sing Christmas songs, had a little band, and the teacher would play the piano. At her church, her Sunday school teacher gave the students a copy of the New Testament every year. All of the children would receive a baggie with an orange and hard candy because a man had left the church money to give the children all a Christmas present in his will.

N: Yes, and they would have four or five days off of school.


Q: Did you have a favorite Christmas food growing up?

M: Her favorite food was probably the desserts, especially the cookies. She also really enjoyed her mother's jello salads. They always had a turkey, and she ate most anything.

N: His family always had a Christmas ham, but he didn't really have a favorite food.

This Christmas, why not ask some family members about what Christmas was like for them growing up? You'll learn a lot about your family, and it'll really make you appreciate all of the different holiday traditions you have in your family.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

10 Holiday Drinks to Spice Up this December's Movie Binge

After all, isn't it the season of drinking...?

10 Holiday Drinks to Spice Up this December's Movie Binge

Thanksgiving has officially ended which means we are in preparation for the final holidays of the year. December is a busy month, filled with shopping and sales, wrapping gifts, planning family gathering and parties, cooking and baking, holiday movies, and of course, lots of drinking. I know that I will be spending a lot of December watching the ABC Family's 25 Days of Christmas,

Keep Reading... Show less

Planning Another Christmas Party

Don't just plan another plain party but get creative to have everyone wanting to come back next year!

Getty Famous

You know it's Christmas when the radio stations change to all of your favorite holiday tunes, the air is still, and stores have the best sales. With all my favorite things from Christmas happening my least favorite probably has to be when I have to go to another same old boring Christmas party that I get invited to every year. Here are some Christmas party ideas so that you won't have another sad Christmas party.

Keep Reading... Show less

High School Soccer is Wildly Important

For Young Players Who Want to Succeed at The Next Level

High School Soccer is Wildly Important

Whose choice is it? The parent? The player? There are a number of reasons that a kid may sit out of high school soccer, and to be completely honest; It is a huge mistake. High school soccer is the final piece in the puzzle that takes a player from above average or elite, to college ready by the end of their senior year. Every year thousands of talented athletes don't play for their high schools. Why though?

Keep Reading... Show less

8 Things That Should Be On Everyone's Holiday To-Do List

December is around the corner, are you ready?

8 Things That Should Be On Everyone's Holiday To-Do List

As they tend to say, its the most wonderful time of the year! People have begun to compile their Christmas to-do lists in anticipation for the season of sugarplums and gingerbread.

The history of the Christmas to-do lists goes back hundreds of years, almost as old as the holiday itself, however, people tend to fall out of this habit as they get older. This is unfortunate, as the theme of Christmas tradition can add bundles of the spirit of joy to your families.

Keep Reading... Show less

Fall Weather Must-Haves

Put away the swim suits and your favorite high-waisted shorts!


The transitional months of fall can cause some fashion headaches as you try to figure out what clothing to keep in your closet. With limited amount of college living space and the ever-unpredictable Nebraska weather, sometimes it’s difficult to know what should be taking up that precious closet space as you transition into winter. As you pack away those tanks and shorts for the chilly months ahead, get your closet ready with a few Fall must-haves. 

Keep Reading... Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments