What Did Mama Really Want for Christmas in 1970?
We’re three days away from Christmas, and I don’t want to bog everyone down with a how-to post, a craft post, or lots of reading to wade through. Instead, I’m going to continue the thread of Christmas memories, traditions, favorite recipes, movies, and books.
When I was a kid, Christmas gift giving was fairly small at my house, but as far as I knew, it was that way for everyone, so I didn’t know any better. We got a gift or two at home, we exchanged gifts at school and at church, and I received gifts from both of my grandmothers. That was FIVE gifts spread out over five different events. That was enough to make any child … or at least THIS child … giddy with excitement!!
The rest of the Christmas season was spent waiting for the last day of school, practicing for Christmas plays at church and spending time with friends at the Christmas church potluck and cousins at grandma’s house.
I always find it interesting that we remember little snippets of things that happened in our childhood, but then nothing at all of many days and weeks. Maybe there was some little thing that really stuck with us about a certain event, a toy, or a person. One Christmas that I remember well was around 1970. Honestly, I don’t remember if we got to pick out our own presents every year, but I do know that year in particular, we did. So maybe that’s why it sticks out in my memory so much. I was six years old.
My older brothers wanted a race track from Sears-Roebuck. The race track costed over $75, which was way more than any one family member could spend for Christmas. We had $25 for Christmas. $25 in 1970 would buy a lot, at least in MY world. But it wouldn’t buy the coveted race track found in the Sears-Roebuck catalog. So my brothers talked my daddy into pooling “his” Christmas money with theirs and buying the race track. It was a huge affair, taking up the length and width of an 8 foot x 10 foot plywood table that was set up in the living room for several months. I’m sure Mama made sure I didn’t get roped into adding my Christmas money to the race track fund because I got a little wooden doll high chair and a doll.
My family made the trip to Sears which was a good 50 miles away for our shopping trip which was a big deal for us during those days. I still remember walking around looking at all the toys, trying to decide what I wanted to buy. I finally settled on the high chair. But the problem was that Mama knew I didn’t have a doll at home that would fit in the chair. So, my poor mother used part of her Christmas money to buy a doll with bendable legs to fit in the chair. It’s been so long ago, and my memory is hazy, but I think that was the year I got a doll with retractable red hair. A search of the internet brings up the “Chrissy” dolls of the 60s and 70s, and mine was probably that doll.
We also went to eat at a steakhouse, which was probably a bigger deal than going shopping in the “city”. All these years (and they are a LOT of years), I still remember the high-backed booths in the steakhouse. The doll and high chair, and the race track were wonderful, but the memories are what make me smile.
All these years later, I wonder what Mama and Daddy really wanted for Christmas for themselves. Did Mama have her eye on a pretty store-bought dress or new black patent-leather purse? Maybe Daddy need a new white shirt and black pants for church, or even a new pair of dress shoes.
But they didn’t get those things. Instead they got a race track, a doll and a little wooden high chair. But I have a feeling they didn’t mind. They were making memories with us kids, much like I’m doing with my kids and grandkids these days. I really don’t need anything. My old purse suits me just fine. I have enough shoes to last a lifetime, and my closet is full.
As is my heart.
Here’s wishing you all a very Merry Christmas
and a Very Happy New Year.