Marcy S., age 17, Tennessee

Dear Diary — Mother let me sleep till 9:30, instead of waking me at 8:00, as requested! First thing I did was to dash into the dining room and over to my corner by the tree where my gifts from Mother and Daddy were arranged on the trunk. The two big peach-colored blankets were unwrapped and so I saw them first. And here are what I found in the other packages: two pairs of embroidered pillow-cases (for college), pair of fancy bloomers, a striped blouse, a package of pretty washcloths, a pair of one hundred percent wool bed slippers (to keep my tootsies warm), and a little alarm clock in a leather-zipper case from Pop! Then I dove into my stocking and, after extracting various nuts and fruits, came to a handkie, a tin of talcom powder, and five ten-cent defense stamps. Now how is that for a Christmas?

After breakfast and the dishes my feminine curiosity got the better of me and I had to open a few of the “neighborhood” gifts. Among these were: two handkies from George, a sachet and vase from Rufus, a little china, snow-white elephant from Pan (which I christened “Snow White”); a china faun bearing a little cactus in its back from Helen (named Choo-choo), a sachet and handkie from Marg. and Roberta. I think curiosity-control triumphed then and I spread the table for dinner, then decorated it with evergreen branches, holly, and ribbon, and artificial snow. Also a glass bowl, two glass candlestick holders and two red candles.

Feeling the need for some exercise, I struggled with the bicycle (finally managing to get it down the back steps without mishap) and was just preparing to enjoy a nice ride when Pop asked me to go to town and get some tobacco for him — I seemed destined not to leave for just as I was again setting forth up drove Mary and William, playing Santa Claus. Daddy entertained “Bill” while Mary looked at the tree, and apologized for being late with my gift, which she had made. It was in a large, interesting, package, done up very attractively — as hers always are. [In left margin: “She brought Mom and Dad a jar of jelly.”] We talked until Mary had about four minutes to get to the theater (imagine having to work on Christmas Day!); then she road the bike a bit while William and I discussed the possibilities of committing suicide on said vehicle.

Presently they set out in the car, and I on the bicycle. All down hill so reached town before they did and purchased tobacco. Sun had disappeared and it was quite cloudy. Nice. Began long push home, having “pedal” trouble on the way. Just as I reached the back steps, it started to rain. Had to call for help, and at last had bike parked on porch.

I set the table then while Pop listened to the radio. Beautiful music, big contented fire in fire place, rain outside, chicken and dinner almost ready, Christmas tree and gifts, and wonderful afternoon and evening to look forward to — what could one ask? About 1:45 dinner was at long last ready, leaving poor Mother rather tired. We all sat down then to a bang-up feast! And it certainly proved to be bang-up — I ate so much first course, there was no room for dessert. After the second helping of chicken and accessories I began to feel sleepy and, hardly being able to bear the sight of food, I was excused from the table during the dessert course, and snoozed on the davenport.

About 3:00 we were ready to begin on the gifts. First, however, I phoned Rufus, declining her invitation for an afternoon at her house — due to rain and lateness. Returned to dining room and we opened our gifts in turn. First those in and from the family, then from town people, and lastly the packages. It was so much fun. The cozy dining room with the brightly-lighted fragrant tree and gifts beneath, the comfortable fire in the living room, and the rain outside, were just perfect!

Daddy loved his pipe, legion shirt, pajamas, tobacco calendar (from England), and the tea pot from England (given to the family by Mrs. Julian and Mildred Lane). Mother likewise was very pleased with the lovely gifts, among them the porcupine quills and birch bark powder box I got in Canada last summer, the pin made from shells, the sachet, and oodles of other lovely things. And Pan went into raptures over hers — three sachets, a lovely blue necklace, a heart bracelet, handkies, classy notepaper, a book (The Sound Wagon) from Margaret Spradlin, little calendar and diary from England, housecoat (hand made) from Mary, and — I think that’s all! Nothing from the Lofts’, whose package is usually late anyway.

It was 4:30 before we were through, and Daddy was half asleep, so he retired to the davenport while Mother put away the remains of the feast. Then she went to the bedroom for a nap, and I began on the dishes, daydreaming and finally finishing a little after 5:00. ’Twas my turn to set me down — which I did by the radio and fireplace, and began the The Sound Wagon — which was rather appropriate, Daddy snoring loudly nearby. At 5:30 Mother upped and dressed. I discovered that some of the pages in the book were printed twice, whereas an equal number were not printed at all. Ah well — it is the thought, not the gift!

When I heard Mama in the kitchen I left the fire and the snoring and went to help her. About 15 till 7:00 I phoned Clure to see if 7:00 would be okay — it would. So when all was ready, I “primped” up a bit, and meantime Clure, George, and Dixon arrived. I arrived on the scene just as they were sitting down to supper. We dined by the lights of the tree and the red candles on the table. George and Dixon sat on one side of the table, Clure and I on the other and Mother and Pop at each end. Began with milk toast, George’s favorite dish which his mother never seems to make as well as my mother — according to that critical young man. Both boys had on the ties we gave them and looked very nice in their Sunday suits.

We laughed and talked and had lots of fun. At 7:30 I went in and got Henry Aldrich on the radio. We listened and laughed during salad, sandwich, and part of dessert course. What that boy doesn’t get into — it was Christmas gifts this time — he couldn’t remember who had given him what, and poor Mr. and Mrs. Aldrich were nursing headaches.