Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmases Past

About twenty years ago Brendice Gerner Davis, my grandmother Beulah Gerner Doyle's sister, wrote a few memories of her childhood Christmases in the early 1900s. Brendice was born in October, 1895, Beulah in September, 1888, both in Butler County, Pennsylvania. "Mother" is Elvira Bartley Gerner.
You ask me about our Christmas. Well! That has not changed much. Mother thought of the holidays in the fall. She put up some especially nice things to have, like special peaches. Always had a hubbard squash. Since we had chickens she had several nice fat hens instead of turkey and we had all the trimmings.

We always had a big Christmas dinner, all the traditional things that were available. Remember I lived in the country. All we had was a small grocery 3 miles away. Nothing was packaged. Staples sat around in kegs or boxes and someone waited on us. You didn't look around until you found it (or maybe found a clerk) like you have to do today. We always got a gift, something we needed to be sure but you know, Nancy, people were more contented than today.
My father also remembered that his childhood Christmases on the Doyle farm in Stoneboro, Pennsylvania, were sparce by comparision to today's Christmases. He said stockings held an orange in the toe, one toy, some nuts in the shell, and maybe some candy. My father worked hard so his children could have a better, easier child- and adulthood than he had. He succeeded.

Merry Christmas, dear readers!

Excerpts of Brendice's letters were dated February 12, 1989, and August 30, 1988.


  1. What wonderful Christmas memories...and lovely vintage cards as well! Thanks for sharing them!

  2. What great memories. I think it would be nice to go back to that simpler time in life. Merry (belated) Christmas!

  3. Hi Nancy, What a treasure to have these written memories..we are far to materialistic nowadays:(


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