The 60s Official Site Blog

Dedicated to the memory and history of the 60s from a personal and historical point of view.


Saturday, December 10, 2011

What Happened to Christmas as I Remember It?

Christmas time is my favorite time of the year.  As we age we look more back in time and instead of forward.  I think the reason for this is that our memories of  fun events are etched more vividly in our memory bank when we were young. I recall living in Ohio during the 50s & 60s how we hoped and prayed for a White Christmas. It just did not seem like Christmas unless it snowed.  Maybe it was Bing Crosby song and movie "White Christmas" that made us wish for it.  I also remember the TV shows that had a Santa Claus that read letters from young boys and girls and on Christmas Eve you would see him pack his bag and turn out the lights to end that year's show.  You knew he was on his way that night to your house to bring the goodies.  Do you remember special Christmas programs during the season.  Never were the shows called holiday shows.  These special presentations added so much more to the excitement of the season.  You see a few of these programs now but not many.  Why?  I know but you figure it out. 

I recall the Christmas season was truly a great time of charity and love and I believe it still is with one exception.  The assault from minority section of the population is something we never experienced during the 1960s.  Christmas Day  is a federal holiday and has been since 1870 when President Ulysses D. Grant made it a legal holiday.

I recall how the expression Merry Christmas was given with no hesitation not too long ago.  I also remember how we celebrated the season in our schools with musical assemblies. Christmas decorations  including the Nativity scene  were seen throughout the city without a complaint.  Today it is norm to try to remove a special meaning of the celebration when it offends just a few persons. that over 90% of the U.S. population recognizes.   I believe in freedom of religion not freedom from.  

Controversy and criticism continues in the present-day, where some Christian and non-Christians have claimed that an affront to Christmas (dubbed a "war on Christmas" by some) is ongoing. In the United States there has been a tendency to replace the greeting Merry Christmas with Happy Holidays. Groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union have initiated court cases to bar the display of images and other material referring to Christmas from public property, including schools. Such groups argue that government-funded displays of Christmas imagery and traditions violate the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, which prohibits the establishment by Congress of a national religion. In 1984, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Lynch vs. Donnelly that a Christmas display (which included a Nativity scene) owned and displayed by the city of Pawtucket, Rhode Island did not violate the First Amendment but in November 2009, the Federal appeals court in Philadelphia endorsed a school district's ban on the singing of Christmas carols.  What a shame.  We sang them in our school as part of the Christmas program.  Today due to trying not to offend anybody, the Christmas vacation iss now called Winter Break in the public schools. 

In the private sphere also, it has been alleged that any specific mention of the term "Christmas" or its religious aspects was being increasingly censored, avoided, or discouraged by a number of advertisers and retailers. In response, the American Family Association and other groups have organized boycotts of individual retailers. In the United Kingdom there have been some minor controversies, one of the most famous being the temporary promotion of the Christmas period as Winterval by Birmingham City Council in 1998. There were also protests in November 2009 when the city of Dundee promoted its celebrations as the Winter Night Light festival, initially with no specific Christmas references.
The attack has also gone to cable TV on Comedy Central on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart who in most cases has no appeal to the baby boomers.  His appeal is for the younger generation who seem to admire him and look at his show as real news. It has become a pitiful situation when he sells what he shovels as news and comedy. 
I remember the smiles, the laughter, the wide eyes of amazement from the young children, beautiful decorations and more importantly  the real reason we celebrate Christmas,   My God help us never to forget what we are celebrating and help us defend the true meaning of Christmas and our right to celebrate it.  Merry Christmas to all even to non believers.

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  • At 5:45 AM, Blogger trump said…

    Greetings Carl i found your web site on the 1960's and really enjoyed checking some of your writing's and its content. So i now have it on my favorites on my own computer. I liked what you wrote about Mr. Glen Campbell as i grew-up listening to his music and the songs he had sang from Jimmy Webb's great song writing. Happy holidays to you as well and ill be checking your blog also. Richard from the Amish community of Lebanon,pa

  • At 7:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I just found this site while looking for old songs to bring my FB friends a smile..glad to see there is someone else like that..and 1969 is when I met my husband, March, as he just returned from Vietnam..we met at a dance-club..He is has since passed away, 3 years ago as a result of exposure, but the Memories that come forth are of the Innocence in 1969, 1970 and the tears that followed. Thank you for doing what most of us wanted to do..Bring Smiles to Others..thus warming our own hearts.

  • At 12:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hello, I was surfing the the internet looking for 60's danced- themed songs for my daughter (9)and came upon your sight. I enjoyed the explanations of the dance steps and comments you included. Though not overly reliougly, I too miss the "traditional" Christmas and get somewhat irritated when decorations appear before Halloween - did we learn nothing about commercialism from the Charlie Brown special? However, I disagree with you Jon Stewart comments. My mom & brother (he's a professor in political science), both enjoy the show. My other siblings and I not so much, but we all enjoy the show. For us, the lighter approach (it is on the comedy channel)to what is otherwise dry news, captures our attention. We do not blindly follow is comments, which is not Stewart's intent, but develop opinions of our own in regards to his topics. Of course, you don't have to like his show, but I hope you acknowledge that he has gained the interest of a large sector of people who may not have even voted (any party) if it were not for his show.

  • At 8:42 PM, Blogger Dear John said…

    In the elementary school I went to every year at Christmas students and teachers gathered in the main hall/entrance to sing caroles. The music teacher played the piano and the earlier we arrived, the longer we had time to sing and have cocoa and cookies. As a teacher of middle and high school students today, I see a fervent need for traditions that contribute memories and a sense of belonging among students. I have suggested doing the Christmas carole activity often and my colleagues freeze up as if they are worried about a lawsuit. Sadly, today that may not be an unreasonable concern. But what I recall most from those caroling mornings were the fellowship and sense of acceptance among my schoolmates and teachers. My parents were going through a divorce and at that time I needed new memories and a place I could go where life made sense.

  • At 2:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Sorry Carl, but as a Jewish baby boomer, growing up in the 1960's I have to add a counterbalance to your entry (and some of the comments).

    It wasn't the same warm memories back when school teachers expected Jewish kids to sings songs of praise in December to someone they didn't believe in .. going indoor caroling in school was mandatory, not to mention the Xmas Assemblies in the auditorium (shudder...) We'd try our best to not get caught NOT singing.
    I'm grateful that today's Jewish kids do NOT have those 60's memories. The 60's were definitely a cherished "good old days" for me, but I would have to erase all memories of those December disasters! Shalom!

  • At 11:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    hey there! awesome site you have here! I need some help and was wondering if you could help me!! :( When I was 12 yrs old my grandmother got me a tape player for christmas and a tape called "The Funniest Food songs" I loved it so very much! All the songs were from the 50's and they were all soo cute! Well I remember a song on that tape that was my favorite but I forget who sings it and it has been driving me crazy... I have looked everywhere for this tape or at least the singer of this particular song and I have found nothing. The song goes "Peanut, uh-oh uh-oh uh-oh Peanut" Can you please Help me?!?!?!

  • At 1:12 PM, Anonymous Carl said…

    Too bad you didn't leave your name or email but the song you may be thinking of is "Peanut Butter" by the Marathons.

  • At 8:04 AM, Anonymous Sherry said…

    The peanut song you are asking about is "Peanuts", by Rick and the Keens, recorded in 1961.


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