Merry Christmas Today and Tomorrow

Merry Christmas Today and Tomorrow

by Doyle Ranstrom on Dec 23, 2019

I was telling my granddaughter that I remember Christmas's when I was not much older than her with no presents.  She asked why and I said because we were very poor.  

it is important to note that we may not have had any money, but we, at least me, had food.  I know that because I was told I was husky at that age.  Husky is what your mother calls when you are fat and she does not want to use that word.  

I remember going to our small country church and after the Christmas program, all the kids got a small bag of candy which consisted of hard candy, peanuts in the shell and one very red apple.  I ate all the candy.  Maybe that was why I was husky.

The reason we had food was my mom was receiving $50 per month from social security as a widow's benefit.  In the 1950s, that was enough to feed my three sisters who were still at home, herself and husky little and somewhat round son.  

As an aside, when I hear uninformed commentators and equally ignorant National politicians talk about social security as an entitlement, I used to get angry, but now I am just disappointed in their lack of knowledge.  That $50 per month in the 1950s enabled my mother, in part to go back to college and get a teaching degree and six of her children to obtain college educations.  

Though my granddaughters, their parents, and grandparents will have plenty of food this Christmas, the reality is many in the US will not.  A recent study found one in seven in the US rely on food pantries and meal service programs to feed themselves and their families.  My granddaughters will also receive lots of presents.  They are too young to realize many other children their age will not.  

So for anyone who might read this, I have the following Christmas wishes and comments.  

  • One, I wish all happy and loving time with family over the Christmas Holiday.  Enjoy and be thankful for the time together along with the food you eat.  If you can afford to buy Christmas presents for each other, the real gift is the ability to do so.
  • The Christmas Spirit is about thinking and helping others who are less fortunate. Remember, in Charles Dickens's "A Christmas Carol” Scrooge is a rich well-fed man and the Cratchit's are a poor family working hard for very little, barely making ends meet and have a sick son with no health care.
  • Make the Christmas Spirit a year-round objective. The individuals and families who are poor and hungry in December will likely have the same challenges in January.  As is reflected in the "A Christmas Carol" money does not buy happiness.  I would suggest the Christmas Spirit is not reflected in how well the individuals and households at the top of the economic strata are doing.  The Spirit is reflected in how well a society enables all individuals are able to feed themselves and provide for their families.   After a harsh look at himself, Ebenezer Scrooge finds redemption by changing into a generous benevolent man, accepts the Cratchit's invitation for Christmas Dinner, gives Bob Cratchit a raise and helps Tiny Tim with health care.  

Have a wonderful Christmas, enjoy time with family and friends, think about the Christmas Spirit and keep it going into the New Year.