It's Christmas Eve, my favorite day of the year! We finished wrapping, went for a walk, spent time with friends and family, and played cat games. Now it's time to turn out the lights and sit by the light of the Christmas tree... thinking of the past. I'll be thinking of the Sabine family, and especially of Ruth, who wrote the following essay in 1918 or '19, probably imagining our living room, which was her family's parlor, too:
There stands the tree tall and majestic, with its sweeping boughs covered with drums to be filled with candy, and small figures of Santa Claus and gilded angels and other amusing dolls, attached to unseen electric wires that tomorrow will make them glow and glisten with the light within them. And there from branch to branch draping the tree and twining in and out, are long, many colored chains of huge, glass beads, and long garlands of silver and gold tinsel that shimmer and shine like fairy spun sugar; and at the very top of the tree is a beautiful star. At the foot of the tree, a pile of square, oblong and other queer shaped bundles tied with red will be placed tomorrow. There is none in the silent happy family around the tree who is not thinking of the possibilities tomorrow may bring forth. The parents are thinking of the many bundles piled up in the closet behind that locked door yonder in the gloom of the corner.
The younger members of the family also cast furtive glances toward that wonderful store of treasures wishing only that they possessed the “open Sesame” to make it divulge its secrets.
The juvenile “kid brother” of the family, luxuriously cuddled in the long warm fur of the hearth rug, is vaguely dreaming of a sleigh piled so high with imaginary wonders, that the unfortunate, but merry driver of the eight prancing reindeer has a hard time to find room for his corpulent person. The warm, dancing fire is also reflecting beautiful pictures in the loving eyes of the older folks.
What a mystical fire it is with its bright, dreamland of rich color and happy pictures!
… Now the solemn rite is performed, the stockings are hung, the fire put out — “In case that St. Nicholas soon would be there, —“ and the children sent off bed leaving the parents to perform with many happy smiles their mysterious schemes.
Ruth Sabine (1906–1922)
written at 13 years of age