Saturday, December 24, 2016

Baldwin Family Christmas

Baldwin Family Christmas 

Jess and Mabel Baldwin were the parents of fourteen children.  They raised their family during the depths of the Great Depression in Oklahoma.  Hoping to find better work opportunities to care for their growing family, the Baldwin's moved to Arizona.  After spending a few years in Arizona, they finally settled in southwestern Colorado.  Money was always tight for the large Baldwin family, but they never went without food and shelter.

Grandpa Baldwin especially loved Christmas and tried to make it a special time for his children.  On Christmas Eve after the chores were done, the family would gather for dinner.  Grandma was a wonderful cook and Christmas Eve dinner was always a feast.  After dinner and while all the kids were helping Grandma clean up and do dishes in the kitchen, Grandpa would sneak presents around the tree in the living room.  He would then slip outside, put on a beard and red hat, and peek into the window so that the kids could see “Santa.”  They would look out the window into the night to see Santa as he turned to leave and would always hear Santa call out “Ho, Ho, Ho" as he left.  Afterwards the family gathered around the Christmas tree to find the presents underneath that had been secretly left by Santa.  Or sometimes Santa left the big bag of presents at the front door instead of bringing them in and leaving them under the tree.  The Christmas tree was always a "real" tree covered with shinny silver tinsel and a few treasured glass ornaments.
Some years Grandpa enlisted the help of a friend or older family member.  Then Grandpa could be with the family when they saw Santa at the window and heard him call out “Ho, Ho, Ho” after leaving a bag of presents at the front door.
The presents left under the Christmas tree or in the bag at the front door consisted of a small brown paper sack for each child with an orange, apple, and hard Christmas candies.  Santa would also leave one present for each child which consisted of some small toy or gift.

This was the only time of the year that the
children in the Baldwin family received
an orange.  The smell of an orange always
reminded them of Christmas.

Even though the Baldwin family had little in the way of money, Grandpa and “Santa” always made Christmas special and fun for the family.

Grandpa Baldwin may have loved Christmas so much because it was on Christmas Day in 1917 that he married Grandma!

Merry Christmas to All