COBWEB CORNERS: When Christmas started in December

By Mel McFarland

       Some 80 years ago, Christmas in Colorado City was different. I would bet most of you are thinking, I bet it was not so commercialized, or something along those lines. In looking at the newspaper I did make some interesting discoveries.
       I found no mention of the holiday until early December. In fact there was very little "fuss" made over Thanksgiving. I did notice most of the businesses were asking you to shop early. They were saying this in the first week of December! In their ads they were wishing you a Happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year the week of Christmas. In 1919, there was a flurry of activity the week before Christmas as businesses along Colorado Avenue were noticing the closing of the Colorado Midland's shops. The ownership of several prominent businesses changed management. A popular bakery changed ownership quite smoothly, as neighbors watched in anticipation. It opened as usual on Saturday morning. It was important to many because of the orders for holiday baked goods. The bakery turned out many special products for the holiday season. In addition it was a popular gathering spot for morning gatherings. Customers were assured the pie and coffee would be ready and hot.
       Christmas is always special in school. At Whittier, Midland, and Buena Vista, it was no different. Ribbons with bells were strung from corner to corner with a big folded paper bell in the center of room. In the fifth-grade room, for example, blackboards were decorated with poinsettias, bells, holly and the Three Wise Men. Twenty-four stockings were strung across the front of the room. Each child had made one. Some of them were built to carry a great load, in great expectation. Not a slender stocking in the lot. A few days before school let out, a tree was brought in and decorated with popcorn and cranberries. The children made all the decorations. A lone present waited under the tree. The honor would go to the one with the highest spelling score. The other grades were also decorated, and the daily reading exercises were of holiday subjects. An interesting note is a comment a teacher at the time made about the seasonal weather: "Anyone wishing to have a snowstorm can get one by planning to take the sixth, seventh and eighth grades on a picnic. We know, for we have tried twice."