Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A Florida Christmas in the 60's

Growing up in Florida presented several challenges when it came to Christmas. Our little cracker house with it's flat roof and jalousie windows didn't have a fireplace. So our parents bought us one of those fake cardboard fireplaces that looked just like this one.

Photo credit: eBay
Oh and  I use the term cracker house loosely. Cracker is actually a Florida cowboy, named so for the sound their bull whips made when moving the cattle across the prairies or to port where they were shipped off to Cuba or other destinations. And no I wasn't a cowgirl growing up, although we had a Shetland pony named Traveler. Meanest little so and so. Came by his name honest. But that's another story for another day.

American Shetland. Photo credit: Wikipedia

Photo credit: eBay

 Our cardboard fireplace even had a little aluminum wheel that attached to an old orange Christmas bulb. When the bulb got hot, and they really did get hot, the wheel would turn and create a realistic flickering fire. Ha!

Photo credit: eBay
We would hang our red fur stocking on this cardboard fireplace and wake on Christmas day with all kinds of goodies inside those stockings. It's a miracle the fireplace didn't fall over what with the big Navel orange and hard candy with red fur stuck to it. We didn't care about the fur, we ate the candy anyway.

Well, I started getting suspicious about that fireplace and questioned my father.

"How can Santa come down that fireplace? It don't even have a chimney!" I asked.

My father would say "Oh I never said he'd come down that cardboard chimney. He comes through the front door." he stated.

"How's he get in, if we lock the door?" I asked real serious like.

"Why he don't need no key" my father said "He just twinkles his nose and opens any door he pleases. Except of course if little kids are bad, or don't mind, or aren't asleep." That explanation was all I needed to hear and I was off to bed.

Florida Sand Pine
Photo credit: Wikipedia

Our Christmas trees were the prettiest in all the land. We didn't buy our Christmas trees from a lot. My father took us deep into the piney woods where we would pick out the prettiest Sand Pine tree we could find. My father would drag it out of the woods and tie it to the top of our Town and Country station wagon with the faux wood siding.  Once we got it home he would shape it. We used the excess limbs to make our door wreath. It was a festive occasion.

As we got a little older, our parents would let us stay up a little later. We would lay under the Christmas tree and talk about which ornaments we liked the best, while we listened to Bing Crosby sing White Christmas, or Gene Autry sing Frosty the Snow Man,  on our 45 record player.

Those were some magical nights.

Winter Wonderlands.

Without the snow.


Welcome to all my new followers.


BECKY said...

Oh my gosh, Ames! You just about described some of my young Christmases! Except we bought our skinny balsam at a tree lot! BUT, we actually had one of those cardboard fireplaces!! I only remember seeing it in our basement, though. It must've been used upstairs in the living when I was too young to remember! I posted about past Christmases, too. Please stop by!

Deb said...

Love the story. We didn't have a fireplace either, just a dearborne heater. Momma told us that Santa was magic so she wouldn't have to leave the front door unlocked. I used to love to lay under the tree too.

Bookie said...

Nice memories to be shared, Ames. No matter what the story, there is something univeral about
Christmas memories...they entertain us with details about others while ringing out truths about ourselves. Happy Holidays ahead....

Nonna Beach said...

Beautiful memories Ames ! Such a happy time sharing the magic of the Christmas season with your family !!!

Sue said...

This post was magical, too. Thanks for sharing your memories!


Sherry@Back2Vintage said...

I can just feel the magic!!! Great memories! You made me smile!!!

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

I haven't thought about cardboard fireplaces in years...but I remember those! Wouldn't it be fun to have one again! You have such wonderful memories! Happy holidays my friend! ♥