Features and ads in St. Francis de Sales Parish Christmas Bulletins from the 1920s offer windows into a different age – when gifts might be hung on the Christmas tree and the Christmas stocking was a novelty!
THE CHRISTMAS STOCKING AND HOW TO FILL IT (1927)
“For some reason, the beloved Christmas stocking of our childhood is not as common as it once was.
Kiddies who do not enjoy the thrill of opening mysterious packages, rooted from the recesses of a stocking in the dawn’s early light, are missing something that is their inalienable right.
The sheerness, or delicate fabric of Mother’s stocking, may keep them from using hers, but a Christmas stocking of some kind should be the possession of every child.
The larger presents may be downstairs beneath the spruce or fir, but a little gift or two should be added to the fruit, nuts and candy that are carefully wrapped in crinky packages and placed in the stocking. The time-honored orange should be placed in the toe; the horn, the jumping jack or the whistle should stick from the top. Do not use rich candies or soft-shelled nuts as fillers, or the child’s breakfast appetite will be destroyed. Better wrap a few hard candies of some kind in tissue paper and use the various nuts that cannot be broken by little fingers.
A nickel, a dime and perhaps a quarter, wrapped in several wrappings, and possibly securely tied inside a box will furnish several minutes of intense excitement. An apple will be appreciated. A potato from the bin, carefully wrapped in colored paper and tied, will bring a squeal of delight.
By all means give the children their Christmas stockings.”
Our second Pastor, Bishop Crane, was from the Ashland, PA, coal mining area, and many parishioners had family connections in that region, so they probably appreciated the joke:
THE BEST IN THE CLASS (1926)
“Interested Neighbor: ‘You seem to be a bright little boy. I suppose you have a very good place in your class?’
Little Boy: ‘Oh, yes, I sit right by the stove.’
Teacher in Pennsylvania mining district: ‘Can any one of you tell me where the Savior was born?’
‘Allentown,’ shouted Gottlieb.
Teacher: ‘What, Allentown! I just told you yesterday the Savior was born in Bethlehem.’
Gottlieb: ‘That’s right! I knew it was somewhere along the Lehigh Valley railroad.’”