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The Dash…Christmases past, present

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It was in elementary school when we were asked to write about our family Christmas traditions. We could ask parents and grandparents about the holidays when they were young.

I went to my grandpa and he gave me quite a story, which many of details are now failing me.

It was the 1930s and early 1940s when he grew up, the second-youngest of nine brothers and sisters. They may have invented hand-me-downs, along with every other family in this area at the time, I don’t know.

He told the story of real candles on a real Christmas tree in the main room of the house. His parents put up a blanket in the doorway on Christmas Eve to prevent the kids from seeing the tree until morning. They each got something to treasure, no matter how simple or small.

When I was little, my extended family was big. I say “was” because there are even more of them now, so many it makes it difficult to get everyone together in one place.

When I was little we traded names for a gift exchange, but grandma and grandpa always had something for each of my cousins and me.

Time goes by and some traditions are hard to continue, but the memories are still there, fresh in my mind during this season.

Helping at a toy giveaway this year, I was glad to see some of the toy standards are still on store shelves. Here are some favorites you can’t deny have staying-power:

- Candy Land, first seen from Milton Bradley in 1949, has undergone several design changes in the last 61 years, but the original fun is still there;

- Legos, the take-off of building blocks, also dates to 1949 when the first interlocking plastic pieces were made in Denmark. In 2010, the variety of Lego sets spans from the simple, toddler blocks, to movie-themed assortments to computer-programmable machines;

- Play-Doh, a modeling concoction available since 1955, provided endless possibilities for children to play with and mother’s to get out of the carpet; you could even make your own at home, although it failed to retain the commercial brand’s consistency over time. Who doesn’t love the smell of Play-Doh?

- Barbie. We can debate the political-correctness and physically impossible, scale measurements on this one, but you cannot deny this toy’s popularity since the first zebra-striped-bathing-suit-wearing dolls first hit the shelves in 1959;

- Basketball, soccer ball, baseball mit, (insert sports equipment of your choice here). Let the hours of fun and friendly backyard competition ensue;

- Crayons, name brand or otherwise, creativity abounds. Currently on the market is a crayon melting and molding set to recycle all those broken pieces laying around. Where was this 20 years ago Crayola?

- Teddy bear - enough said.

It wasn’t all about video games and other electronic devices requiring data plans and subscription services.

I remember Christmases past, will enjoy the changes that come with Christmases present and look forward to those yet to come.

(Please note: fuzzy pink rabbit costumes and toy zeppelins are not on this list.)

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Jenn Lampila is News Editor for The Crete News.

You can reach her via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

or you can send letters to P.O. Box 40, Crete NE 68333.