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Carol Perkins: Parents went 'all out' for Christmas

Somehow, after Carol walked through the National Store in Glasgow before the big day arrived, Santa remembered the exact baby doll she yearned for and it would be her 'big' item under the tree, along with the crates of oranges the family splurged on at Christmas
The next earlier column: Carol Perkins: Lessons learned from husband's gifts past
(Note to those who've asked: - We still don't have complete, Jay Leno's Garage information on that wonderful sedan Carol & talk show host Susan Shirley rode in as Grand Marshals of the Edmonton Christmas Parade. (See: Grand Marshalls riding in style) Anyone help? - EW

By Carol Perkins

My mother and father went "all out" to provide us with a good Christmas each year. Since buying a toy other than for a birthday or a special occasion was rare, we knew Santa would delight us with just what we wanted. For me, it was always a doll. For my brother, it was usually a toy gun or truck. We never knew a bad Christmas. "All out" meant having three or four gifts and a crate of oranges under the tree.

No one asked me what I wanted for Christmas except Santa in the National Store in Glasgow. I might have made a list, but usually, I walked through Toyland and Santa saw my eyes light up at the baby dolls and the baby beds and all the accessories that went with them. This was long before "crafts" and long before "electronics." When I was young, we didn't need anything but our imaginations to keep us busy for hours. I talked to myself while pretending so much that as I grew older, I was embarrassed someone would hear me. No one said, "Who you talking to?" or make fun of me. My parents let me play, and my brother left me alone.

My brother Henry was never one to pretend. He lived in reality except when it came to cowboys and Indians. One year, he got a holster set with matching silver guns and a cowboy hat. Maybe even some cowboy boots. I didn't pay much attention to his gifts; I was focused on mine. We never had gifts under the tree from our parents, and we kids didn't give gifts to each other. Christmas morning was all about Santa and watching our parents open their gifts.

By the time my brother Tim came along, I was thirteen, and Santa didn't recognize me anymore. When Santa stopped coming, our parents made sure we had gifts from them. I loved watching Tim open his Santa presents and longed for my youth once again.

Each generation becomes more and more obsessed with gifts at Christmas. My parents were lucky to have fruit in a stocking; my generation received more than our parents did; our kids got far more than we did, and kids today-they have so many gifts they grow bored opening them. Some kids. Not all.

Buying toys and electronics and phones and Lego sets and dolls and all the other things we pamper our children and grandchildren with is good for the economy, but is it good for the soul? When is enough enough?

Last year we made a change at our house. Guy "put his boot down" on Christmas. "We don't need ten boxes for each grandchild under that tree," he said. "They got tired of opening them." I agreed. We made a new plan. He bought one gift, and I bought one gift, and then we bought a lesser gift together. Instead of ten, each had three. They didn't notice the difference, but our wallets did! What's in your wallet this Christmas?

(My new book, A Girl Named Connie, is available at Blossoms Florist and Boutique Unique, 507 Happy Valley Road, Glasgow, KY 42141, Phone 270-629-3597; the Edmonton/Metcalfe Chamber of Commerce, 109 E Stockton Street, Edmonton, KY, Phone 270-432-3222; and the Lighthouse Restaurant, 1500 Sulphur Well/Knob Lick Road, Sulphur Well Historic District, KY 42129. Phone 270-629-3597. And Also on

Contact: Carol Perkins, PO Box 134, Edmonton, KY 42129. Phone 670-432-5756.

This story was posted on 2016-12-15 05:07:11
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