DECEMBER 26, 1949
HYDE PARK, Sunday—A week ago in our church we were admonished that most of us, in our anxiety to make Christmas a festival of St. Nicholas, forgot that it was also the festival of the Christ Child. We were so weary buying presents and distributing them that we missed the real significance and peace and inspiration of the first Christmas when the great gift of a perfect life was made to mankind.
I think perhaps customs in certain other countries are more sensible than ours. Some countries celebrate on Christmas Day a religious festival only. It is not until St. Nicholas' Day that comes a good week or more later that the children receive their presents and there is an exchange of presents even among the grownups.
This, however, is the custom in more leisurely countries than the United States. I can almost hear the storm of protest if, after Christmas and the New Year holidays, we added a St. Nicholas festival which required another day off from what many of us consider the important business of life. So we will have to resign ourselves to our combination of religious and secular festivities, and try to organize our lives so that the Christmas Day itself and even Christmas Eve remain calm and peaceful without that hectic last-minute shopping and wrapping, which keeps so many people from enjoyment.
I saw, too, an amusing little newspaper complaint against the way in which women wrap their Christmas packages for mailing. The writer, of course, was a man, and he seemed to feel that it was a man-given gift to make nice, neat, compact mailing packages.
I want to tell him that there are some men who do this extraordinarily well. But considering the fact that women do far more buying and far more wrapping of presents than men, I think you could almost find an equal percentage of women who wrap neat packages for mail. They certainly had good practice during the war for those packages that went to the far corners of the world had to be wrapped according to specifications. And it was women Red Cross workers who wrapped many thousands of them.
I am certain that while the art of package making is one that must be learned, it can be learned by women as well as by men.
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I want to take this opportunity to thank all who have sent me Christmas cards and letters at this time of the year when our thoughts turn to those we love. People have been very kind and I deeply appreciate it.
As I drive through the countryside the live trees, which are decorated with lights, and the decorated doors and windows make me feel that the spirit of Christmas is growing in our land.
I wish you, one and all, a Merry Christmas, a happy holiday season and the peace and joy that should accompany the tr ue observance of this Christmastime. If the Christmas spirit of friendliness and goodwill could exist all the year round in all our hearts, perhaps we could achieve the message of the Angels: "Peace on Earth, Goodwill to Men."