With Gladness: The Modern Era

with-gladness-coverWhere do we even begin to describe our modern holiday celebrations? Do we take a rosy image, ironic portrait, or cynical tone?

With no offense to anyone’s preferred ways of celebrating (and I know I’ll miss mentioning some clever and creative ideas), this blog post will attempt to leave a simplified record of Christmas in the 2010s. Please chime in with your own observations and traditions in the comment section. After all this is history that we are attempting to record as its happening.

The last short story in With Gladness is set in the current, modern era. While it features a “typical” American home setting, the story also looks back to a Christmas event in 1968 through Grandpa’s story.Decorations

There are some folks choose not to celebrate Christmas – nothing wrong with that, I suppose. But most people in my acquaintance who celebrate like to decorate their homes. Some houses get elaborately decorated (think 50 nativity sets, towns, garland, candles, tinsel, etc.) Others set up a tree and are satisfied with that. I’m not judging how anyone decorates or celebrates…just recording that most people decorate for the Christmas season.

christmas-treeSo what are some of the decorations in the 2010’s? Well, feather trees are out of fashion (thankfully, in my humble opinion). Artificial trees or real trees are popular. Wreaths, stockings, nativity sets, DIY signs, candles, garland, tinsel, ornaments, blankets, etc. etc. etc. If you can think of a decoration, someone probably uses it for Christmas!

And then there are all kinds of color combinations styles. Bright blues, pinks, greens have been “in” for the last couple years. Red, green, silver, and gold remain traditional colors. Blues and silver are fun and usually paired with snowmen and arctic animals. Styles include modern, traditional, country, rustic, and probably a whole bunch more than I’m not even sure how to categorize. 🙂

Presents & Excitement

Most folks who celebrate Christmas exchange gifts with family and friends. Shopping (some might argue materialism) takes a big focus in our culture as the holiday season approaches. Some shop early, others wait to the last minute. Then after the shopping, comes wrapping. There’s traditional wrapping with paper and bows or there are gift bags.

Presents equal excitement – especially among kids. Don’t believe me? Try spending Christmas Eve with ten children who are regularly reminded that they get presents the next morning.

Holiday History & Craft December 2015 Christmas Wreath PaintedFood

Try visiting a grocery store two or three days before Christmas and then tell me that Americans don’t like to eat during the holiday season…

It seems like most folks have traditional or favorite food they enjoy making or buying. Food – for better or for worse – is associated with good time and happy memories. Even if you don’t back those sugar cookies that grandma/aunt/mom always made, you probably remember them as you bite into a store bought or slice-n-bake treat.

In the story, Mom is busy in the kitchen, finishing preparations for the holiday meals. The younger siblings are arguing about their favorite type of cookie. Probably still a typical scene in many households…

Featured In The Story

Almost got it, I thought, chasing the little icon with my finger on the phone screen. Deeply absorbed in the game, I could almost ignore the holiday. Christmas had lost its sparkle and wonder to my thirteen year old mind; I didn’t know if it was because I missed Grandma, or if I was too old to enjoy the evening.

The Christmas tree glittered with lights and ornaments. Holiday music filtered through the house. Mom was in the kitchen, making a happy clatter as she finished the preparations for tomorrow’s feast. But I just felt like the whole celebration was superficial and useless. As fake as pretending the tinsel was real gold. Sure, the minister would talk about Jesus and peace, but then what? The excitement was for the little kids. (Page 111)

Your Historian & Authoress,

Miss Sarah

P.S. This is the end of background blog posts for the stories in With Gladness: A Christmas Story Collection. I hope you’ve enjoyed them! Happy New Year…

About Sarah Kay Bierle

I’m Sarah Kay Bierle, historian, living history enthusiast, and historical fiction writer. When sharing history, I try to keep the facts interesting and understandable. History is about real people, real actions, real effects and it should inspire us today.
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