I wish I could go back to days gone by
When Christmas was really Christmas to me
Everyone making a gift of some kind
Made from materials that were free.
Popcorn was popped, sewn on long strings
Or shaped into balls so round
Some cracker jacks made in pans so square
Peanuts added when they could be found.
Ornaments were cut in all sizes and shapes
Painted or colored they had to be right
Or down in the basement working so hard
In the pale light we worked half the night.
No tree was trimmed until Christmas Eve
Somehow Santa seemed to do it in stride
We could scarcely sleep, the excitement built up
Listening for sounds in the cold outside.
Stockings we hung wherever we could
No fireplace did we have back then
The wood stove was red with burning sticks
Sending out heat until way after ten.
Sometimes we could go to midnight Mass
At our church fifteen miles away
With bright shining stars in the heavens above
We would shiver for most of the way.
So early in the morn we’d wake and run down
The stairs to see what was there
The beautiful tree all trimmed so bright
With boxes and gifts everywhere.
We’d wake mom and dad from peaceful sleep
That I know now was so short that night
How hard they must have worked while we slept
So in the morning all would be just right.
With restraint we held back until all were there
Then each gift handed out with a name
Each one taking their turn to open their gift
Some clothes, always a toy and a game.
Back to the house washing up to eat
Fried potatoes, bacon, eggs, and toast
How thankful we were for what we had
No matter what, it seemed like the most.
Visiting a must at this time of year
To see uncle and aunt or grandpa
They would come back to see our tree
And look at gifts they never saw.
It seemed back then there was always time
For a visit to family and friend
But now there’s no time to do these things
Where I wonder will this rat race end?
Gathered together at the table at night
With some cards or a fresh new game
Our family was one instead of each by himself
Things today cannot be the same.
What beautiful peace we had back then
We could relax and throw worry away
But now it seems the race is on
We are afraid to face the following day.
I could go on and on about Christmas past
But would that help me forget what’s today?
Our life has sped up to an amazing pace
How long on this earth can we stay?