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From the Logan Democrat of Logan, WV, come these stories of Christmas in 1916:
COMMUNITY CHRISTMAS TREE AND CEREMONIES ON SATURDAY NIGHT
On Saturday night, at 6:30 o’clock Logan will hold its first formal community celebration of Christmas through the medium of a community Christmas tree with the attendant distribution of substantial gifts to the elders, and toys and goodies to all the children, in keeping with the true spirit of the season.
The proposition has been launched and carried out by a number of prominent ladies of the city, whose efforts to make the event a huge success will undoubtedly be crowned with the deserved result. The plans are elaborate and extensive, and provide for the supplying of every needy and worthy family within reach of a good supply of necessaries, including groceries and clothing, and the presentation to each and every child in the city with candy and a toy. The household gifts will be distributed through the medium of tickets distributed by the ladies committee, which has been busily at work for the past week or ten days. The work is entirely non-denominational, and the event will take place rain or shine. If the weather is clear the tree will be placed on the courthouse lawn, and if inclement it will have a place on the courthouse porch.
It is understood that the Chamber of Commerce and other prominent civic and church organizations are lending their hearty approval and substantial support to the matter, and that sufficient funds have been obtained to meet the requirements, aided by the liberal donations of merchandise by the local merchants.
The household gifts will be distributed in baskets, while the children will receive theirs in tidy little bags, two hundred or more of which have been provided. Upwards of $200 has already been expended for supplies and necessities, and it is assured that there will be plenty to go round.
The tree will be brilliantly lighted and ornately decorated, the lighting effects being supplied by the Logan County Light & Power company. Arrangements are now underway to maintain the tree in all its splendor until New Year’s, and to have it lighted up every night during that period.
The committee in charge of the work is desirous that no one be alighted or overlooked, and to this end solicits the assistance of all in the community in seeking out families who are deserving of help at this time and reporting such cases to the Guyan Drug store as soon as possible so that ample provision may be made for all.
The basket offerings will consist of groceries, a good cut of meat and other table necessities, while shoes, clothing, hats, etc., will be given to those in need of such articles.
The presents for the little folks will be given to each and every child who presents himself or herself at that proper time.
Source: Logan (WV) Democrat, 21 December 1916.
CHRISTMAS SPIRIT HOLDS SWAY IN LOGAN
The Christmas season is now virtually upon us; the season when it is customary for every one to be trembling with job, and minds to soar to greater heights; the season when the one thought, good will, is paramount in the minds of all; when trials and sorrows are cast to the four winds, and only the good deeds of life are given a place in human interest.
Grievances and differences are forgotten and nothing is remembered save that someone did you a good turn and made your life a little happier at least for a time. Or perhaps you think of the kind word or action that you had passed along to someone else less fortunate than yourself, and it is with pleasure that you recollect in joy that was manifested in the face of someone that you helped.
But a shudder comes when you think of the terrible havoc with which Europe has been fraught; where men have been taking and giving a life for a life; where the hearts of women have been torn asunder; where the cruel pangs of hunger have driven children to an early grave; where aged m others and fathers have been bereft of all comfort and dragged down to the nethermost depths of despair, where lands have been devastated, and cities have been robbed of all their beauty by the greedy mouths of the cannon.
And your thoughts turn to the thousands of mothers in that war stricken land; the mothers who were so happy before the terrible slaughter of men commenced; the mothers left alone pining for their loved ones; the mothers in the gray and dusk of the dawn where the shadows are turning into spectres, grim, wan, ghastly and fearful. And you think of them as the mothers of men; men who fought and died for freedom.
A feeling of sadness comes over you as you think of the joy that might have been theirs; of the gay and happy times that they too might have had at Christmas, all of which has been blasted by the terrible scourge of warfare. And perhaps you utter a prayer of thankfulness that you can enjoy to the full that Merry Christmas. But perhaps you may not pause to think that there are some near you who cannot join in that happiness that may be yours.
You forget about the little boys and girls whose parents are at war, not war against nations, but war against adversity and calamity. They are struggling against great odds, and reinforcements are required immediately to assist them to struggle in the heights, surmount the barriers and give to their children a Merry Christmas.
They have told their children tales of Santa Claus; of the many treasures stored away in his mansion in the skies; of his yearly visit to the children; of the many toys he brings them, and the joy that he unloads at every household, and they told these tales when the sun was shining down upon them in all its glory and brilliance; when all seemed bright and there was not thought of the coming winter, with its chilly blasts and the snowstorms was in their minds.
But winter has sent a warning and is stalking forth in all sternness. They do not feel sorry now that they told the children such tales, because they made the children happy, but they know now that a hard struggle is ahead of them and that the long looked for visit of Santa Claus may not materialize.
They cannot steel themselves to break the news to the children. They were sure that when Christmas came Santa Claus would not forget the little ones but that was before misfortune struck them, and they now bow their heads in sorrow.
These are the people that must be thought of during our Christmastide, and every effort made and plans turned to bring them a full measure of the gladness and cheer of the festive season. The community Christmas tree will be a wonderful blessing to the whole community, radiating wholeheartedly and generously upon all alike its spirit of good cheer. A little individual effort on the part of everyone will cap the climax of making this Christmas a memorable and happy one to all within reach.
Source: Logan (WV) Democrat, 21 December 1916.
Community Tree Was Big Feature of Christmas
The community celebration held in this city on last Saturday night was one of the biggest events of a charitable nature Logan has ever seen, and the spirit of good cheer and the material benefits derive therefrom will have an uplifting influence upon the entire section for a long time to come.
The good influence exerted by the affair cannot be overestimated, and the results obtained were highly satisfactory to those in charge of the work. A large number of baskets of groceries were distributed, and shoes and clothing were given to all who could be found who were in need of such articles. The kiddies of the city were all provided for with candy, fruit and nuts, and on the whole the event was a notable one, and it is quite likely that it will become an annual fixture in the future years.
Source: Logan (WV) Democrat, 28 December 1916.