Candle light, electric light, bringing joy to December in Greenburgh
By: Riley Wentzler & Felicia Barber
December is often praised as the happiest season of all. It is easy to see why: the lights of the Christmas Tree and Menorah, the songs, and of course the real reason why little kids love December, the Hanukkah /Christmas presents. But how have Christmas and Hanukkah been celebrated in the past? To answer this question the authors looked at old newspapers from: Dobbs Ferry, Hastings, and Irvington.
Christmas Trees have been so popular for centuries that at one point, it was common for parents to tell their children some variation of the following story:
“At first it was an acorn hanging on an oak tree. In autumn the wind blew it down to the earth, it lay there til spring, when up shot a little stem with three leaves on it! Sun and rain nourished it -and it grew bigger and bigger, and it got.….. branches. In many years it grew to be a mighty oak tree. In hot summers the children made swings on it, or they played party, read books or sewed under Its great swaying branches. When it grew old, the place where it stood was sold to another man. This man cut down the tree and chopped it up for kindling wood. As it was a big tree, the man got a whole lot of wood from it, which lasted him all year. On Christmas, the last of the oak tree was put into the furnace. The furnace door was open a little and through it the oak saw a lovely light * It was a Christmas tree, with lovely ornaments and toys on it. Around the tree danced a group of merry children, singing hymns. Then the mother came and took the toys from the tree and handed them around.” (Irvington Gazette, July 3 1908 p.2)