What do you look forward during this holiday time? Christmas parties? Fancy cookies? Glittery decorations? Family gatherings?

When I was growing up, Thanksgiving Day was not just a day of eating and watching football. After our meal, the family would traipse downtown. Our destination? Seward Dry Goods, the store my folks owned and ran in (of all places) Seward, Neb.

In those days, Christmas decorations were not put up in commercial establishments until after Thanksgiving. That was what we did, after our holiday meal that always included turkey with stuffing, green bean casserole and ham balls. I remember being so impressed with our decorating efforts, skillfully planned by my father, Harold Dahms.

In December, the store was open many days from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., with my dad being there every hour, except for a lunch break. As a young child, I remember dad falling asleep during one Christmas Eve service and missing me ‘doing my part.’ I was devastated, as only a young child can be over such small incidents.

In the late 60s, while in high school, I starting working as a cashier in the store. I understood how Harold could not stay awake, but as he died in 1965, I was not ever able to reminisce with him about it. Bet we would have had laughs about it.

This year, Jim and I will travel to Ithaca, N.Y., to celebrate with our son John and his friend, Misha. As a side trip, I want to return to the Corning Glass Factory in Corning, N.Y. I never realized all the technology that went into glass making, making it stronger. Previously, I wondered why an older canning jar would sometimes break when being processed in a hot water bath. Now that I know how much stronger glass canning jars are now being made with modern glass alloys, I found my answer.

Since we won’t be home for Christmas, I have not put up a tree for the second year in a row. In previous years, I had asked the kids to help decorate the only artificial tree we have ever owned on the Friday after Thanksgiving.

In 2018, they both declined. Were they surprised when they came home for that Christmas and there was no ‘under the tree’ place for their presents. I only had my nativity out. There are some advantages to not having short visitors (grandchildren) as Christmas guests when wanting to simplify Christmas.

In 2017, I wrote this Facebook post: “As I prepare for the holiday season, I remember the families with whom I have worked in Nicaragua. Families with monthly incomes of $50. Families using the river for washing, bathing and drinking. Homes with no electricity, no screens and dirt floors. Families who smiled easily and had well behaved and happy kids. My prayer this holiday is to be content.”

No one will remember how hard you worked to make a magical Christmas. Take time to enjoy the season. Be content. Be strong like modern glass.

Love livin’ in Burt County.

P.S. Also know that the sugar cookie dough that comes in rolls in the refrigerator case make quick and very tasty cookies. Cut 1 cm. slices, then quarter that, form into balls, then roll in sugar and bake. When my kids were little, they loved to roll the little dough balls around in homemade colored sugar before they were smashed with a glass and baked.

Don’t tell anyone where you got the dough. It can be our little secret.

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