Sara Christmas

409 East Adams, a rare Christmas snow, with Sara's handmade door decoration

“I never had any desire to live anywhere but Greenwood, and the huge oak tree in the backyard which he [Russell] protected with stakes when it was just a twig next to the swing set reminds us that this really is where our roots are. At least our children will never be in the position their Daddy has been of not being able to call any place his childhood home.

“There are so many memories that are important to me, but I think probably the Christmases stand out most of all, those wonderful Christmas Eve’s with all the family here for our Christmas party. We started having the party at our house in 1952 after Mama had been sick. Before that we all ended up over at the Stott house at one time or another on Christmas Eve but there was really no party. Our crowd grew each year and often included some outside the immediate family. We first served them from the kitchen counter, but as the family got larger we moved the food to the back porch, along with the bar.

Christmas Eve presents waiting to be unwrapped

“Our decorations grew too until the big attic is now half full of Christmas decorations. For many years we dressed up a life-size Santa Claus who wore a realistic false face complete with beard from Sears, a suit which Pam had worn in a program, and the big black riding boots which Russell had taken off a dead German officer during the war. He sat in the ‘Grandpa rocker,’ which belonged to Mama’s Daddy, and had his bag beside him filled with little favors we made for the children who were invited over to see him and get a Christmas cookie. We would have continued to have him with us at Christmas if his rubber face had not turned yellow in the attic and made him look jaundiced and the rabbit fur which adorned his suit started to shred. We still have the boots.”

An early version of Sara's famous living room Santa

It’s going to take a while to describe Sara’s Christmas obsession, so tune in over the next day or two. I promise it will put you in the holiday mood and make you tired before Thanksgiving has come and gone.

About sec040121

Hello....I'm in possession of a priceless collection of memoirs and memorabilia left by my mother, Sara Evans Criss. She was a native and lifelong (88 years!) devotee of our small town, who covered this peculiar and volatile corner of the world for 30 years as the Memphis Commercial Appeal's Greenwood bureau chief, a job that started out with debutantes and high school football and wound up spang in the midst of one of the twentieth century's most enduring social upheavals. This blog is dedicated to her memory and the legacy she left behind, both for her family and her community.
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3 Responses to Sara Christmas

  1. Emily says:

    We need to go up to the attic and get the decorations down.

  2. jemiller25 says:

    FYI – I found the boots and the pine chest in the Olivia attic a couple weeks ago. So if somebody is willing to scrounge up a life-sized Santa, we still have dead officer’s boots to outfit him with…

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