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The speaker is a 42-year-old White woman with a college education from Jefferson, Wisconsin; she was recorded in 1968.
1:47-3:08


County: Jefferson
State: WI

Commentary:
Jefferson, Wisconsin, the county seat of Jefferson County, lies at the confluence of the Crawfish and Rock Rivers. A productive agricultural area, it was heavily settled by immigrants from Germany, and German heritage is still celebrated with an annual "Gem??tlichkeit Days" festival. The celebration of Christmas in the community and her own family is the topic of the following excerpt.
Inf: Christmas Eve around here was usually the time when you opened the gifts. Uh my mother always had the idea, she was very strict, too, she she stuck to the folklore very strictly. If he's coming on Christmas Eve and coming down the chimney, how you, how can you open your presents on Christmas Eve? You have to open them on Christmas morning. Yeah.

But uh most everyone here would go to church uh on Christmas Eve. If they were Protestant the church service would be early and then they'd come home at about 11 o'clock. They'd open their gifts. But um, consequently the children would be so over-excited and over-tired. It was a big day, you know, and then they'd have a program at church. And they'd fall asleep and they'd get upset and everybody'd get into a big hassle, you know, and go to bed exhausted. So, my mother contended it was much better to stay in bed. And uh to go to bed and get up the next morning.

And we had to dress completely, make our beds, eat um breakfast, and it was always oatmeal. I don't know why, I, 'cause we hated oatmeal, and she made us eat oatmeal on Christmas. Think we could get away with it then or something.

And before we could go in -- then we'd, she'd take us in and she'd blindfold us. Oh, she made a great ceremony of it. And she she she'd turn on the tree. And then the gifts all around. And then we could open our eyes and we'd see the spectacle.

Of course it was very thrilling. I, I can see her idea. I would do it too if I had the opportunity.

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