Celebrating Christmas in rural areas served by electric utilities like Dawson PPD has seen several significant changes since electrification in 1937.
Do you recall when the entire family gathered to decorate the Christmas tree? It was its own celebration. Each branch was adorned with ornaments made by our children. The tree itself, much like our family, demonstrated individual personalities for all ages. Buying ornaments never entered our minds. Today trees offer themes that may be pretty but do not reflect traditions.
In the present day, out of a deep-seated sense of preserving those precious creations, the ornaments made by my children are carefully tucked away so they do not get broken. Real trees, once an integral part of our holiday tradition, have been supplanted by artificial counterparts. The warm glow of candlelight has been replaced by the safe radiance of miniature LEDs.
Shopping habits during the Christmas season have undergone notable transformations from the 1940’s to the present day. Catalog shopping, particularly through the Sears catalog, became a popular way to browse and buy gifts. Do you remember waiting for the arrival of the annual Christmas catalog?
The 1970s and 1980s witnessed the rise of shopping malls, which offered a convenient one-stop shopping experience. Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, gained prominence as the official start of the holiday shopping season. Today, “Black Friday” takes up several days and has morphed into “Cyber-Monday”. Online shopping started gaining traction in the early 2000’s and continues to grow with e-commerce giants like Amazon, eBay, and others reshaping the retail landscape. Sadly, this has been to the detriment of small family-owned businesses on our own main streets, and I am guilty of not shopping local as much as I should.
Electricity has made Christmas celebrations more convenient, safe, and visually stunning. It has also connected rural communities with the broader world and expanded the range of festive activities. These changes have enriched the Christmas experience for people in rural areas served by electric utilities like Dawson PPD. But we’re missing the sense of community by not gathering as families and as friends.
Intentionally staying connected with friends and family in the age of technology is crucial for maintaining meaningful relationships. How can we do this?
Start with handwritten letters or cards which will add a personal touch to the interaction. Don’t underestimate the power of a simple phone call. Plan visits and get togethers in person whenever possible. Remember special occasions and reach out personally. These gestures show you care. Respect each other’s boundaries but it’s important to share experiences, much like we used to share recipes.
If maintaining relationships is challenging due to geographics, technological, or other factors, consider professional help to navigate any conflicts. And if you haven’t heard from a specific someone in a long time, take it upon yourself to reach out.
Lastly, show open appreciation for your loved ones regularly. Remember that maintaining connections with friends and family takes effort, but the rewards in terms of stronger, enduring relationships are well worth it. Use technology as a tool to facilitate these connections but be sure to strike a balance between the digital and in-person aspects of your relationships.
From my family to yours, wishing you a very Merry Christmas and blessings in the new year. (P.S. Merry Christmas Uncle Robert!)
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