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Old-time Christmas
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Christmas isn't what it used to be -- driving SUVs to crowded malls to buy electronic gizmos to stick under artificial trees. Give me an old fashioned Christmas like the ones I used to know.

Driving a Volkswagon Beatle through the white and drifted snow put one in touch with the winter season. The heater used to blow flakes into the interior and everyone emerged with rosy cheeks at the shopping center.

Those quaint old shopping centers had real stores. You needed to go outside to visit each one. They weren't just big rooms all under the same roof. It's just not Christmas without icy sidewalks and rock salt stains on your shoes.

And none of this tree in a box, some assembly required rubbish. If you wanted a tree in the old days you had to trek through the wilderness of the Agway parking lot to make a selection. When you got home you needed to hack the bottom of the trunk to make it fit the tree stand.

Then there are today's electronic games? Where's the holiday spirit in that? An electric speedway race car there's a gift that says Noel.

Eveything these days is too far removed from nature. When I lived in New York City I turned on my good old fashion black and white television set and while carols played in the background watched a grainy picture -- just like grandada used to see -- of a real burning yule log. Kids today don't even know what a yule log is. Or a black and white tv.

No, the holidays aren't what they used to be. Even the aftermath is different. If you overspent and were late with a department store payment you'd receive a little note, which typically began "Maybe you forgot?" Do you remember polite bill collectors? That was a long time ago.

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