The 1950 House Chronicle offers us this glimpse into Christmas Past:

Christmas Program  December 21 was a joyous day for the friars.  This day marked the close of the first semester and the opening of two weeks of vacation.  In the evening the Friars Songaleers made their first appearance.  As the programs stated: “The Friars Songaleers are a group of volunteers shanghaied from every class of theologians, who forcibly devote their services free of charge, after the manner of ‘comrades of Uncle Joe.’”  They were Father Valerian, and fraters John Baptist, Sigmund, Baldwin, Harvey, Rene, Alcuin, Roger, Eugene, Matthew and Anscar.  Frater Carmel was at the piano and frater Capistran directed.  The program consisted of Santa Clause is Comin’ to Town, sung by all the members of the family.  Then the Songaleers gave us Nazareth, The Winter Song, White Christmas, and Fred Waring’s Twas the Night Before Christmas.  The program was exceptionally well done, especially the last mentioned number.  After the songs, Father Guardian gave gifts to the family.  As he finished, Santa himself appeared and presented Father Guardian with a gift.  Frater Canice was behind the whiskers.

Christmas Present has its share of joyous celebrations, too.

Friday, December 18th was a joyous day for one of the members of our family.  It marked the last day of the first semester for Tracy, and the beginning of a lengthy vacation from school, although he has a number of projects on his “To Do” list that he wants to accomplish before he returns to school in a month.  Sunday was the virtual commencement ceremony, marking the completion of one of Tracy’s two long-sought degree programs.

Tuesday, December 22nd was another joyous day, this time for our family Christmas celebration.   No volunteers were shanghaied or forcibly devoting their services in order to provide and prepare food for the potluck dinner: all contributions to our meal were cheerfully and graciously offered for everyone’s enjoyment.   And enjoy them we all did!  There was more than enough to eat, and everything was delicious.  Dinnertime was filled with story-sharing, laughter, and joyous fellowship.   For our entertainment, JustBob again provided his 1950-style mono-phonograph, Marge and Tracy brought a stack of vintage Christmas albums stored in the Residents’ hall, and Jackie H. brought the records of trains that she had acquired here after the transition.   Jackie K. played Santa Claus (sans whiskers) and distributed gifts to all of the family members from Fr. Bob (he shopped VERY early), from the Board of Directors and from herself.   Tracy served as representative of the St. Anthony elves and gave Danny a gift, too.  And even though Jain and Cecilia were not able to be with us in person, they were surely with us in spirit.  Like the Christmas program of 1950, the entire 2020 celebration was exceptionally well done, and a true community effort.

While none of us know what Christmas Future holds for us, we all hope for many more celebrations full of family, fellowship, community, joy, laughter and sharing.  For all the gifts of Christmas – past, present and future – we say Deo Gratias!