How We Keep Christmas: For Dear Old Ladies 1922

Hello Friends!

The second installment of the “How We Keep Christmas” series is a story that was shared by Mrs. Mary Buttner of Ohio. In 1922 she and her family wanted to do something to make Christmas special for “someone who truly hungered for a little Christmas spirit.” After running an ad in a local city’s newspaper “for a homeless old lady to spend Christmas” with them, the Buttner’s invited five of the loneliest ladies who applied. She reported that it “was the happiest and most wonderful Christmas” her family had ever had. Their guests were equally joyful.

Wishing you and yours a Christmas season filled with joy!


CHRISTMAS is always to us the most beautiful time of the year, the one time when we strive to make peace and contentment abide within our four walls. It has always seemed so much a children’s day and we always make the little one’s hearts happy and we as a family are happy. Last year, I wished particularly to make someone who truly hungered for a little Christmas spirit, happy too. So, I advertised in the daily paper of a nearby city, for a homeless old lady to spend Christmas with us. We were simply deluged with answers. How many unhappy lonely old souls there are in a city hungering for a little affection and love! Instead of just one, I took five of the loneliest, homeless old ladies, I ever met. Two of them lived in rented rooms in town and three were inmates of an aged women’s home.

Women’s Winter Gloves 1927

I had the house decorated with loads of evergreen, gay bright tissue, and a wonderful Christmas tree, and instead of spending my Christmas money on my friends and relatives, who did not need it, I spent it on lovely needle cases, nice gloves, and pretty stationery for my adopted Grannies, and hung each present on the tree in the prettiest Christmas package I could contrive.

Swift Premium Ham Ad 1920s

We had a real “farm” Christmas dinner and what a wonderful time our guests had helping get it ready!

Truly it was the happiest and most wonderful Christmas we ever spent. Those old ladies were as enthusiastic over and truly delighted with their gifts as any child. Their thanks were not the conventional expression of grateful friends but was the true spontaneous expression of happy hearts.

To prove to you what a success it was, we are planning the same kind of a Christmas this year, only we are going to add a few Grandpapas to the list if we can find them. –Mary E. Buttner, Ohio

The article above was originally published in The Farmer’s Wife–A Magazine For Farm Women, December 1922; Webb Publishing Company, St. Paul, Minnesota. Articles may be edited for length and clarity.

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