Place item was collected
Christine D. Hamilton
Point of Discovery/Informant Bio
Christine D. Hamilton is a mother of seven. At 66 years-old, she is a grandmother and great grandmother to many grandchildren. Christine immigrated from England when she was still an infant, eventually settling in Provo, Utah. Christine is proud of her British heritage and is happy to share her experiences growing up in an immigrant household. Christine is my grandmother from my maternal side of the family. With her husband Ron Hamilton, Christine lives in the suburbs on the west side of Logan, Utah.
I interviewed Christine in her cozy home in Logan, Utah on November 4, 2018. She was sitting in her office working on adding to her family history work. Decorating her office are the various objects from England she has collected over the years. When asked about any memorable traditions she had growing up, Christine thought for a minute, smiled, and began talking about Christmas traditions. While Christine was growing up in Provo Utah, her father worked for Geneva Steel. Christine vividly remembers that every year her family received lots of Christmas cards from her father’s work. Sending Christmas cards was a big tradition for Geneva Steel, so many of the employees gave one out. Christine explains that to best honor those the cards came from; her parents would hang the cards on the side of all the doors in the house. This tradition is significant, as my grandma never passed this on to any of her children or grandchildren before. By aiding this custom to the achieves this tradition is preserved.
My mom always did a decoration around the doorways. Back then my dad worked for Geneva Steel. Almost everybody in our neighborhood worked there. There dads... all worked there. It was kind of a middle... middle class income neighborhood. Uh… especially after the war, the second World War. Uh the wages were good; the men didn’t need to have a lot of education just coming out of the war. But um everybody knew everybody at the steel plant, and they all sent cards to everybody. Come Christmas we would get 100-200 cards. It was different that what it is now. So, in order to display all the cards, my mom would get rickrack, which is a kind of a trim that use to be popular. And it… she could thread each of the cards on the rickrack and then just attach the rickrack around the doors. The rickrack is kind of like a ribbon, only it is heavier, and it’s kind of like in little V shapes, and V shapes, and V shapes. And so, you could anchor the cards on a V shape, so it wouldn’t slide down, and then put it around your door ways. And so most of the doorways in our home were trimmed with all these cards. I remember this being really fun. To see the cards that we got, and to have them on display that way.
While talking about her childhood home during Christmas, Christine smiled a lot. She was very excited to share these experiences with me. It had been a very long time since she had the opportunity to share these memories with someone. This tradition is not used by my mom or her siblings. It is likely that this tradition would have been forgotten when my grandmother passes away. This tradition grants insight into customs utilized in the life of those who worked at Geneva steel after World War II.
Lynne S. McNeil
Semester and year
Cook, Wesley, "Christmas Card Door" (2018). USU Student Folklore Fieldwork. Paper 492.