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Christmas in New Fairfield
February 5, 2017
Members of the New Fairfield Volunteer Fire Company, organized in 1936, began the tradition of giving a Christmas party for all the children in town from about the early 1940s to the early 1950s. In the beginning it was held in the Town Hall.
Before renovations were made to accommodate all the offices as we know it now there was a large hall on the right as you came in the front door. The room had a small stage at one end and was used for many functions including town meetings, square dances and other social events.
Every child enrolled in the New Fairfield Consolidated School through the 8th grade was invited until that became too many and then the invitation went only through the 5th grade. Santa (Henry Bischoff) was assisted by the firemen as he gave each child a wrapped gift, a box of hard candy with a string handle and an orange. Some years a little tin bank was also given, as Santa (H.B.) worked for American Can Company and they provided the banks.
When the attendance outgrew the Town Hall it was held at Consolidated School. The evening included the singing of holiday tunes and perhaps a skit or two before Santa arrived. Mom and Dad could either go to Danbury to do their gift shopping or place an order to Montgomery Ward or Sears Roebuck Company. Both companies had sent out a Christmas Wish Book weeks earlier and the children had turned page after page of toys and voiced their wishes for what they would really, really love until the pages were rather tattered.
Christmas cards were sent to family and friends and the postage stamp was three cents. Two new toys in 1947 were the Slinky and Silly Putty. Howdy Doody was the first television show targeted towards children featuring Buffalo Bob Smith and it ran until 1960. Of course Mom and Dad could be wishing for perhaps a new car for Dad at a cost of $1,300 and Mom would enjoy any new electric appliance for her kitchen.