My aunt and uncle were, by Muncie standards, pretty wealthy folks – not super wealthy, like the Ball Family, (Ball Brothers) but “well off.”
In the mid-1950s they built a new house in the then-radical Mid-Century modern style, using lots of redwood and Indiana limestone. The living room was 40′ by 40′, gigantic for the time and place.
They had a huge limestone fireplace, and a fire crackled in it all through the holidays. The Christmas tree was always on one side or the other of that fireplace, and I spent a lot of happy times there, gazing into the fire, the lights of the tree twinkling at the corner of my eye, and Aunt Sally’s vast vinyl album collection of Christmas carols – Der Bingle featured heavily – playing on the hi-fi (remember hi-fis?)
When I got into my early teens, I discovered a talent for wrapping Christmas gifts. My uncle gave out a lot of business-oriented gifts, and he hired me to wrap them at a buck a box. One year I made more than a hundred bucks doing that.