DECEMBER 22, 1939
HYDE PARK, Thursday—After supper Tuesday night, Miss Thompson and I came to New York City. Yesterday was a very busy day there. We even had guests for breakfast! Then, at 11:00 o'clock, I went up to the Women's Trade Union League club house to make sure that all the preparations for the afternoon party were made. Then I went back to my apartment to lunch with a guest, and next spent an hour on a project which I have been asked to work on with two of the editors of Good Housekeeping Magazine. Then back to the Women's Trade Union League club house at 3:30 for the annual party for 35 youngsters.
First we had a magic show and then ice cream and cake. Last of all came the gifts and Merry Christmases which we wished each other as the children were shepherded home by their parents or friends. I always like this party and hope that it brings some real enjoyment to lives that must be drab and dreary in spite of the valiant efforts of their parents.
The day ended very peacefully and pleasantly with a dinner and a long evening spent with a friend. This morning I travelled back by train to Hyde Park, where I am spending one more day before returning to Washington tomorrow with Anna and John.
I think one of the most pleasant Christmas customs which seems to be growing in the country, is the lighting of the evergreen trees either on the porches or yards of the houses. I noticed it from the train the other night, and also when I drove up and down both city and country roads. I always enjoy driving past the big tree in Rockefeller Center Plaza in New York City and seeing the lights outside the various churches. I wish we followed that, in more places, the custom of lighting candles in our homes on Christmas Eve and welcoming bands of carol singers.
I remember the glimpses of this custom, which I saw on Beacon Hill in Boston one year, and I think it is one of the nicest customs of the Christmas season and should be preserved. The light is to guide the stranger to a haven of warmth and comfort on Christmas Eve and should remind us of the welcome the Christ Child offers to saint and sinner alike.
I must remind my readers again this year, that by applying to colleges or the "Y's," we may, if we so desire, entertain some foreign student in our home on Christmas Day. Perhaps this student has never been in an American home before and is alone in this country at this season. It is an opportunity which these young people have greatly appreciated in the past years, and I hope that each year an increasing number will find a warm welcome in some American home.