DECEMBER 26, 1946
HYDE PARK, Wednesday—I want to begin my column today with warm and sincere thanks to the many, many people who have sent me Christmas cards with such kind messages and good wishes for me and mine.
We have had a festive Christmas season with four grandchildren to bring us gaiety. Yesterday we carried out the old custom of a party on Christmas Eve for our close neighbors on the place. Today is given over to the children and the family. Last evening we read Dickens' "Christmas Carol" and hung the stockings by the fireplace. This morning we were all on hand to see what Santa Claus had managed to bring down the chimney, which fortunately is of ample size.
Christmas dinner is at noon so that all of the children may be included, and late this afternoon we will gather a second time around the tree to receive our personal gifts and sing the Christmas carols which all of us love.
Some of us went to the midnight service in the little old Episcopal Chapel in the village last night and heard many of the same carols sung, but one never hears them too often at the Christmas season. This year my sister-in-law, Mrs. J. R. Roosevelt, could not join us, and so we managed to take the children over to see her in order to bring her into the circle of youthful enjoyment for a few minutes.
Tomorrow afternoon our children will be hosts at the party for the youngsters from Wiltwyck School who were not able to go home for Christmas, and that will bring our own personal Christmas festivities to an end.
I am so glad that it is possible for us to spend these days from Christmas through New Year's Day in the country. There is something about the serenity and beauty of a countryside in winter which even my view of Washington Square in New York City does not quite reproduce. I never cease to marvel at the varying beauty of the seasons. I know that I would not want to live where the changes are not so marked as they are in this part of the country. To progress into the spring and see the stark architectural lines of a tree, beautiful in its nakedness against the blue sky, gradually change as the buds come out, until it is fully clothed in its summer garment, is one of the really exciting experiences of life. The murmur of the brook under the ice in winter, the little animal marks on the new and untouched snowfall—all of these things are joys which only the country can give us; and only our own somewhat rigorous climate can provide us with the changes and varieties which make every season a new and fascinating experience.
For our life in the country, and for children and some part of the family and dear friends in the house at this season, I am deeply thankful.