Shipments were heavy around Christmas time. So my grandfather and uncles who worked on the Jersey City docks had lots of cheap fun stuff to bring home to our tenement. The most memorable were the pink plastic umbrellas from China which didn't last more than a month.
To keep our business the butcher, baker and candle stick-maker knew to give kids freebies.
The Manhattan offices where my grandmother and mother cleaned allowed the help to cart home leftover sweets from parties and secretaries who baked up a storm.
My father who booked the "numbers" got plenty of bottles of cheap whisky. The family drunks were set.
We seemed to have enough quarters to adopt pagan babies in far off lands where the Mary-Knoll missionaries sometimes got eaten by those who wouldn't accept Christ.
At Christmas mass we thanked the Mother of Baby Jesus we didn't live in the projects or a trailer park.
Someday they would call where we did live The Hood. After, like the Jeffersons, we went Movin' On Up, I kept chasing what used to be Christmas back then. I never found it. That is, the total joy of relishing what I had.