Christmas in Danvers: 1971

Christmas in Danvers, 1971: gift suggestions from local merchants and Christmas controversy at the Danvers Public Schools.

Have you ever stopped to think about how Christmas has changed over the years?

Unless you have the incredible hindsight of columnist Laura Hinds, sometimes it's hard to remember what past Christmases looked, felt, and even smelled like.

So, for the week leading up to Christmas, we've done our research and are providing a daily look back at what Christmas in Onion Town was like, starting with sixty years ago, 1951, and ending with twenty years ago, 1991.

In the meantime, we want you to tell us what your favorite memories of Christmas in Danvers are. A ? The best present you ever received (or gave?) Let us know in the comments.

This Week in Danvers History: Christmas 1971

  • Should a Jewish pupil in the have to write an essay on "What Christmas Means to Me?" The answer was 'no,' in 1971, according to Danvers school officials. School Superintendent Eugune Crowell was quoted stating, "Through designs and programs we try to stress the spirit rather than the religious nature of Christmas." 
  • Suburban Quality Shop on Maple Street had a list of gift ideas for mothers and fathers in town. Mothers ideas included jewelry, boxed stationery, colonial pine accessories, clocks, candy dishes, brass bowls, milk glasses, and hummel figures. For dads the list included key cases, office supplies, scenic desk calendars, and bar accessories. 
  • Hunt Hospital brightened up the season for its nurses with a holiday tea party in their honor. Patients received additional treats, as well as a musical program and a festive roast turkey dinner on Christmas day.
  • A Christmas concert performed by the Beverly Men's Singing club benefitted the 's 300th anniversary fund. During the intermission folks had an opportunity to check out the newly remodeled sanctuary.
  • The traditional Christmas tree in Danvers Square was a 20-foot Norway Spruce, donated by Walter Stone of 8 Morningside Drive.

Christmas History:

William Laforme December 21, 2011 at 07:39 PM
I remember Suburban Quality - that place was one of my mom's favorites back in the 70s. We used to live on Berry St. nearby for a time.
priscilla herrick` December 21, 2011 at 08:01 PM
Suburban's was a real "specialty" stationary and gift shop. Always fun to go in there and find unique things. However, back in 1951 we had many other choices for shoppping during Christmas. W, W. Woolworth's, Almy's, Nesson's, And the Western Auto Toy Catalog was poured over for weeks ahead. I remember when every school child got a coupon to take downtown on the day that Santa would arrive. It would be turned in at the specified location for a bag of hard candy. Then off to the Chamber of Commerce building to visit with Santa where we would get a small gift and a candy cane. Those days were so safe that the downtown was filled with elementary school children and nary a parent to be seen.
Michael J Bourgault December 22, 2011 at 09:53 PM
This was the year I graduated from Essex Agricultural & Technical Institute. I liked to shop at "Suburban's Quality Gifts", they always seemed to have just the right special gift's to purchase for my Mom.


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