Community Christmas Festivities From a Half-Century Ago

CHRISTMAS 2020 is drawing near. Today, we are sharing Clinch Valley Times archival photos from the Christmas seasons of 1970 and 1971. In those days, festivities tended to be more communal and less individual than today.

Many of the people who appear in these photos were well-known in our community and have since gone to their reward. We are thankful they were part of our lives and hope we may live up to the standard they set.

In time, organizers of St. Paul’s Christmas parade learned that it was a good idea for the high school marching bands to precede the horses….
A 1970 Christmas banquet for members of the St. Paul Volunteer Fire Department and their families.
These future St. Paul Deacons posed for this photo in December of 1970
St. Paul’s 1971 Community Christmas Tree being erected near the St. Paul Waterworks on Russell Street.

The St. Paul Lions Club was very active in supporting efforts for community betterment – for both individuals and for businesses. The organizatiton’s extant records are a testament to the public spirt of its members. The following article is from the CVT’s November 1971 archives:

COMMUNITY CHRISTMAS SHARING MEETING, THURSDAYChurches, Civic Groups, Businesses, Individuals can Help…

Mr. Greek Boyer, chairman of the Community Christmas Sharing project for 1971, said this week that another meeting of the organization has been set for Thursday, Dec. 9th, at the St. Paul Lions Den. The meeting will get underway at 7:00 p.m.

Boyer said that all church groups, civic organizations, businesses, and individuals wishing to help this year should attend the meeting.

In past years around 90 families have received Christmas baskets in the way of food orders, toys, and clothing. Churches are being asked to put on drives for toys, as well as asking for contributions in the way of money to help finance the drive for funds for food orders.

Business places having usable toys are being asked to donate the same for the project.

Several individuals in the past have made donations in the way of food, clothing, and money to help, and Boyer asks that all groups cooperate in this effort.

Boyer reminds those that do contribute, that such contributions are tax deductible.

Making pledges so far have been the St. Paul Methodist Church, St. Therese Catholic Church, Clinchfield Coal Co., and Stewart Publishing Co.

Boyer said that names are now pouring in for Christmas baskets and that more help will probably be needed this year than has been the case in the past. He urges those interested in helping to do so at once.

Baskets and food orders will be distributed on December 23 at the Lions Den.

In this 1971 photo of the Lions Club Christmas banquet, H. B. “Fats” Whitenack and his daughter Beckey are pictured at left. Beyond them are Darwin and Virginia Gillenwater. At right are Lou and Rita Verno.
Other participants in the 1971 Lions Club Christmas banquet included Fred and “Teeny” Matthews and Virginia Counts, pictured at center. Mrs. Counts taught piano to generations of local youngsters.
Allen and Ann Gregory, long-term publishers of the Cinch Valley Times, were among those enjoying the festivities at the 1971 Lions Club Christmas banquet. We miss them.
Miss Mary Virginia Fletcher and others are seen here enjoying a 1970 Christmas Banquet at (I think) the Morefield Methodist Church.
A 1970 Christmas banquet for PTA members.
Celebrating Christmas at the St. Paul United Methodist Church, 1970.
A 1970 church Christmas pageant. The location is unknown.



The secret of happiness lies in helping others. Lord, make us ever mindful of the needs of those less fortunate than ourselves.

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