December 2020 by Bruce Eaton
From the very beginning of The Gardens, the residents have banded together to help create community-oriented events that we still enjoy today. This holiday season, after we have been through a very difficult year, we wanted to take a look back at an early experience of a then-new Gardens family. And special thanks to the Celebrations Association of FHG who have run the Christmas Eve celebrations in our community, adapting with the times, for more than 100 years.
This is a condensed version of an article in the December 13, 1919 edition of the Forest Hills Gardens Bulletin, published by the Sage Foundation Homes Corporation.
“3 years ago this month, Mrs. Abbott and I with our two children moved into our new house on Greenway South. As is the case in all new houses, there were innumerable things to be done in the way of finishing it and putting it in order. The place was new and strange. But all the same, we meant to make our Christmas as joyous and had been for many years in a community where we had many friends. On Christmas Eve, I was at work in my shirt-sleeves helping Mrs. Abbott put up and arrange the Christmas tree in our living room. The children had all gone to bed full of excited anticipation . . .
. . . Suddenly, at about 9, I heard the faint sound of chimes in the distance. . . . the Chimes grew louder and nearer and looking out of the window, I saw the lights and heard voices singing Christmas carols. The Waits! I exclaimed to myself. That delightful Old English custom!
We hurriedly called the children. They pressed their faces against the glass. The procession drew near. It turned the corner. Oh joy! Wonder of Wonders! It stops right in front of the house! A tall Santa Claus comes up the walk; enters the front door; steps into living room and hands each of the astonished and overjoyed children a little gift.
As he disappears the procession with its’ twinkling lights and happy laughter moves on and the chimes and the carols grow fainter and fainter on the crisp and wintry air. It was affecting and cheering and warming than I can tell you. The children never ceased to talk about it. Never was a stranger so delightfully welcome to a new home.
. . . I hope this pleasant custom will long continue to be a feature of the community life of Forest Hills Gardens.
Lawrence F Abbott”
If you would like to read the entire passage and the Gardens bulletin, here is a link: http://foresthillsgardensfoundation
Christmas Tree in Station Square, December 1917