A sample of Christmas cheer from 110 years ago: The article describes festivities in the mill town adjacent to Proximity Mill, part of Greensboro's Cone Mills. The advertisement that follows shows post-holiday bargains at Greensboro's Harry-Belk Brothers Store (later Belk).
Both are from the Christmas Day, 1901, issue of The Greensboro Patriot and are part of the Patriot digitization project, which should be completely online by the summer of 2012.
Christmas at Proximity
At no place in North Carolina is there more Christmas cheer than at Proximity, Greensboro's suburban mill town. The enjoyment began Friday afternoon, when the Proximity graded school closed tor the holiday vacation Under the direction of the principal, Mis, McMasters, and her three assistants, an enjoyable program had been arranged and was carried out in a most creditable manner. The exercises consisted of songs, recitations, etc., by the school children, who gave evidence of the most careful training.
But the most enjoyable feature of the occasion came after the children had entertained the crowd with their speeches and recitations. When it was anoouiced that Santa Claus had arrived two hundred bright young fnces were turned toward the stage, and when Kris pulled back the curtain and disclosed a beautiful Christmas tree two hundred pairsof eyes sparkled In childish joy.- The tree, lighted by dozens of tiuy candles, was ladened with fruits, candies, toys and other presents. There was a package of fruit and candy and a nice present for each child. And for those childeren who had not missed a day nor been tardy during the school term therewere extra presents, given as rewardsfor faithful attendance and work.
The Christmas tree was made possible by the generosity of Mr. Ceasar Cone, who bought and paid for the gifts. He directed the teachers to prepare as nice a tree as possible and to see that not a single child was neglected. That his thoughtful kindness was appreciated by the little tots and their parents goes without saying.
The older people had their inning Monday afternoon, when a nice fat turkey was left at each of the 250 homesof the Proximity mill operatives. The turkeys also were the gift of the mill management.
The mill closed Monday evening to give the thousand operatives a three days' Christmas vacation. Monday night the Proximity Comedy Club gave a minstrel performance for the benefit of the Proximity band. The entertainment was very creditable and netted the band a nice sum.
Harry-Belk Brothers Ad