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EndNotes

WEDNESDAY, DEC. 21, 2011, 9:37 A.M.

Holiday Affair

One of the large Christmas displays in Spokane in 1958 was the huge Christmas tree made up of lights at the Crescent Department Store on West Riverside Avenue. The tree was about 75 feet high and used 4,500 lights. (Photo Archive / The Spokesman-Review)
One of the large Christmas displays in Spokane in 1958 was the huge Christmas tree made up of lights at the Crescent Department Store on West Riverside Avenue. The tree was about 75 feet high and used 4,500 lights. (Photo Archive / The Spokesman-Review)

While writing out Christmas cards and channel surfing last night, I happened upon the 1949 film Holiday Affair on TCM. It's about a widow torn between two men at Christmas. She has a son. Her husband has died in World War II.

It's not one of the classics of Christmas, though it has a following of some kind. But I watched it until the end, mesmerized by Christmas past when department stores were huge, when little boys prayed for toy trains because all the adults rode in real trains (the final scene takes place on a New York-California train on New Year's Eve, party in the train!)

The scenes moved slowly, as they did in old movies. And of course, it was in black and white.

A few years ago, when I did a story on the Crescent Department store of old and its famous Christmas decorations, one of the psychologists I interviewed told me the word nostalgia is not a warm and fuzzy word. Indeed, it's formed from two Greek roots. One means "return home." The other "pain."

I went to bed feeling a little blue, filled with nostalgia for Christmases in a simpler time. For lives lived in slower scenes, for the golden era of trains.  

Which Christmas movies evoke nostalgia for you?

(Christmas Tree at Crescent Department store, 1958, from S-R archives)




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Spokesman-Review features writer Rebecca Nappi, along with writer Catherine Johnston of Olympia, Wash., discuss here issues facing aging boomers, seniors and those experiencing serious illness, dying, death and other forms of loss.