The Archivist: Oklahoma's Christmases past focus on giving and generosity

Mary Phillips: Spirit of generosity was focus of 1911 column in The Oklahoman about help during the holidays.
BY MARY PHILLIPS mphillips@opubco.com Modified: December 15, 2012 at 6:11 pm •  Published: December 17, 2012

Thesaurus.com defines generosity as “the spirit of giving.”

It seems that Oklahomans have always been generous.

We rise to the occasion when a need is presented to us.

Whether it is providing care and support for the rescue teams that helped after the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building bombing, or the helping tornado victims clean up after the storms or bringing a can of food for the Oklahoma City Food Bank, or donating their time and efforts, Oklahomans reach out and help.

The Oklahoman's Dec. 17, 1911, society column began with this item. It illustrates that spirit of generosity that I think Oklahomans still share today.

“Never in the history of the city has there been such a manifestation of the true spirit of Christmas tide as this season, when the world of society, the world of the prosperous and fortunate is turning its attention, not so much toward the giving of gifts to equally fortunate, but to the giving of happiness and good cheer to those less well provided with the goods of this world.

“Baskets of provisions, bundles of toys for children and clothing for old and young are being collected by some of the busiest women in society.

“Others are lending their carriages and automobiles to collect these things and to distribute them among the homes for which they are intended.

“Many a child with its feet on the cold ground will receive a substantial pair of shoes. Many a shivering form will be protected with warm clothing as the result of the efforts of the kindly women who are preparing to bless with comforts the desolate homes of this city.

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