It is a well-known fact that nobody does Christmas better than Montana. We have to since otherwise the length and severity of winter might prove to be too much for us; when nine months of the year are short, dark, and cold, well, we just have to make Christmas and New Years appropriately festive to survive it.
Witness the gorgeous splendor of Billings's Christmas decorations circa 1935: greenery is draped across over North Broadway, lined with big, twinkling ball lights, while the electric lights on the street itself burst through the winter night. The busy street is lined with parked cars (including one that seems to be double-parked, but hey, it's Christmas) as shoppers and diners pack into the stores and restaurant. Christmas music and the brassy sound of Tommy Dorsey, and Artie Shaw would have been heard in every store and bar. Though we can't see any human figures in the din of lights and cars, it's easy to imagine a few wide-eyed children staring in at window displays of toy horses, kewpie dolls, Mickey Mouses, wooden ducks drawn by a string, and, naturally, big shiny red BB guns.
And after Christmas there was New Years, which would have been no less resplendent.
In February and March, as blizzards blasted the eastern plains of Montana, memories of these few lovely weeks kept a smile on the chapped faces of folks who may well have been getting a little tired of all the winter by then. For the children, those Christmas toys, if not already broken by their overeager fingers, helped prolong that feeling the whole year round.
We hope your Christmas and New Years are wonderful and bright, Montana. Thank you for being there for us, and we'll endeavor to do the same for you.