On this regional public affairs program, a sound portrait of the business of Christmas, with the shopping for gifts a core part of the holiday season. Program includes various interviews and comments from holiday shoppers, business owners, toy makers, department store Santas, credit services, a reminiscence from local resident.
Dayton’s department store is highlighted.
Read the Text Transcription of the Audio.
Every year all this year. I will probably spend more night last year, maybe the neighborhood of 85 $90 that's supposed how much normally ballpark figure to spend on Christmas New Road of $100. It would be a lot more if we didn't do a lot of making up gifts this year. If you make $320 I used to spend seven or eight hundred was it Financial reality that made you cut down not exactly. Circumstances this year is going to be expensive probably $1,000 or $300 by the time everyone is considered we have five children. I probably spend at least $100. Oh, yeah, you sound upset about it. It's just you know, the spirit of it is nice and it's you know, you want to get things for people and that everything is so expensive. You can't go out and get something nice for somebody without spending, you know, at least 10-15 bucks person and that gets a little bit silly of me enjoying what I'm giving them. I always go overboard on my own children. What about 400 bucks? Not that much, maybe three three three three and four, but I wouldn't go that expense again. How big are Christmas bonuses? Christmas shoppers and music from the Salvation Army Band of Saint Paul. There's no doubt. The most of us Christmas requires a sizable expenditure gifts for friends and relatives. Sometimes it almost seems as if we're trying to outdo each other with more and better gifts. So some of us up for Alternatives this year. I've imposed a limit on my Christmas presents. Don't go over $10 or else I'll be making them myself. As opposed to what would you spend in past Christmases? I just decided which member of the family friends and this year. I just decided that I'm getting caught in a shopping jams a Dayton's and that type of thing has never enhance my Christmas only sort of frustrated being that I get it to come into competitive shopping with myself is very simple things on sewing a few things making some Paddington Bear's for nice food gifts. Quilting a few things like that. That won't cost me much money. What's the most you've ever spent on a Christmas gift? $50 - $50 Christmas gifts occasionally I make cookie. Well last year, I made my father a bathroom. Define as you get more satisfaction out of doing that than buying a gift. Do you ever have to go to death in the death of Finance Christmas? Credit plans charge accounts and borrowing are all helpful. For those of us who buy gift. It becomes easier and easier to postpone the actual bill paying or spread it out over a few months time. Some people don't trust themselves with a credit card or a department store charge account. And sometimes it comes down to a question of will power versus the urge to buy one person who manages a credit card office in Minneapolis told us that midwesterners handle that conflict relatively. Well we're saying is rather conservative buyers who can deal with credit without going overboard that assessment is born out by Jim dirlam director of credit services for the Dayton's department stores who says all buying increases around the holiday season, but no one type of buying outgrows the others cash customers are buying more on cash. and I think that we we know that credit customers are also cash customers. They may choose to to buy a $20 item by charging at 10 to buy a $10 item by writing a check or paying cash. I think the reason that Merchants offer credit programs is that customers want them? And if you restrict your credit program or if you did away with credit programs, no and customers doing fact once credit go to stores that continue to have credit programs one disadvantage of buying on credit is that the bills eventually catch up with us with so many unpaid accounts after Christmas. We wondered if dirlam finds that many people have problems paying. You're very very cute. People have a serious problem. But a lot of people have a minor problem. describe a minor problem for me and I I can only pay $40 or can only pay $30 and so they pay the 30 or $40. They don't pay the full minimum. but then they'd be in February or March they get their income tax refund and they bring their caught up to date on credit plans because customers want them and if the credit wasn't available at his store the people would go elsewhere, but there is also a financing charge that department stores apply to credit purchases that you started with a zero balance and that you paid $10 a month and made no other purchases the total finance charge on that would be in the area of $5.50 roughly because we would be charging 1% per month. on the declining balance At the first month, you know that your bill there's no finance charge then the second month. It would be a finance charge on the average daily balance, you know, if you paid $10 a day during the month, we would be charging a 1% finance charge on 95, which would be $9.95 How did the second month of might be $0.85 in the third month $0.75 etcetera right on down the line and since it's always on the average daily balance, you know, you're not always paying on $100. And I is I remember that confrontation comes out somewhere between 5 and 1/2 and $6 finance charges. I see what you know that doesn't seem like very much for $100 purchase, especially if you're losing money on it you would make money on file charges. We would have to have a finance charge of about 1.6% per month. As a businessman, I would be hesitant to to continue the service if that was the case. you know how somewhere over half of retail merchandise sales are done on a credit base. And so that becomes a cost of doing business. I suppose that that's that's eventually reflected in the retail price then. There's there's no doubt about that. I think there's been some some rather exhausted studies in the state of Washington in the state of Arkansas on which have similar a low finance charge rates that would indicate that Jim dirlam director of credit services for the Dayton's department stores department store support a bill, which is in the Minnesota Legislature that bill would increase the annual rate of interest on financing charges from 12% to 18% Once the amount of interest you owe under the 18% figure totals $15 the rate of interest would revert back to its current 12% level gym waffler a researcher for the Minnesota House of Representatives said this complicated proposal has been interpreted by some as simply a $15 charge for department store credit cards, the bill passed the full Senate during the 1977 session April come before the Minnesota house in 1978. This is the text of a letter sent to a customer of a loan company that operates in, Minnesota. It said it is getting close to Christmas and I wanted to let you know that your Christmas money is ready for you to pick up the person who received this letter didn't accept the invitation to borrow holiday money, but there are many who do Bob Larson works for Thorpe Financial Services in Minneapolis a company which makes small loans for Christmas buying we called him to inquire about business probably busy. We are there we do about 40% of our business from the 1st of November through the end of December and it just doesn't seem to stop it look like a bus station down here yesterday. I guess the Christmas advances are a very significant portion of our business talking about 40% between November and then did you say January or February? Well, if it really begins to pick up about mid-october and Doesn't really stop until about the first or second week of January. I think people become aware than a sale Bargains and are starting to think about their income taxes and so forth, but the majority of our requests have been Christmas advances Viet for presence of some kind or trips to see relatives or just in general household expenses that are incurred because of the holiday season. Even though our Christmas business gives us that extra boost. We still get the normal request for new cars new tracks consolidation loan requests the bill payer loans as we call him and a little bit of everything we I guess this is the time when people are starting to think about the new semester for the children in college and you still get a mixture but that the biggest boost is Definitely the the fact that stores are open later all of a sudden people need the money and they need it now and that's where we can then I guess so as far as your company is concerned financially very very important to you is very important very important. I think that it's not the type of thing that would knock us out of the water if it wasn't here, but it certainly Keeps Us on an even Keel and gives us that big boost that keeps the year going strong concerned are these hundreds of dollars that people are are borrowing in the thousands. Generally. What are you? What are you giving people a company that can land hundreds of dollars worth thousands of dollars? And right now I think the majority of our loans actually are up in the thousands of dollars. We have probably 50% of my loan requests are in excess of $2,000 involving either automobiles or consolidation loans or maybe large trips work or College tuition and the other 50% are in the three to $750 range where it's merely a surprise present for the wife or the husband some Appliance of some kind of Christmas presents for the kids were the advances small smaller advances. I would say that we get paid back and nose smaller advances probably within the next six to twelve months. They're the type that are paid off when the income tax check comes or wear when they at Yearly bonus gets sent down from on high and the rest of art are thousand-dollar dances are usually 2 to 3 year payback another generalization about the people that you're dealing with. Do you think that most of them are repeat customers and they come back every Christmas for an advance so that they can buy gifts or some of them new customers. We haven't seen before. I was just looking at a report this morning so far. Well in this month of December exactly half of my customers are new and I think we certainly do get a lot of repeat business. We in fact we thrive on the fact that our customers are happy with us and come back and see us again, but we get a lot of new new business referred by the customers we have for my other business people and always keep that new blood coming in and then next year they can become repeat business, you know. Bob Larson of Thorp Financial Services Economist and business people call the last 3 months of the year the fourth quarter this. Can spell boom-or-bust for the retailer because it is at this time that the all-important Christmas sales Kurt retailer should take heart this Christmas season according to dr. Sung won sohn Chief Economist for Northwestern National Bank of Minneapolis. Number one consumer. They've got the money the income growth has been fairly good but they have not been really spending that much aside from automobiles. So I think they've got the purchasing power ability to do it. Do they have the desire to spend the money. I think the reason answer to that is definitely yes. If you look at the consumer confidence, even though it has not been increasing recently, but the level I think it's pretty high and I don't expect a consumer confidence to deteriorate. So overall I think consumers are in good shape and they've got the reservoir of purchasing power. And I think that they will Express that in terms of dollar votes it rain to come in Christmas season. So I'm quite optimistic. Do you have any feedback from retailers? Have they been saying that they're experiencing Good Seasons us fire local level at the national level. Some of the chain stores have reported that retail sales are going pretty well locally. Also, I think a retail sales are in fact, if anything's better than the national average apartment because of the onset of a cold weather and that of course it encouraged many consumers to go out and buy items related to cold weather. And so I think we are doing quite well and I just like a person on a diet that is You do not diet 365 days a year. Maybe you die at two-thirds of the time but every once in awhile, you allow yourself the luxury of let's a hot fudge sundae or whatever and that is essentially I think what consumers are doing is still holding back and they want to make sure that they are getting their money's worth one day do part with their dollars. But when it comes to the Christmas time as you say, I think they are to Sonic stand indulging in spending spree and I don't think it is that bad at all what I think it is a good combination. We want the consumers to remain a reasonably cautious. But at the same time we want to spend them so that the economy can move up and they are actually doing that. So it would be possible to say that Christmas is a good indicator depending upon what consumers do of the rest of the year or the following year. As a matter of fact, I look at the Christmas sales. Leading good leading indicator of the following year. For instance since I am expecting a good season in 1977. I assume that is a harbinger of a better things to come in 1978. So that is correct. Again, if you go back to 1974 first half of the Earth by things weren't all that good. Is it possible to analyze where Christmas dollars are going at least in heavy amounts this Christmas? I think my guess is depth. A lot of that would go on to Furniture appliances and then some of the non-durable such as a clothing and shoes now I point out those items. Because in addition to the ability and the desire to spend those are the areas where they need to spend some money on because housing has been booming in the last couple of years, even though we might be near the pig and when also people move they need to purchase more household appliances Brown goods and white goods and I think that is going on and that they're going to spend the money they are going to spend it in these areas. And also of course apparel such as a clothing and shoes they are popular items during the Christmas season Dr. Sana Northwestern National Bank sounds bright economic forecast is translated into the purchasing power of thousands of eager consumers, ask any sales girl or there's a lot more people I mean sales is definitely have we keep track of our sales and you know, individually people are doing you know, a couple hundred dollars more everyday at least. $200 more each day. That comment from a footwear. We sales girl at Dayton's in Downtown Minneapolis in preparing this program. We talked to several Dayton's employees. There's a reason we felt the huge department store chains symbolize the best or the worst aspects of Christmas depending upon your Viewpoint. You might find Dayton's the best place to shop certainly you can purchase most anything there and there is a wide range of prices or you might be destroyed by the Christmas advertising and give purchasing that some contend the grade Christmas by placing too large and emphasis on material Goods, whatever your philosophical Outlook. It's clear that Merchants rely on Christmas sales and Dayton's is no exception says ETA Shepherd director of public relations for the Nicollet Mall store. Profit for the year is generally generated during that Christmas season from mid-november on to Christmas. Naturally the store projects the percent of increase they expect to have in the various departments and try to meet that expectation but generally speaking if if sales have been good in the fall, we are optimistic about a good Christmas season and and project accordingly Shepherd preparing for Christmas at Dayton's is a long and involved process that combines Financial Wizardry with a keen knowledge of what is popular what can be made popular and what will sell fashion director Karen bahnhof has her Christmas merchandise consists of winter wear and spring where rates of sale are projected on an item's popularity in past months and exact remembrance of what sold last Christmas and what we try to do and I advertising program is to announce important to our customer so that you'll see a lot of five and six, that's in the newspaper that have a trend message the trend might be gold jewelry. It might be soft dressy blouses it might be romance romantic sleepwear those large size as an out the trash we come back behind those ads with individual item at where we advertise specific items and smaller space at we together with merchants and sales promotion work closely to develop Trend names and Trend identification for merchandise, when we put our advertising packages together. We are conscious of supporting Trend ideas with that kind of merchandise and sale or sales promotion area also works on total store theme line such as the sounds of Christmas, which is this Christmas is Steamline and what it does is it allows us to pull all of our advertising into a simpler form it still all-day tania's weather in a 16 inch or 6 column have a like format a good Christmas season based on sales during the past eight or nine months this year. We had an incredibly in a good fall season, August and September, we're truly outstanding month's sales have certainly been adequate but I don't think you know, they have met the anticipation that we had based on a fall season that is contrary to a normal pattern of business where a strong third-quarter business generally indicates an extremely strong fourth-quarter business a sales sales are good, but I think at this point, you know, we are still in a waiting to see how for 1/4 will turn out perhaps this is a late Christmas and people I'm going to buy later another aspects of Lifestyle towards a natural things and maybe natural fibers are all in keeping with something of a simple lifestyle movement are more casual there. Perhaps a little bit more basic as people can attend to become involved in their immediate environment in their bodies in terms of consciousness of exercise is healthy diet to set up in the interest in natural Fabrications. Even natural coloration is really dominant and for fall 1977. We saw a strong reaction to 100% wool 100% cotton 100% See that trend is strong now and will become even stronger for spring 1978. To the consumer is yes interested in natural fabrication, and we do have that in a sad. Nowadays, it's easier to find a plastic soldier than the 10 ones in Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Suite a plastic toy that can be easily mass-produced is a less expensive toy and can be sold in Greater volume the child and Visions toys made by Santa Claus in a troop of elves in some remote north pole Workshop the adults. He's a vast industry serving that same demand. It's an industry that thrives at Christmas time from the department store shelf to the toy inventor. We talked with Charlie Gertz have Team Windsor a toy development company in st. Paul. He talked about the business is company successes such as the Nerf ball and a game called twister and he talked about some toys that have flopped. That's a self-propelled wheel. We call it Big slick. It has a rubber band in a wait inside which is an old concept awaited and take his kids. We may have put rubber bands around a pencil and they they take off on us and but we adapted it to a wheel and sold it to a company in the East they got rid excited about it's been a lot of money and had it ready for the Toy Show on February and it has been a colossal failure. It's not advertised. So the buyer from the store and the guy from Target or Dayton's or whatever it is goes in and when he goes to the Toy Fair, he looks at all these products and he hears that the company is going to put half a million dollars with advertising behind this one and a million happy hand that than 200,000 behind this and zero behind bass like and bakes like that is so you know, he he decides to buy the ones that are going to be advertised TV advertising got them terribly expensive and if you have a if you have a game what you want to sell a million units over a toy that you want to sell many you almost have to put a dollar. 50 Cent's $2 into each one of those and the price of each one of those units just for advertising and the consumer it's not going to spend a buck and a half for it. I think we're probably coming to a point in the business because everything is going to be so expensive that some new form of advertising is going to come up just going to have to be some other way of communicating to the consumer. What's in that package. We had an interesting situation if I'm a plug one of my products we work with a couple of guys who are college professors who have worked out a system of what I would call Domino engineering the product is called tip-overs and as you can see from the package here, it's he sets up chain reactions what these guys have to come up with is a weighted Domino, which they have gotten up at 9 and they have ways of instead of taking 20 Domino's in a line to make a turn. They can take four of them and make a right hand turn just by the way, they stack them together and Then they have going up go up a line up a set of stairs. If you don't wipe out the stairs help you through all of a sudden, you know, this that initial just pushed becomes an energy and it can move a bunch of them side-by-side and have a pass from one side of the table to the other a piece of you know, what sort of force of energy and when we are working with the manufacturer on this we are looking for ways to ever these happen to fit into the idea of those. I think we've all seen the smile said buttons or you know, when you walk by at a changes its face a rainy Sunday or you know, whatever it is and we we actually did some buttons showing these things falling down and we seriously thought about the possibility of putting on the side of the package. The visual of of what the product does which would reduce 2 maybe 15 or 20 cents the cost of advertising each one of these boxes as opposed to the normal 50 to a dollar Charlie gear shift in Windsor a company that invents toys what would happen to his company if there was no Christmas we probably have to figure out another way to deal with it. I'm sure you know we come up yet. I guess there'd be a way there be toys Christmas happens to be the the biggest vehicle for toys summer is another vehicle for toys for outdoor toys. So there are some possibilities there but Christmas is the impact of the merchants and of Christmas and there's no question about it. And you know it lots of dollars are spent and we get a percentage of those dollar to see if we can continue to keep ideas in the marketplace. Some very important people. I've talked to department stores and Credit Agencies and they say, you know anything from from 1/3 to 2 almost half of our business is done at Christmas time. And if there were no Christmas we would have to invent one. I think we did, you know conversely if it wasn't Christmas if we weren't buying half of our products at Christmas time, you wouldn't be making them and there is a there's a fit it did increase its productivity. I don't I'm not an economist. I don't know what the all the core relationships are. But it obviously there are moments when I'm kind of thinking whether my job is socially Redemptive and I can always figure that if I have a good idea to have kept somebody and working on but that's about as close as I can get to it aside from the people that aren't you know, very much involved with team wins, or they're obviously a beneficiary of a process. But it is far-reaching. It's interesting and sometimes when I can get very philosophical about the whole thing and and at the same time at 8 uses plastic petrochemical You know, I don't know whether it's more necessary to have it available for heating or for toys. I don't know. I really am but it's it's one of those questions. I'm sure. Is there something the kids are asking for this year either they weren't asking for last year. I did. The most popular thing is the skateboard with the oldest boy that I'm 11 12 years of age and has asked for toys Brandon's guns. Girls dolls end coloring books games teddy bears Donald Duck's Mickey Mouse is Mickey Mouse's of the most popular things. Is there one maybe two or three children that you remember most over your couple of years of being a Santa Claus far as what they did or how they acted towards. You are very rude. I just want to pull your very hand and ask if you're the real thing or acid, you're just and you said imitation. And some of the children I guess they are very cordial and nice and they always admire your you're glad tidings for them to ever worry about what effect your performance is a Santa Claus might have on a child as far as the way that child thinks in the future when you're at the trial where they want for Christmas. There are very very very serious. They want to know I want to tell you what they want and you got to be very patient and then B&B probably with him because you are there at all. How do I grant you are there? I am Bob Dylan department store Santa Claus for the past three years. He's been able to do that since he retired from his regular job and Christmas offers him the opportunity to make a few extra dollars and spend some time with children, but he won't do this job next year. Dylan says, he's losing the patient's one needs to deal with children. That's one fact, which is probably understood by this man. Bob Trout who is also a department store Santa Hi, how are you? Come on over here and see me. Look what I got for you. Here take a look. Sure, you can sit down for just a missing. Sure. I'd like to have a picture of you. Oh my Bob Trout experiencing the frustrations of a department store Saturn along with the children who cry though. There are the ones who won't open their mouths to ask for a thing and those who won't close their mouths to stop. And I are playing a guitar and a harness. I think that's enough going to. Oh, yeah, I did already it like that in my slave would be real. Are you going to be home at Christmas? But I know to come to your house with your presence all night. Sure. You have a real good lawyer for metal Christmas. Oh my mama real good. You got to pick up your clothes. But your toys away make your bad brush your teeth cuz you know, my elves are watching you. And they tell me if you don't do things the way you're supposed to. You got to be specially good for me. All right. Okay, and I'll come to your house Christmas Eve and bring presents to me. Okay, very good then. Bye. Bye. Merry Christmas Merry Christmas hug. one thing that's unsatisfactory to some people is the way that children are dealt with during Christmas. the way that Santa Claus especially Father Figure Santa Claus with used to relate to children. I think that children have I know for my own childhood that I have a lot of guilt feelings that center around this time of year. It's easy when you're sleeping, he knows when you're awake do what your mother and father tell you clean your room that kind of thing exactly. That's the that's an example of the worst kind of Santa Claus what's wrong with that? What's wrong with that is that? Children are good, and they need to be a firm that they get enough negative messages about that in the society. I think the Christmas would be a is a wonderful opportunity for children to be affirmed and appreciated. Nothing figure of Santa Claus could do that then that's what we'd like our Santa Claus figure to be doing today. One of the things of the shakertown play the group and organization which puts an emphasis on simplification of Lifestyles. One of their concerns has to do with what group member Dave Sinclair calls the blade and commercialism of Christmas the shakertown pleasure group feels Christmas as we celebrated today is really an invention of businesspeople Lucy the season as a sales tool and Peter Criss says, they believe the human values of Christmas have become diluted and blurred till they represent something completely different pain and kisses but I don't like it when the emphasis is giving Material things over emphasizing the giving of oneself giving of one's time to the family. I think that people spend a lot of time during the Christmas season in the shopping center and not a lot of time with the people they say they love and that they want to be giving things to and its peoples visions and imaginations and thought that we really want to stimulate on the subject because I think the people are are stuck in a bit of a habit when it comes to come to the Christmas list of the shakertown played group. He and Kendrick wronski had these alternative gift suggestions. I never buy things. but usually they're just you know, I'm pretty traditional forms and I like knitting and crocheting things and and throwing things and and lately we've started giving things within our family like poems and time and flute Duets and piano pieces and stuff like that that that are things parts of ourselves that we can work on and share with each other and give pleasure to each other with that aren't that are a little different from the normal material things that we might give. Those are the kinds of things. I would say. Also I do make things for Christmas presents also and this year I'm going to be asking my family for a little time on Christmas day to get together and play some some games that I have thought up and read up. activities together So you're giving them the activity of a family game of sorts then? Spending and spending much more time thinking about my family and what I would like to see happy have my Christmas this year. It's a real. Easy passive thing for me to do to just go out and buy a tie for Dad and God by now. That's that's going to really easy way for me to slide through the Christmas season. But this year I'm trying to overcome some of those things Peter Criss and Kendrick wronski of the shakertown blood group for Minneapolis freelance writer Dulce Lawrence the alternative this year to buy gifts for her family. I've decided to call a moratorium on my anti-commercial crusade at least for the holidays. She wrote several weeks ago in the Minneapolis Tribune Lawrence has bread sculptures burned up in the oven and her ill made placemats doubled as hot pad holders. She wrote my own crafty Creations would turn the Uptown Art Fair into a laugh Riot does Apple dolls? I recently they just tumbled out of a plastic bag all shrunken and grotesque. Reproach me with a little beady eyes. We would rather have been eating they seem to be saying I don't think there's anything much you can do about Christmas commercialism or should do after all. We live in the real world. And that's Commerce Jesus understands that. I got a wonderful letter from a man in New Brighton said he to like to give family member something that is homemade, but appropriate and welcomed his four grandchildren. He said of grown-up and it's almost impossible to select clothing or trinkets are games to keep step with their development and it's just as hard to choose something for the parents. So what I do he said is to start right after New Year's Day to collect odds-and-ends dribs and drabs the come my way all through the year and squirrel them away then about December 15th. I sit down and fashion. The gift each one is the same size and color. So there's no discrimination. It is a check bearing my signature. He said I've never received a complaint or rejection our request a change because of size color are fashion and they have the fun of shopping at the January sales. Well, some would call it capitulation to the jogging out of Commerce others just good cheerful common sense and in keeping with the season. Getting down to the Deep Broody psychological level of Christmas giving and receiving the last word on that was a piece. I read by John Leonard in the New York Times letter described the exchange of gifts to be somehow Sinister a bartering of psychic Yard Goods and symbolic energies, and he talks about the anxiety at Christmas those orgies of disappointment of boxes disemboweled of wrapping paper, like bandage just pulled off of emotions. Leonard like all the rest of us is troubled about the psychology of gifts the ambiguity of purchase the trauma of receivership the suction of reciprocity. You may be a Paul. He said to learn from their gifts what other people think of you have. They so radically misperceived do they know me too little or too? Well, can I buy the rest and Dua on giving there to Define my feelings for another? Or the limits of my apprehension. Well hit the risk you're taking Being Human. Meanwhile, we'll just all keep working away at it against our better judgment pushing that old rock up the hill and knowing that it's going to be more or less the same this year as last. All we can do really is. Hope for some joy and pleasure and love and that our friends and loved ones will have a Merry Christmas. Ask Christmas is a time for giving it is also a time of receiving. It is a prosperous time of year for the Charities. It seems that on every street corner stands of Santa with a cup or a patient solicitor fixed against fire hydrant your street sign tolling the single Bell chant of the Salvation Army the parents drop stuff into the kids. Do young people You like doing this? Oh, yeah. I did enjoy it help others. Glad to see somebody like that happy when they get it right now. I want you to come up the other day and asked what players for I said, it's for the help children out to buy Christmas gifts and feed the poor and he wasn't happy that makes them feel as good as it makes you feel doesn't ever get old ring of the Bells. You might wonder where your charitable nickels and dimes go when you pop them in the kind vendors had or cup. You should Wonder according to Harold Adams director of the Minnesota Charities review board a watchdog group in the City of Minneapolis. The ordinance requires that you have identification. I'm not sure how Faithfully the people in the street have obeyed that particular thing, but they are the biggest problem for the most part a straight solicitor. It's hard to keep track of it's a difficult to know exactly what they are representing in the big problem in the Cities area. What states have been leaves called organizations religious organizations who do not have to comply with the law. So you have no idea what the money is being spent for? No, no figures to work from nothing 2 to go on we don't encourage the pork when you can't check on an organization. Any legitimate organization will be very happy to give you as much detail as you asked for it over then some reason I don't think any of them carry an audit with them, but they certainly should be willing to give you information and how you can play if you want to who can I call who can you call to get information directly from the organization? And if they're unwilling anytime they want to withhold information. I would sure keep my hand in my pocket. Well, one of the things about the Christmas season there is a tendency is as you guessed for people to suspend their doubts a little bit when it comes to charitable appeals. So even if they're legitimate charitable organizations take advantage of that. To try to raise money and a good many organizations run their mail campaigns in that. Then you have a where we've considered a problem are the charitable organizations or let there not charitable are business organization handicapped artist does a mail campaign Have you read the campaign appeal carefully you realize it is a commercial operation. But when you look at a letter that is bordered entirely with handicapped people painting with their teeth over their toes and something on very tortured and difficult sort of way. There's a tendency to get too little bit carried away with the impact of that emotional appeal and not read the print. We feel that when somebody calls us they assumed it was a charity and when we get lots of calls, we think there's an inclination. Gemma sleep in the kinds of the fields that are made by organizations that set on stuff in the mail unordered by greeting cards. That's what I've just been talking about. That's the example their costs are enormous very high rate of fundraising caught so whatever the people that are doing the painting and so forth do the amount of money, but they actually get out of this deal is going to be relatively little but the main point for the public to keep in mind as they have no obligation to keep return pay for anyting stuff that comes to the mail if they didn't ask for What are the advantages to me? Let me an appeal is one of the easiest ones to check on somebody come to your door. You can't find outrageously without having them stand there and we don't have the information you want to send the mail appeal to us will follow up on and find out that we can at least whether they're registered or not. And if they are in compliance with the law. Picture Christmas Eve and where you'd like to be. Is it a warm house a fire blazing a majestic Christmas tree at joining The Parlor. Is there a frozen lake or stream below the house that you skated on earlier in the evening Mrs. Mary lystad was 6 years old and growing up in the Tiny Village of North Hudson, Wisconsin in 1900. She reminisced about Christmas Past with Mary Shaffer Amber Howey PopCorn by the big dish pan full and had to spring it on string to make trims for our Christmas tree and we sat and with the cranberries and made Ben berries and that was the only trim we had would be things that we made ourselves around the house and we would hang apples or things like that on the tree for each one of the children and family and I always remember the the little clamp-on candles that we used which were just an open flame and very dangerous to use. But we had to watch them very carefully, but my mother and father were always watching it so that it never got near another Branch because we did know. Homes for the children had been severely burned by the Christmas tree catching on fire. But we had no electricity at that time in this little town. So we had to make the best of what we had. and I do remember when I was about eight years old. We had a program in our school house. Which was heated by that an old wood stove and we had to carry in chunks of wood and file in the back of the school room for the teacher. Just this old stove these chunks of wood. So that in itself was dangerous, but we were always careful about it and I we had a Christmas program and I had to sing a solo song and how nervous I was about that when I was just a kid. And the song was about the we shall meet but we shall miss him. There will be one vacant chair. Have you ever heard of? and I sang that song through and all the parents of all the school children were there but we had a great big Christmas tree and this was all decorated with the Reeds of popcorn and cranberries and and daisy chain things of the different colors also and the fuel homemade ornaments and things like that, but we had to watch it very carefully so they had two boys stand behind the tree with black of the water. Just in case something would start total ratchet catch on fire. They have something to throw on quickly. So we thought that was pretty good. And I remember my brother used to draw pictures of Santa Claus and reindeers all over the Blackboard. And he was the one that eventually became in charge of the Chicago Tribune section as an artist there because he was telling me just a little boy. Anda I remember how we sat around every day. One of us would have to go down in the cellar. We did not have basements we had. Dirt floors, but we had the barrels of apples. How old are always bring up a pan of Apple's my mother and father always just say I want to get on get everybody an apple now either sitting around the old Cold Stone. and all our toys that we were given we're usually made by our fathers. I never had a real sled except one that my dad made and he put metal Runners on it and painted it and we thought they were the best LEDs in the world at the time never had seen everything any better and I suppose they did have good sleds in the in the down in the town, but we were kind of out on the Prairie. and so are the boys my brothers head of skis were also made for Christmas. They all listened or made by my father. And so I never had any. Any real Lawton toys until I was but a big girl because everything is homemade. Did you hang your stockings by the chimneys? Yes, we did. We had a place by the old old stove. We have a little line put up there and get you as head of stocking hanging down there and in there we would have just some Little Sweets and cookies are candies or things like that. And that would be about it. We all wish that I had a very special kind of dinner for Christmas Eve and we all sat around the table and Mother and Dad just too. Give us a lovely talk about Christmas and and we weave out our heads and thankfulness for all the good food and good things that we had and we realized that it was the birthday of Christ. We we we were made to realize that from their beginning and we all went to a Sunday school. So it's always worth off everything about that. I remember my mother being a Scandinavian. They came from Norway and they tried to have some of the old Norwegian foods that they had at home. Like she made them a meatloaf As We Lay It Like a sausage and those rolled up and then cooked it and press it between two heavy heavy rocks are or boards until it's ready to slice and that was And then the Christmas Little Cakes. They made their call Eula kagaz, and that's so Christmas cakes. And thought the Manhattans for men in Norwegian this poor poor man's the sort of a cookie, but they were very delicious dipped in powdered sugar. We always had those at Christmas time seems like no other time during the year. Do we have time to make them so we really look forward to Christmas and we're quite excited for weeks ahead of North Hudson, Wisconsin. Love and quiet reflection on the joy, we received from those close to us. It is also a time for expression of that joy and love and whatever fashioned Christmas is a time of prosperity for some it's also a time of change and reassessment of values for other we made an attempt to show What Christmas Means to different people from toy makers to department store satyrs to credit managers for all the purposes and meanings of Christmas. We had neither the time nor the words for We apologize. Our thanks for the Saint Paul Temple tour of the Salvation Army recorded during a performance at Maplewood Mall technical direction for the program was provided by Paul Kelly and the program was written and produced by Neil Saint Anthony and Dale Connelly.