Growing up in Kettering in the late 1960's and early 70's, Christmas parties in school were wonderful. Note that I said "Christmas" parties. Before politcal correctness, when we were taught Christmas songs in music class and when the name Jesus could be spoken in class without retribution, we were allowed to have Christmas parties.
The day before Christmas vacation was no ordinary day. The first half of the day was the Christmas party. Each student was to bring a small gift, marked "for a boy" or "for a girl". The "homeroom mothers" provided cookies, cupcakes, or drinks. We would all be seated at our desks as the "goodies" were distributed. Then, we might play a game or complete a puzzle. Sometimes there were even prizes for the winners. Then, names or numbers would be drawn to choose who would pick the next gift. The first Christmas present of the year to be opened! Squeals of delight would fill the room as we all compared what we had received . By now it was lunchtime. All "sugared" up and brimming with excitement we would march to the lunchroom, everyone talking at once. Rushing through lunch and playing through recess, we were now ready for the big finale. After the classroom was clean and neat, we would line up, march to the gymnasium/cafeteria where the lunch tables were still standing and we would take our seats. Our attention was turned toward the stage, where the movie screen was being lowered. The principal would give his annual "Behave yourselves or you will be sent to the office to sit with me" speech. The lights would go down and the show would begin. First up would usually be a Jiminy Cricket, "You are a Human Animal" cartoon and then the film would begin. It was almost always a Walt Disney movie, like "The Absent-Minded Professor" or "A Tiger Walks". We were always afraid that the bell would ring before we got to see the end of the movie, the end of the day always came after the end of the movie.
It didn't get any better than that; a party, a movie, a two week vacation from school and Christmas was just a couple of days away!
As wonderful as Christmas still is today, it's hard to beat those days when I was a child, it was Christmas, and "all was right with the world!"