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Holiday Memories

November 18, 2022     By Boys Town Contributor

Alumni, Boys Town, Boys Town History

Throughout Boys Town's history, the best memories of Christmas come from the Home that Father Flanagan built. It's often a story that comes to life because of the efforts to make everyone feel welcome, especially during the Holiday season.
The more things change, the more they stay the same – especially at Christmas time. Many alumni have shared their warmest memories about Boys Town at Christmas. For some it was the food; for others the gifts, and for many it was the warmth of a home and friends.

BOYS TOWN, 1921 – On their first Christmas at Overlook Farm (the present site of Boys Town, NE), 125 Boys of Father Flanagan's Boys Home celebrated Christmas in a temporary shelter. They were eagerly looking forward to the 1922 building project that would house 500 boys. Although poor equipment, inadequate facilities and lack of funds made the battle of caring for so many boys heartbreaking at times, Father Flanagan shared there would have been no jollier or happier crowd of boys to be found throughout the land.

NORMAN, 1930 – “My favorite memory was Christmas Dinner in 1929 with Father Flanagan at the table in the main hall… Back when we ate plenty of turkey and all other sorts of good stuff. It was a nice dinner; believe me it was."

ROBERT, 1943 – “The thing I remember about Christmas was a tin of chocolates we'd always get from some company in Chicago. It never lasted very long as we never got too much chocolate in those days, but we always looked forward to it."

ALLAN, 1953 – “I always remember Christmas at Boys Town. It started with Midnight Mass. It was only then that the lights were lit, and the decorations were unveiled. These were the happiest days of my life. God has been good to me, and I have done well because of what I learned at Boys Town."

DENNIS, 1965 – “I remember the decorating competitions between cottages and apartments during the Twelve Days of Christmas celebration. We always thought we'd win, but never did. We'd also catch a movie every night, and then spend the rest of it playing cards and use the candy bars we were given as chips."

MARTY, 1978 – “When you didn't have a chance to go home, they had a movie everyday and then a bonfire out in the field… They put a Boars Head up on the Music Hall for the 12 Days of Christmas."

STEVE, 1987 – “Being from Texas, I always remembered looking forward to the snow. Since I was one of the biggest kids, I would usually get the job of shoveling when it piled up around Christmas time. Even though I wasn't Catholic, I loved going to Mass during Christmas to hear the choir sing. A large group singing in the chapel always sounded very pretty."

JANELLE, 2003 – “My first year at Boys Town,
I remember having a girl from Louisiana living with me. The first snow of the winter was a couple weeks before Christmas. Our Family-Teachers® woke us up at 2 a.m., as the snow was falling, for a snowball fight. It was the first time she had ever seen snow and kept rolling around and playing in it."

DEVIN, 2022 – “My favorite memory of Boys Town was coming together as a family and opening presents with everyone. We had a good time."

TYLER, 2022 – “Boys Town Christmas is so special because some kids back at home had never had the opportunity to receive presents. It is also something amazing because it shows a sense of family, love and care."

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