Sunday, December 20, 2009

A Happy Childhood Memory, The Ingersoll Rand Christmas Party

If you lived in the Phillipsburg, New Jersey area from 1950-1990 or so, you most likely had a relative or friend who worked for Ingersoll Rand. In our family my brother Buddy, my sister Ruth Ann, and I had worked for I.R.

I think it would be fair to say that it would be hard to find a kid who had not attended the Ingersoll Rand Christmas Party that was held every year. I can remember attending my first party when it was held at the former Hillcrest Club which had been in Delaware Park before it burned down on March 9, 1966. After the demise of the Hillcrest Club, the party was held in the Gym of Phillipsburg High School.

The Saturday on which it was held, the entire gym was transformed into a Christmas Wonderland. The bleachers were packed full with excited children who were filled with the spirit of the wonder of the season.

First there was always a show that was made up of performing dogs, who could dance and jump through hoops of fire. Then there was a magician, and when my girls were little that magician/ventriloquist was the extremely entertaining Linda Holliday who was actually Linda Cotugna a Phillipsburg alumni.

After the entertainment all of the children join in on a sing along of Christmas carols and songs, which usually ended with Jingle Bells or Santa Claus Is Coming To Town, with a request to sing it louder and louder...then Santa arrived.

While all the children filed out of the gym, Santa, or one of his elves handed each child a Christmas decorated shopping bag filled with a toy, and orange, apple, animal crackers, and hard candy.

It is so heart warming to write about this event, as it has brought back all those wonderful inner feelings of being in that moment. It was an experience that I have shared with my siblings, friends, and even my children, and their friends.

Ingersoll Rand is no longer the force it had been in Phillipsburg, I am not sure, but I think it is totally gone. There hasn't been a Christmas party for many years. It is a sad day that this tradition in Phillipsburg no longer exists for our grandchildren, as it is such a wonderful memory.

In Alpha we also loved to attend the John Dolak American Legion Christmas Party. They also gave the best gifts, and their bag of goodies included chocolate candy. That too is now just a memory.

If you had attended this party, please leave a comment below with your memory.


  1. What a nice article. I worked at Ingersoll-Rand Company from 1977 to 1999. The first year I was there my sister asked me if I wanted to be an elf at the company's annual childrens Christmas Party. I thought it would be a great opportunity to meet people, so I told her to count me in. It only took one party to get me hooked. Every year I joined the many employees who dedicated many hours of their time to make this a very special event for the children. It was really rewarding! For some children it was the only Christmas they would have and we all knew it. I played many parts over my 20 years there. I remember playing Minnie Mouse one year and I felt just like a celebrity. I was in more photos that year then you can imagine and I bet I was smiling in every one of them. To see all the excitement and glitter in their little eyes was well worth all the time spent on one single day of a year in December.
    Thanks again for writing this article and bringing back many fond memories. By the way, I still keep in touch with the many friends I met during the first year I participated and we still talk about all the good times we had.

  2. My dad worked for IR for thirty years, straight out of college. He played Frosty, Fred Flinstone, and was the MC one year - and my older sister played the pink Power Ranger :) I still can't look at a box of animal crackers without thinking of the show. It was one of my happiest Christmas memories as a child!