Born on Christmas Day 1909, Clay City resident Helen Rentschler has 100 years of special memories during the holidays.
"I think my first Christmas gift was probably an orange or a piece of fruit. We didn't have much back then," Rentschler told The Brazil Times during a birthday celebration at Cloverleaf Healthcare, Knightsville, Christmas Eve. "Back then, your stockings would be filled with crumpled paper and a piece of fruit to make it look full. You'd dig through the stocking, throw out the fruit while looking for the gift, and then realize it was the gift. So you'd run to get it before anyone else did. It's how our parents teased us, but it was fun."
Although it was Christmas, the day was also Rentschler's birthday. But, with all the fun of the holiday, there were times when she would be forgotten.
"I didn't mind," she said. "I don't know where or how it got started, but a birthday tradition in our family was to get put under the bed (and get the swats). They might have forgotten me on Christmas, but a day or two later they would remember and I'd get put under the bed."
The world has changed a lot during her lifetime, but, according to nieces Elaine Travis and Rita Rose, Rentschler has lived her life with "the Christmas spirit" in her heart.
"Aunt Helen is such a delight," Travis said. "When I get to feeling down, I come visit her. She is my therapy."
"Although she's never had children of her own, (Aunt Helen) has lots of nieces and nephews who love her dearly," Rose said. "She had two stepsons with her husband Dr. Lewis Rentschler, who passed away in 1961, and four grandchildren."
Rentschler has worked in the medical field and was a Sunday School Teacher at the Brethren Church in Clay City for many years.
"She's read her bible everyday," Rose said. "She also drinks a honey and vinegar hot toddy every day. The Christmas spirit and her love for others has made her life rich and fulfilling."
When asked about her secret to longevity, Rentschler smiled about the unusual drink that consists of one teaspoon of honey and vinegar mixed with a cup of hot water.
"I tried to live a healthy life," she said.
"I read about the toddy in a medical magazine quite a few years ago. I drink it every morning."
Sharing her birthday with the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ has been the best present for Rentschler.
"(All my birthdays) have all been memorable. Oh, I might get lost sometimes, but I think it's the best gift I have ever gotten," she said. "(For 100 years,) I've been able to share the day with those I love. That's really the best gift I've ever had. Because if it really wasn't a gift, I wouldn't be here."