I have so enjoyed reading these! A few years ago I wrote down all of my Christmas memories. Here is my life:
One of my earliest Christmas memories, I barely remember. I had the flu, and spent several feverish days & nights, laying on the sofa in the living room, watching the fuzzy lights on the Christmas tree blink. To this day, I love to lie on the sofa and almost close my eyes, just leaving them open enough to see the fuzzy lights blinking, like I did so long ago.
I remember going over to my aunt and uncle’s houses or them coming to our house with lots of cousins for Thanksgiving dinner. As soon as we either got home, or everyone left, up went the tree. My mom had old German Christmas albums, and we’d play them and decorate the tree.
One year my mother made a large nativity in her ceramics class, Joseph was about 18 – 24” tall. For years, we’d put that underneath the tree before any presents were put under there, it was beautiful. My daughter and I now put our nativity up on a table, but she does it with me every year.
I remember my mom getting out boxes of Christmas cards, back when it wasn’t the same card per box, but an assortment. We’d go through the whole Christmas card list, and pick out which card should go to which recipient. What a responsibility to make sure everyone got the most perfect card for them!
The house was always a flurry of excitement before church on Christmas Eve. The local news station always had a “Rudolph Watch” on the 6:00 news, so we’d see where Santa was, and wonder what time he’d get to our house.
I remember walking to church for the Christmas Eve service and wondering why on earth we didn’t go to the brown church (Catholic) instead of the white church (Lutheran), because it was sooooo much closer! (Actually about ½ a block, I realize now, )
When we walked back home, magically, Santa had been there and delivered presents while were in church. Luckily, I never noticed that my mother always managed to forget her purse in the house and had to run back in and find it while we waited outside for her.
One gift I will never forget is my walking doll. It was almost as tall as me, and when you held her hand, she would ‘walk’ beside you. She had long blond hair just like me, and a beautiful face. But I didn’t get her until Christmas morning. We were eating breakfast, and there was a knock on the door. We wondered who would be stopping by on Christmas morning before church. It was some friends of my parents, and they had a huge box with them. They said they were out for a walk, and saw this box in the middle of the road, so went to get it out so it wouldn’t get run over. They saw that it had my name on it, and figured it must have fallen out of Santa’s sleigh, so they brought it right over. I knew I was very lucky that someone who knew who I was found it for me!
One year, my grandmother had hand crotched matching vests for all of us little girl cousins. And we all had to try them on and have pictures taken. I’m sure they’re still a bunch of those stuck in photo albums someplace!
The Sears and JC Penny’s catalogs coming in the mail was such a joyous day!
We had a little mop of a dog at the time, and every year, we’d buy her a box of “Liva Snaps”, and tear one corner out before wrapping it and putting it under the tree. It didn’t take long before that nose was twitching and she got her box and started ripping the paper off and had her own little Christmas feast. She only got a couple before Mom or Dad put the box up, but I’m sure it was worth it!
I also remember once, Mom coming up to me in June or July and saying “Here, I hid these for you for Christmas and couldn’t find them – so you can have them now.” Funny enough, this same thing happened to me with my daughter just last Christmas, except I found it at the end of January. Like mother, like daughter!
I remember after moving to a new town, and attending a parochial school, that for our Christmas Eve Program, we sang the whole Luke Chapter 2. There was one part when the Adult Choir was up in the balcony singing with us, right after the angels told the shepherds about the Christ Child, and I swear it sounded just like there were angels up there singing “Glory to God in the Highest”, it was so beautiful.
When I started babysitting and had my own money, I remember being so excited to be able to decide what to get for everyone, to plan and shop and wrap. I had never realized before that it truly was more blessed to give than to receive.
I remember one year, I bought my son one of those, I don’t know what you call them, but every doctor or dentist office seems to have one – a bunch of big wooden or plastic beads on twisted wires that they can push around. I had taken it and put it in a larger box. As soon as he had the top of the big box off and saw what it was, he tried to crawl inside the box to get it out; my brother was opening it with him and had to pull him out by the feet to get the gift out.
One year when my son was about 2 /12, I took him to the mall to see Santa. He would not sit on his lap though. The best I could get him to do was give Santa a hi-five and say “I want toys”.
The next Christmas when he was 3 /12, he wanted to help me decorate the tree. Unfortunately, he couldn’t reach very high, and hadn’t gotten the concept of spreading the ornaments around. We had 36 ornaments on one branch! I think I did a little strategic reorganizing once he went to bed!
At the Christmas Eve program at our church, the children would always sing Silent Knight in German. The lights would be turned down low in the church, with just a spotlight on the altar and the Christmas trees shining. It brought tears to your eyes.
I remember my daughter’s first Christmas, she was 6 months old and slept through every gift opening we had. However, she was awake for dessert, and sat on my dad’s lap, and got her very first taste of whipped cream – and a love affair started!
It took us a few Christmases to realize this, but every year the boys would get up and rush to the living room to open presents. So my husband and I would quick grab the camera and start snapping away. One year I was looking through the albums, and checked about 3 years worth of Christmas pictures. Sure enough, every year we’ve got pictures of the boys in nothing but tidy whites, opening presents! I think that’s when they all started getting new PJs on Christmas Eve.
I remember the Christmas my daughter was 3 ½,. She was on a combination of a Christmas high and a sugar buzz. Fun if you’re 3, not fun if you’re the Mama of the 3 year old! Anyway, I finally got her into bed with me a little after midnight. It’s just Mama, Cora, Barbie, Ken and their new Mustang Convertible, all nice and snug! Needless to say, as soon as Cora fell asleep, the car and all its occupants found its way to the floor.
My work really decorates to the hilt for Christmas; it’s like a Christmas wonderland. And they always have a Christmas breakfast and Toys for Tots toy drive early in December. So, we took her to breakfast and she saw Santa (saw – not talked to or sat on lap, just saw). For years she was totally convinced that I work at The North Pole.
It was that same year that she finally understood that Christmas was Baby Jesus’ birthday. Then she started telling everyone that Jesus was coming over to our house for birthday cake and ice cream!
One Christmas my sister took my daughter shopping for an afternoon so I could get my stuff at home wrapped. Well, I went to pick her up, and as I'm getting her out of my sister’s truck, she tells me, "Mama, I got you a present". I said, "You did? Wow!" (Notice, I did NOT say "What is it?"!). She then said, "It's a blue vase, but don't tell anyone, it's a secret."
My lips are sealed!
This has become a yearly tradition now; my daughter goes shopping with her aunt, armed with a $10 bill and an entire Dollar Tree at her disposal! Her older brothers were all thrilled the year they all got plastic dinosaurs! But I just love the pretty vase she gave me, and I still have it in the living room, with pretty white silk roses in it.
When my daughter was 7, it was apparent she was becoming a Christmas-a-holic just like her mother. It was the day after Christmas, we were going somewhere, my husband was driving and she was in the back seat. All of a sudden she said, “Hey, you know what?” “What?” I asked. She cheerfully replied, “There’s only 364 days left until next Christmas!” My husband nearly drove us into the ditch, but I had a huge grin on my face and told her that was exactly right! She’s coming along nicely,