|As the greeting card reads, my wishes for all are "A Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!"|
As requested by Betty Ativie, I will now share some of my fond Christmas memories, which are not isolated to childhood events.
One thing I looked forward to each Christmas season as a young girl was receiving the Sears catalog, later referred to as their Wish Book. In it I would circle the items I desired with hopes of receiving them for Christmas. Usually everything I asked for was under the tree. To this day, except for God's grace, I don't know how my parents did what they did for all five of us, not only for Christmas, but throughout the entire year.
The brown paper sacks of fruit, nuts, and candy given out at church, probably to assure that every child received something for Christmas, is a fond memory. Christmas programs, either at school or church, whenever I did not have to participate in them, were always pleasant reminders of the true meaning of Christmas.
When I was very young and believed in Santa, on Christmas Eve I would watch the end of the weather forecast when the meteorologist, Dale Milford (I still remember his name), would show a primitive animation of Santa and his reindeers' path from the North Pole to America. Dale would give us an estimate of the time Santa would arrive to our area and urged all children to be in bed before such time. It would always be difficult for me to go to sleep each Christmas Eve. Anticipating the unwrapped toys I would find under the Christmas tree on Christmas morning was a lot for my little brain to handle.
My mother only wrapped clothing and other non-toy items. She waited until we all went to bed before placing the toys under the Christmas tree on Christmas Eve or sometimes early on Christmas morning while we were still asleep. We'd awake to find our desired toys and have so much fun exploring each item.
During the days and weeks before Christmas, Daddy (at Mama's request) would take us sightseeing at night to view the neighborhood decorations. Mama never learned to drive, so it was always Daddy at the wheel. This tradition continued when my children were very young.
When I was older and no longer believed in Santa, but was still a doll and board game* lover, my older brother and I would find my mother's toy-hiding places. When our parents were not home, we would invade these locations to discover which toys had already been purchased. One time, after not putting everything back just like she had it, she yelled out, "Who's been in my closet?" Of course neither of us confessed.
*Some of the board games received as Christmas presents that I enjoyed as a child were Monopoly, Mousetrap, Password, and Twister. Our Ouija Board game gave me a huge startle while playing it once with a neighborhood friend, who promised he was not the force behind the movement of the planchette that was underneath our fingers and "moving on its own!" Immediately afterward, my mother, who witnessed this, put that game away.
|Image from Wikipedia.com of a"vintage straight-leg Skipper with red hair wearing her original swimsuit."|
Watching my mother decorate for Christmas was always enjoyable. There was only so much that I was allowed to do because the decorations had to be exactly the way she wanted them. Everything was color coordinated with no more than two colors of lights on the Christmas tree. Usually only one light color was used. We always had real Christmas trees. Artificial trees would not suffice. In the years we used them, I was allowed to place icicles on the tree. We used glass ornaments initially but eventually went to yarn-wrapped Styrofoam ornaments and other types.
|Some of my dolls that now live at my mother's house are dressed for Christmas in this 2010 photograph.|
It has been a while since my mother decorated a full-size Christmas tree, but even as a late-octogenarian, she still enjoys other household Christmas decorating. Everything remains color coordinated. She now redresses some of my larger dolls for Christmas that have been at her house since 2010. They have become part of her Christmas decor. (She redresses them in pastel colors after Valentine's Day.)
|My mother's Holly Hobbie doll Christmas ornaments are now being used by my sister.|
Holly Hobbie ornaments were used by my mother to decorate one of her last full-size Christmas trees. My sister now uses those ornaments on one of her annual Christmas trees that she and my niece decorate together.
|My sister's Christmas tree from 2009 was decorated with the Holly Hobbie ornaments originally used by our mother.|
As an adult, the tradition continued of my children circling what they wanted in the Sears Wish Book and later in Toys R Us and other toy booklets and ads. My placing unwrapped toys under the Christmas tree on Christmas Eve after the children had fallen to sleep also continued (electing only to wrap non-toy items, as my mother had done for us). When they were young, I always delighted in their examination of wrapped boxes during the weeks to days before Christmas. Their waking up on Christmas morning to discover the contents of the packages and finding their unwrapped toys under the tree was always a delight for me to witness and record by taking pictures as each gift was opened.
|2010 Toys R Us Big Book|
A Christmas present from my mother in 1995 reunited me with some of my childhood Barbies and was one of the most memorable Christmas presents I have ever received.
Spending time with family, decorating, gift-giving, carrying out traditions, reuniting with long lost friends (real and inanimate) and never forgetting the true meaning of Christmas are among my most fond Christmas memories.
Thank you again, Betty, for asking me to share my fondest Christmas memory which took me on an enjoyable trip down memory lane.
I would also like to extend a huge thanks to those who willingly shared their delightful or most vivid childhood Christmas memories for me to publish during the past two weeks.
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