Saturday, December 12, 2009

Christmas Memories

As many as you know by now, I am a hopeless sentimentalist, and, let's face it.  Christmas was, and still is, a wonderful time of the year when families gather together to make merry.  We eat too much of the wrong foods and laugh til our sides hurt and tears come rolling from our eyes.  And since, you all know by now, I am a hopeless sentimentalist, I'd like to share some of my childhood memories which go back some fifty odd years.  Times were different then.  Traditions were a big part of our celebrations back then, and it makes me said to see that some of these wonderful, glorious experiences have faded away due to today's commericialism of the holiday  In those days Christmas was Christmas, and Halloween was Halloween.  And never the two did meet.  As a matter of fact, you never even found so much as a Christmas ornament out until after Thanksgiving.  I remember how exciting it was when we had to wait for the first of the Christmas goods to appear...which signaled the beginning of the festivities.  I was totally taken aback this year when I went into our local Duane Reade in mid-October and found more Christmas items on the shelves than Halloween goodies.  But, I am not here today to whine and feel sad about how much Christmas has changed.  No, today is a day to take a trip down 'memory lane' which most often brings to mind the following: 

--Waking up on Christmas Eve morn to find snowflakes gently falling on the ground.  Although a city-dweller today, I was lucky enough to have grown up in the country where the air was colder and the snow was whiter.  Bundling up warm and heading off to the last day of school before Christmas vacation...and the cheery greetings from everyone I met on the street. 

--Making 'snowflakes' at school and creating the homemade Christmas cards for mom and dad...and adorning them with sequins and stars.  We stenciled bels, candy canes, and holly leaves onto colorfu paper.    And who could forget painstakingly cutting strips of red and green paper and pasting them into rings, creating those colorful chains to deck our tree.

--Which, by the way, was never decorated until I fell asleep on Christmas Eve.  After all, it was Santa who dcorated it.  And when I awoke on Christmas Day, I was but a wide-eyed child with the gaily lit tree with loads of presents stacked beneath.  And after I had torn off all the wrapping paper and had a look at my gifts, everything had to be painstakingly put back in the boxes and under the tree.  For, one of our family's traditions was that during the week we would visit our extended famiy, and they would visit us.  They never brought our gifts when they came to visit us; but we would give them theirs...and then, when we visited them, we would get our gifts.  And, when they came to visit, I had to take out every gift from beneath the tree and show them what Santa had brung...and my cousins had to do the same for us.  It was one time I said, thank goodness for small families.

--Oh, and before I forget.  I was an only child, and being that my dad never had his son, there was always boy's toys under the tree as well as the feminine stuff.  And I loved playing with it.  I could spend hours outdoors building roads for my cars and trucks.  Of course, I spent a lot of punishment detail for digging up the grass that my parents had so painstakingly planted and nurtured. 

--You know, my favorite holiday film is "A Christmas Story", and I think it's because it reminds me so much of those good old days where the only place we had to shop was Woolworths...where we would always stop for a hot dog and chocolate shake at their lunch counter after we finished our shopping...and the ladies would all be wearing their gaily decorated Christmas corsages on their coats.  What a fun-filled excursion!!!

--Grandma's house for her leg of lamb.  She made the best.  Don't know how she made it; she died before I got the recipe, but I remember there being tomatoes in her gravy.  And, my grandparents always had a small table set up by the door with bowls of fruit, nuts, Christmas candy, and ribbon candy.  Oh, how I loved that ribbon candy!!  I've tried making it a part of my family's tradition, but somehow it doesn't taste as good as it did when I was a kid.

And that, my dear blog friends, are some of my favorite memories.  I'm glad that I have someone that I can share them with.  I truly enjoyed reading all of your memories.


  1. Jeez, I'd forgotten all about those chains of red and green construction paper rings! And what about stringing popcorn -- did you ever do that? I love Ralphie too. And the leg lamp.

  2. My son bought me a leg lamp last year. Still haven't figured out where to put it. LOL!!!

  3. I loved making those paper snowflakes! I should make some with the neices....

    I also enjoy that ribbon candy - but it doesn't taste the same. I usually have it in a pretty bowl and then try and send it home with someone after Christmas.

    There also used to be soft candies called "French Creams" - like a gummy, but creamy and not so chewy. I can't find those anymore. They were my favourite.

  4. I truly loved your post... paper snow flakes, ribbon candy... I loved the orange slices... and the candy that had the little flowers painted in the center.. I always remameber when santa came to town each year and we would get our little brown paper sack of candy peanuts and an orange... Yes times have changed... the simplicity is hidden often.... thank you so much for the stroll down memory lane...

  5. Thank you for taking us down memory lane with you. A Christmas Story is one of our must-see Christmas movies every year. Thank you for stopping by my blog, it is very nice to "meet" you. Have a blessed day...

  6. What a lovely entry, of Christmas memories. Thank you for sharing them with us. They sound as if you had one of those ideal childhood. :-)