I have many fond memories of Christmas times when I was a child:
1) Snow falling fluffy and magical, snow angels, snowmen (below via DinnysChild), snow block igloos that we made on the front lawn (that fit 3 kids in it!), playful snowball fights, sliding on snow in our backyard or down the big hill beyond the small creek at the bottom of our subdivision, and shoveling snow on our long driveway.
2) Decorating our tree when we were children involved ancient and oftentimes very delicate mercury glass ornaments—some with missing parts—noses on angels, drumsticks for the drum, etc.; we would fill in our tree with new ornaments we bought each year—to haphazard effect—no theme, color or subject, present. But we liked them. Of course in later years, assisting our Dad in assembling the artificial tree, branch by branch, with monotonous precision—woe betide anyone who handed him the wrong numbered tree branch to go into the wrong level’s hole. Ha!
3) Practicing playing Christmas carols on the piano leading up to Dec. 24th, then singing them that night—often in our home, and sometimes caroling with our friends around the neighborhood. I still have the worn and tattered carols books, some 50+ years on. I can still read the notes, but I’ll have to test out my fingers on the piano keys to see if texting and such has impeded my ability to play the piano. And don’t get me started on my vocal cords—shriveled like corkscrew pasta, no doubt. Ha!
4) Leaving Santa his cookies and milk on Christmas Eve—which were duly consumed by the morning, thus providing we children (at the time) incontrovertible evidence that Santa existed (no spoilers) and that he found our house and fireplace. And Santa was a tidy and considerate fellow–him never tracking chimney soot into our home. And he brought each of us one present, though our letters gave him a choice of three gifts to choose from. It never occurred to us that we often ended up getting the non Santa chosen gift ideas from other family members.
5) As a family, we would often go to our church’s Christmas Eve service that started around 11:00pm and ended at Midnight. Many more carols were sung at this church, the nativity story read from the bible, and each of us holding small candles as we sang our final hymn of Silent Night (atmosphere approximated in the video below) and the church lights were slowly extinguished until the only light present were the hundreds of small flickering candles that we all held. Then we all leave in silence—very moving—saying farewell to people with waves and hugs. And it is a happy wonder that the Christmas time small candle industry didn’t give way to battery operated flashlights being waved about as if it were a movie premiere.
6) After previously spending a day or two wrapping various Christmas gifts within the family– but never having to wrap our own gifts, nor the gifts that came from Santa (mild spoiler)—we were allowed to each open one gift on Christmas Eve. Early present opening was a hard won concession from our parents—us whining that our friends parents let them open 1 gift each—with my parents capitulating, I think, only coming about after we were old enough to help with wrapping the packages. Prior to that, our parents probably stayed up all night wrapping packages, and/or putting together toys with assembly required. These days, our gifts for our selves are minimal and practical—hot cocoa, hand lotion, and gloves for me; head lamp lite, gadgets, and such for my hubby. Then we make online donations to various charities that support children and families in need.
7) Then on Christmas morning, in our jammies, we 3 kids tore through all the presents’ wrapping papers. Modern day paper shredders have nothing on our shredding prowess. And with we three kids also enjoying playing with our siblings presents—sometimes with their consent, sometimes not—it seemed like even more Christmas presents to us. One of my favorite Christmas presents was a small toddler sized Tippy Tumbles doll–who via a cable to a control box could be made to somersault around the room. So in a sense, I was exposed to robotics early on. Ha! However, our large dog then was quite unnerved by her. So naturally we hid behind furniture and let Tippy rip a few times. But our sense of mercy prevailed, and she was only tumbled out for special occasions. *wink*
8) Of course Christmas meal specialties (with turkey again, mind you) involved English Plum Pudding—which wasn’t a pudding at all, but a small dark rum cake packed with raisins and drizzled with a homemade brown sugar and butter glaze. I can probably guess where many a tooth cavity came from, in that regard. Ha! And then in our younger adult years, ferrying back and forth between my husband’s and my families on different Christmas dates—oftentimes having to go out of town with a long highway drive. And for many years having our late good church lady friend for Christmas dinner on the day and visiting our families on another day that they designated. Now with everyone grown and far flung—with in laws of their own to visit—my hubby and I are content homebodies of two for the holidays. And we choose to have non-turkey meals. This year is roast beef with Yorkshire pudding—again, not a pudding, but a fluffy sponge like flour and egg concoction–but ham and pineapple are favorites, too. But pumpkin pie with whipped cream topping is absolutely required. Ha!
9) Overall Christmas trimmings around our house are at a minimum this year—something dearly appreciated by my hubby, who has to do the hauling of trimmings boxes up from the basement when we do decorate. Ha! Besides, our two doggies cannot be trusted around Christmas trees—even with the table top tree variety, too much temptation. I’ll probably hang the Christmas cards that we received on the wall on a ribbon, the Santa nite lite above is in our kitchen, and a mutual gifts bag (below) for our small gifts for each other, lends a festive air. And speaking of cards, I have winnowed down our outgoing cards to 25 intentionally sent cards (already in the mail)–from a high of 80 cards years ago, whew!—plus a few additional cards sent out to respond to cards that we receive beyond our basic set that we send to friends and family each year.
10) So all that remains for me to do this year is to share some of my favorite Christmas songs with you, via this holiday video that I found. I hope that you enjoy it!
Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!