I started with Halloween and then I wrote about Thanksgiving so now it is time for Christmas memories. Some may not be direct Christmas some might just be winter memories. What is really odd or maybe it is not; most of my memories are about other people.
Two of my favorite memories of Christmas past are from my childhood and they both involve my sister. I am almost 6 years older than my sister and when we were young we shared a bedroom. Sharing a bedroom had its ups and downs but on Christmas Eve we had a ritual. My sister was one of those kids that could not sleep so she would ask if she could sleep in my bed and of course I told her “no just close your eyes and sleep in our own bed”. Then the game would start. She would try to sneak out of bed and try to climb into my bed. Part of the reason I did not want to share my bed with her is because she was a wiggle worm and she also took the covers but after awhile I would give in and let her sleep in my bed because I figured some sleep was better than no sleep. She would also wake me up in the morning to let me know that Santa had arrived. My second memory comes from a time when she wanted lots of gifts under the tree so I obliged her by wrapping up each of her presents separately so that she would have lots of presents under the tree. I reminded her of this several years ago when she asked for a sewing basket for Christmas. I not only wrapped the basket I also separately wrapped each of the notions that I had placed in the basket. Even though I was not home that Christmas as I was wrapping her gift and talking to her on the phone after she opened it I felt closer to home.
Gram and Uncle Herb would often come down to visit us Christmas Day and I would often receive the type of gift I still love to get; a book. I love to read and Christmas would not be Christmas without a new book to read on Christmas day.
I remember the year I thought I knew what I was getting for Christmas. We lived in the country so our mailbox was across the road from the Wigner place and as we were driving home my Mom stopped to get the mail and there hanging from our mailbox flag was a Dawn Stage. It was the number one gift on my wish list I was so excited and then my Mom busted my bubble. My mother said “This is not yours I’m going to call the other Penny Candy relatives I’m sure they ordered it for their daughter.” I was crushed my parents did not love me enough to get me the one thing I wanted and sure enough when my mother made the phone call the gift had been delivered to the wrong house and my Dad took it to the relatives. What I did not know at the time was my Dad delivered it to his work shop and hid it where I would not find it so when I opened my Dawn Stage on Christmas morning from Santa I was thrilled to pieces. I later overheard my Mom telling a friend of hers how my Christmas gift was almost ruined because the catalog company did not wrap the package in brown paper. After all what company in the 70s did not wrap their boxes in brown paper.
Fast forward to the 1980s and it is the first year Doohickie and I were married we traveled to Arizona from California to visit family that lived there. Doohickie surprised me with a sewing machine. Most people might think what an awful gift it is like giving a vacuum cleaner as a Mother’s Day gift. I wanted a sewing machine but had not asked for one because we did not have a lot of money. I still have that sewing machine and I use it from time to time when my hands are having a good day. A few years later I was so sick with morning sickness all day long that I had not done any shopping and we could not travel to Arizona so I was very depressed thinking that we would not have a Christmas. My wonderful husband surprised me with presents under the tree he had gotten out of work early and done all of the shopping without saying a word to me so Santa truly visited my house that year.
Our oldest child has never been a morning person to the point that we had to wake him up on Christmas morning. He was four years old and still asleep at 10:30 in the morning. Watching both boys try to guess which type of Hess truck Grandma and Grandpa sent them each year was always fun. They both loved getting Legos and once presents were opened they started to build their new creations. Or the year our oldest received a “grownup” camera and his reaction was “Sweet Monkeys”.
Our youngest child was thrilled the year he walked into the living room to see a drum set ready and waiting for him. He also went through a dinosaur phase and he loved getting dinosaurs in his stocking and under the tree. He received some that “hatched” and he kept those for a very long time. Our youngest child is sick this year so he did not get to play the drums at the Christmas Eve service last night and he opened his gifts this morning with just a bit of a smile on his face. He has spent most of the day sleeping on the couch.
A tradition that we have started as a family that I hope our sons will keep as they move into their own lives is the ornament tradition. Every year each boy picks out a new ornament that is theirs. Most of the time we pick them up while we are vacationing but some years we do not travel so they are chosen from a local store. The boys will sometimes put their names on them before it goes on the tree. Our tree does not have a theme, a color and there is no rhyme or reason. What it does have is memories. Almost every ornament was given to us, made by one of us or was chosen for a reason.
Christmas comes but once a year but the memories created in one day last a lifetime. Merry Christmas one and all.