First verse of Silver Bells:
Christmas makes you feel emotional
It may bring parties or thoughts devotional
Whatever happens, whatever may be
Here is what Christmas time means to me.
My childhood memories of Christmas were about times of happiness, church and celebration of Jesus’s birth, family, food, and of course Santa Claus! This time of year, the music, decorations, Christmas trees and everything Christmas brings back so many wonderful childhood memories.
I love the songs heard on the Christmas radio channel and from my own collection of Christmas CD’s. Many of these songs are about Jesus’s birth, animals around the baby Jesus, the announcement to the shepherds by the angels, wise men’s journey to find the infant King of kings, and the glorious songs that proclaim the birth of the Christ Child all fill my heart and mind with joy.
I do however wait until December 1 to start playing Christmas music from my collection of 15 Christmas CDs! All ranging from the Messiah to children’s songs, to How to say Merry Christmas in Hawaiian, even Jimmy Buffet’s Christmas CD. Some of these songs bring back memories of singing in a Christmas Cantata for our large church.
At thirteen I sang a verse from “The Friendly Beasts” in a large Christmas Cantata for our huge church.
My Parents Made Christmas Special
When I was a kid my father worked two jobs sometimes to support our family. Yet somehow, we kids always had a tree with a tree skirt of presents overflowing onto the floor. My sister and I received dolls, toys, and all kinds of games and clothes. How could I not believe in Santa Claus??
Rather than spend needed money on the expensive doll clothes the other kids’ parents could buy for their Miss Revlon dolls and Barbies, our mother sewed several outfits for our dolls. She had this way of creating some of the most beautiful coats, evening gowns, and clothes from large pieces of scrap material. I wish I knew what happened to those amazing creations.
I remember a red hooded cape with blue satiny lining Moma sewed for my sister’s Miss Revlon doll. My doll had a “car coat” made out of the same material but had fur remnants around the hood and cuffs of the coat.
Then there were the evening gowns. I don’t know where she got the material but we were just as proud of our dolls’ clothes as the other kids store bought doll clothes. I wonder how many hours she spent making them for us.
I have seen the old movies of our Christmas mornings. My brother wasn’t in some of them because he wasn’t born until I was 6. But my sister and I with our footed pajamas came running to the tree, squealing with excitement at the tree all lit up and the seeming multitude of presents for us.
One Very Special Gift
One present I received from my uncle at Christmas was my favorite teddy bear for life: Smokey the Bear. Smokey was on the TV, posters, and other advertising systems. He loved the trees of the forest and warned us kids “Only you can prevent forest fires!” Here is the one I bought as an adult to keep for memory sake. (More on him later.)
We had two grandmothers, one with our grandfather and the other grandmother widowed until I was 12 years old.
My Mother’s Mother
My widowed grandmother was a country girl and was born on a farm in Georgia. Christmas and all holidays were quite a big affair at her home. She cooked turkey, ham, stuffing, all kinds of rolls, and vegetables.
But the piece de La resistance were the desserts!! Pecan pies, sweet potato pies, some kind of cream pie, brownies, cookies and more graced the dining table for our pleasurable consumption.
My Father’s Parents
My father’s father was wealthy and had a huge house made of stones with huge porches on the front and the back. This house had a huge dining room with a fancy cut glass light over the table.
This grandmother was no slouch in the kitchen either. I don’t remember what we ate there at Christmas but I remember that Grandmother and Aunt Helen loved chocolate, as did my mother, sister and myself. When I was old enough to be in elementary school I remember eating about a pound of chocolate over a day. Boy did I feel full and learned a valuable lesson!!
We always had beautiful clothes from these grandparents and dolls. The picture below is of my sister and I holding our new dolls from Daddy’s parents.
New Additions to My Family
When my brother was born we had a real doll to play with. (I hope he doesn’t see this, LOL) But he was a cute baby. Then when I was twelve, my youngest sister was born. Christmas got to be even more amazing with the variety of Santa Claus toys and gifts which expanded to reflect the interests of a little boy and a baby sister. Of course we all played with each other’s toys so the fun became even better!
Then when I married my husband, his family had three boys and one girl. After each of his family and mine married, the numbers of celebrants increased by first two, then two more and on and on as most of us married and had children.
Extended Family Christmases
But the most amazing sight with the larger number of participants, was the
huge number of gifts on the floor around the tree! We each had to find a spot to claim and two or more of us distributed the gifts to their rightful owner. We all had to wait for those presents to be given out and then we could open them. And of course my mother in law was an amazing cook and we all loved to eat her cooking too.
As my siblings have all spread out to different places and our parents have passed on we each have our own family or spouse and celebrate with our own children or friends. Christmas is for people who love each other to be together and share love, food, time, and make new memories.
Regardless of the origins of Christmas we each are hopefully filled with joy from having people who love us and want to spend time with each other in ways they usually aren’t able to do.
A Different Kind of Christmas
I know there are many who have had horrible childhoods, lived in poverty, were abused or neglected, or who have nothing but sad memories. I am saddened each year thinking of the people, especially the children who are sick or suffering.
I try to contribute to someone’s joy through donating toys or money for food and I offer up prayers that some day their lives will be enriched with real love, good health, good food, and a warm home. Someday, maybe the world will be different.
Do you have special memories of Christmas? Would love to hear from you. Please share them in the comments. Thank you.