First verse of Silver Bells:
Composers: Ray Evans and Jay Livingston.
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 Handel’s “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 in 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 overflowing with presents 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 satin 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 were about their 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 first sister and I with our footed pajamas and hair in curlers 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 had been raised in the country and returned to it when she married our second grandfather who was a farmer. 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 table to match with a fancy cut glass chandelier 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 largest number of participants, was the
Estes family with a 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.
There are so many memories of Christmas’s past. My inner child still gets excited even now that I am 68 years old. I love the music, the decorations, the sharing of gifts, time, food and just being with family.
Since the births of their sons, now almost 3 and 2 years old, Christmases are celebrated at my second son’s and wife’s house with my first son, his wife, and often a friend and the mother of my second son’s wife.
That is one exciting time to see two little boys so excited they can hardly talk or know what to play with! With all the excitement I feel my inner child glow with joy, love, and the meaning of Christmas shared by my family.
Enjoy your Christmas!