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, or 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.
My parents always 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 Moma 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.
At twelve or thirteen I sang a verse from “The Friendly Beasts” in a large Christmas Cantata for our huge church. My part was:
"I, said the cow all white and red,
I gave Him my manger for His bed,
I gave Him my hay to pillow His head.
I, said the cow all white and red."
We had two grandmothers, one with our grandfather and the other grandmother widowed until I was 12 years old. 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 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 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 pretty dolls. The picture below is of my sister and I holding our new dolls from Daddy’s parents.
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!
There are so many memories of Christmas’s past. My inner child still gets excited even now that I am over 70 years old. I love the music, the decorations, the sharing of gifts, time, food and just being with family.
The other Christmases that I treasure most were the ones when my first son was little. The curiosity, excitement, and joy he felt on those first few Christmases were so dear to me.
Since the births of their sons, now their daughter, 5,3, and 1 years old, Christmases are celebrated at my second son’s, his wife’s home. My first son and his wife pick me up and we go to the second son’s family home.
This is another wonderful memory of exciting times. Watching my two grandsons and granddaughter so excited they can hardly talk or know what to play with is pure joy! With all the excitement I feel my inner child glow with joy, love, and the meaning of Christmas shared by my family.