Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas Memories

Christmas is my favorite time of year. I have so many great Christmas memories. We didn't have much money but that wasn't what made Christmas exciting--it was just "in the air". I remember crunching on the snow crusted sidewalks of Thompson--the manger scene atop the REA building and the speakers blaring Christmas music as we walked down main street. People who never spoke to you any other time smiled and shouted "Merry Christmas!"

Mom would be busy baking and listening to Christmas music. Everytime "Silver Bells" was played she'd stop and dab at her eyes--perhaps remembering her past Christmases in the city of Des Moines. She'd tell stories of her Christmas gatherings as a young girl. The men--Grandpa, Uncle Red, Uncle Luther would gather in the kitchen and sneak a little Christmas cheer. She talked of ice skating, gifts, going downtown to Yonkers and seeing all the Christmas decorations and enjoying the bustle of the "city". Oh how I wish I had written down all she told us. She put the love of the season in our hearts.

Then there was the big Christmas tree in the middle of Main Street. Every year someone would donate a HUGE tree and the town employees would set it in the middle of the street and decorate it with lights--one year someone placed packages beneath the tree--I think it was our pastor's wife. Our little Baptist Church was on Main street and the tree was right next to it. After Sunday night services we'd play outside and sing around the Christmas tree. There was nothing more beautiful than looking up toward the street lights and watching the softly falling snow--we'd stick out our tongues and catch the big flakes.

Every Saturday we'd go to church and practice for our Christmas program. We'd spend hours going over and over our parts--I got to play Mary one year. . . Finally the night of the program came and most of the times it would go off as practiced. Mom told about one year--I don't remember this--when I had a loose thread on my dress and I started pulling on it and unraveled my skirt. When I stood to say my part--Mom who was in charge of the program said, "Hmm. She didn't look like that when we left home. . . "

The program was my favorite--with the Christmas tree and lights being the only lights on in the church as we re-inacted the Christmas Story. I imagined the night Jesus was born--how cold He must have been! What was it like in that stable? What was it like when the angels appeared in the heavens singing "Glory to God in the Highest"? What a glorious night it must have been!

After the program we'd get a bag of peanuts with hard candy and chocolate drops (Tom still likes those nasty things!) We'd get an apple and orange and a small gift from our Sunday School teacher. The joy that filled the little church that night would follow us home. I remember sitting in our little darkened living room with only the tree lights and thinking it was the most beautiful place on earth. Christmas cards were taped to a big round mirror in the dining room and all around the doorway between the living and dining room. we made mobiles out of old Christmas cards--snowflakes out of typing paper and paper chains of red and green construction paper. And the fun of stringing popcorn--eating half of it and pricking our fingers on the needle as we tried to push through a stubborn piece! Sometimes we would spray "snow" on the widows and mirrors--placing stencils down first --then when you took the stencils away it would say "Merry Christmas" or you'd see Christmas figures in the snow. Often the widows would ice over creating a natural snow look.

I'd LOVE to read your Christmas memories. Please click on the comments and write your favorite memory.


Armani Trotman said...

Hey, this is Armani from the Romania trip soon to be last year.

I want to share a memory of some Christmas that I cant remember.
You see we open presents in our living room, but all three of us(me and both my brothers) sleep upstairs, while my parents sleep down stairs.

Now, we have to go through the Kitchen to get to the living room. So, there we are Christmas morning, running down the stairs to get to the presents.

Of course, with presents on our mind, we ALL FORGOT that we had our WOODEN kitchen floor WAXED a couple days befor.

Me being who I am, I was the ONLY one who slipped...


I want to meet you too.

Anonymous said...

I sure we all have a lot of memories of the past and present. I remember our first christmas at a church in Foresst City. they were handing out presents and i did't get one (probly didn't deserve one} any how when i wrote my name down i put Judy Sue eggum . I also remember when you unraveled your dress. One other thing i remember is when brother Rick was little all he wanted was a doll guess he played with his sisters dolls, anyway the folks bought him one for a joke and he never played with dolls again. Judy

Anonymous said...

Merry Christmas Rachel! One of my very best Christmas memories is being asked by my Grama Blanche to take a plate and go out to her front porch and get a plate of Christmas cookies! She would begin baking as early as before Thanksgiving and store the goodies on her front porch, that was unheated in ND. She was a wonderful cook and loved to share with everyone! God Bless her Soul in Heaven as she sings now with the Angels!

Hum's favorite Christmas memory is gathering with friends and family and making tamales! We continue to do this every season! It is a special treat only at Christmas time! Thanks be to God for his Mom who has given us this tradition!

We send you our Christmas greetings and pray that you and your family's holiday is more special this year that any before! God Bless You! Donni & Hum Ybarra - Anderson Island, WA

Anonymous said...

Robert’s Christmas memories

I was born and raised in a 2 bed room/ no indooor plumbing Sear’s kit home in the village of Clawson, MI. We were poor and had to wait until Christmas Eve to get a free Christmas tree that no one else wanted from the tree lot. Dad would stay up half the night doctoring and decorating the tree with ornaments and angel hair with an angel at the top. My favorite ornament was a Santa on skis.
Telling Santa at the fire station what you would like for Christmas and getting rock candy was a highlight. Christmas dinner with the Cinader family at Grandma’s house was a memory that would last all the next year. I also remember savoring the flavor of an orange we would get each year from Grandma.
Robert Cinader

Anonymous said...

Loved your memories, Rachel! and I think one year you surely must have taken the part of an angel.
The posted comments of others' memories are wonderful! I'm glad you asked what they recalled.
Getting an orange for Christmas must have been the trend: The first time I "found out" there was no Santa afterall, who always brought a special orange for our Santa stockings, along with a tooth brush..., was when the folks also had a rare bowl-of-oranges on the dining table....
The Russell family Christmases were precious: Grandpa passed out each present, one by one, with each recipient thanking and passing around the present for all to see, as we sat in a more-or-less circle in front of the tree, BEFORE he gave out the next present: my memory is that it lasted for hours (very doubtful! there were not that many presents then.)
One Christmas I got THREE little books: the most-super Christmas I could ever have had then! Great times, I'll always savor, being there on Lewis Avenue with Grandpa and the Family.
Thanks, Rachel, you-got-me going: off to add pictures to my Blog again.
love from Jeannine, and Merry Christmas to all!

Terri Tiffany said...

I loved reading your memories of Christmas! It took me back to so many of my own but trying not to think of them this year as we are spending it without family:( But God is good and we remember the real meaning of Christmas.
I'm getting a dog today, though! My Christmas dog to write about some day!