Christmas Memories

Christmas memories. Sometimes it’s hard to distinguish between those memories where I’m present, but I can’t see me, and memories I think I have because of old photographs.

So what do I really remember?

Well…

I remember building a fort in my closet on Christmas Eve day, hoping to sleep the day away (didn’t work, but building the fort took time). I remember watching Lawrence Welk’s Christmas show, waiting for my mom to tell me I could finally put on my Christmas dress and take the pink foam curlers out of my hair.

I remember how beautiful my church looked on Christmas Eve. I remember the large advent wreath with its ring of purple and pink candles hanging from big heavy chains in the chancel, the sanctuary illuminated by pew candles, the smell of evergreen emanating from the pine boughs adorning the stained glass window ledges, the Christmas tree, awash in white lights, reaching toward the heavens, a brother and sister singing Silent Night in German.

I remember climbing into the backseat of our car after Christmas Eve service, bundled up in my navy coat with white fur trim, and shivering uncontrollably all the way to my grandma and grandpa’s house. I remember Grandma’s cozy kitchen and a table loaded with cookies and candies (I especially remember the candy cane ribbons) and tins of smelly fish and tiny crackers.

I remember sitting on the couch, nestled between my much older siblings (or maybe it was my much older cousins), staring in disbelief as Santa Claus waved at me through the large picture window. And I think I remember my Aunt LaVerne giving me a special present (a baby doll wearing a dress with a red bodice and white lace skirt) the year I lost my two front teeth. (I believe we had a deal if I could manage the timing.)

I remember lying awake in bed early Christmas morning, not-so-patiently waiting for my mom and dad or much older siblings to start stirring so I could see what Santa left for me under the tree.

I remember an olive green kitchen set, a lifesize doll (I named her Debbie) that (kind of) walked when I held her hand. I remember a doll bunk bed (painted blue and white), and Junkyard Pinball which I couldn’t play until my dad had properly adhered the stickers and attached the rubber bands. I remember a jewelry box that played music (when wound) and had a twirling ballerina inside. I remember a Cinderella pop-up book from my Aunt Janet. And I remember Baby-That-Away who could crawl (once batteries were inserted) and Baby-Alive, the doll that could poop and pee after being fed. I named her Lolly.

I remember a clear plastic phone (with a cord that had to be connected to the wall), a bean bag chair and Love’s Baby Soft perfume. And a stocking with an assortment of Bonnie Bell Lip Smackers and a Life Savers Christmas Sweet Storybook.

I remember the disappointment of successfully identifying my presents under the tree weeks before Christmas arrived: a pair of Lee bib overalls, Calvin Klein jeans, and a monogrammed sweater (powder blue with navy trim and stitching).

I remember arranging (and rearranging) the ceramic figurines of our nativity. Mary and Joseph hovering over baby Jesus, wise men lined up in single file to present their gifts, and the shepherd and his sheep hanging out dangerously close to the edge of the console tv upon which the nativity rested. I remember the yellow light bulb shining through the star shaped opening of the manager.

I remember the Christmas caroler candles with red oval mouths and holding their songbooks, and a streetlight and evergreens sprinkled with glitter.

I remember a ceramic tabletop Christmas tree with multicolored lights and with tips frosted in white.

I remember the red light Christmas candelabra with plastic holly leaves and red poinsettia sitting on top of the mantle.

And I remember the first year of an artificial tree (my mom had one too many asthma attacks) and the gold tinsel trimmed star sitting on top.

I remember spritz cookies and cut out cookies made with lard and decorating the trees and santas and wreaths and bells with great care before becoming impatient and dumping the collection of loose sprinkles over the top. I remember peanut butter balls and angel food candy that stuck to my teeth and divinity and peanut clusters and chocolate covered pretzels and bourbon balls (not a fan then, not a fan now).

I remember the year I opened my presents and then spent the rest of the day on the couch before my mom became concerned enough to take me to the ER.

And I remember the emptiness I felt the day after many Christmases, when I realized it was over.

Something to Drink

Logan’s Copycat Zacateca’s House Scratch Margarita

My soon to be son-in-law is a keeper. Knowing my love of Zacateca’s (best Mexican restaurant ever…if you are ever in Neenah, Wisconsin, head on over) margaritas, he developed this recipe so I can make my own.

  • 60 ml tequila
  • 30 ml cointreau
  • 30 ml freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1/2 T. agave
  • salt
  • ice cubes

Combine all ingredients in a mason jar. Shake vigorously (making sure top is screwed on tight, of course). Pour over fresh ice, straining out the ‘used’ ice. DO NOT DRINK WITH A STRAW. And one drink is plenty.

Something to Read

American Dirt

by Jeanine Cummins

Not sure if you’ve read this one or not. It was kind of a big deal when it first came out earlier in the year, as it created a bit of controversy. I can’t remember if that’s what prompted me to get it or not. Personally, I loved it and couldn’t put it down. It was suspenseful and made me think. And I like that combination a lot.

Something to Ponder

“The worst part of holding the memories is not the pain. It’s the loneliness of it. Memories need to be shared.”

Lois Lowry, The Giver

Merry Christmas to those who celebrate! I hope you found peace and contentment in the day, despite everything. And as always, looking forward to hearing your thoughts and reactions. Take care, my friend.

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