Thursday, December 24, 2015

This n That - Christmas Eve Edition

I don't remember a lot of Christmases (or much else from my past). I do remember one Christmas Eve.  My older sister and I were playing in our room when there was some kind of kerfluffle out in the living room.  I think we might've heard a booming Ho-ho-ho.  When Mom called us, we ran out to discover soooo many presents under the tree that you could hardly get past.  I think that was the year I got my giant frog stuffed animal.  Looking back now, it probably wasn't that big, but to me, it was the biggest most wonderful frog ever.

I remember Mom and the older girls baking Christmas cookies.  I'm 5 and 10 years behind them, so J was probably 9 and L was probably 14.  There was a wonder about it.  So special and secret as I gazed at them from my spot by the kitchen entryway. 

I remember the years our grandmother came to stay with us for Christmas.  My nephew was a toddler at the time and he liked to sit under her walker.  On Christmas Day, she took the bows from her presents and stuck them all over her head to make him laugh.  It worked.  We all laughed.  Good times.

I have a vague impression of the years - ones with all five of us kids at home, ones with us and then mates and then grandkids where the house was so full of people you could hardly find a place to sit and open presents.  All tumbled together.  And it's good.  The specifics are gone, but the meat of the memories lingers.

Sure, there were questionable Christmases. Sometimes the bad memories are stronger than the good ones.  Which is why we have to work to keep the better memories firmly seated in our heads.  They're the only ones that matter.

What's one good memory for you from Christmases Past?


  1. Basic training in San Antonio, Texas. I was seventeen years old and away from home with 49 other terrified girls, being yelled at daily (nothing new for me) and freezing all the time. I had to spend Christmas in training and I was pretty sure it was going to be miserable, especially after I fell into a water trap on the obstacle course on Christmas Eve afternoon.

    That night our drill instructor made us assemble in the common room, handed out our mail and packages, and told us we had the night off -- and whatever was in the packages had better be gone by morning. She also mentioned that if she found her coffee maker left on in the morning that heads would roll.

    Almost everyone who got packages in the squadron had cookies or candy; my mom sent shortbread and fresh oranges. We tiptoed into the DI's office and found ten boxes of instant hot chocolate and a package of disposable cups by her coffee maker. So we started heating water and set up a midnight feast. For hours we sat around and ate and laughed and talked about Christmas at home. Everyone shared their goodies, and I think that's what finally united us into a real squad instead of a bunch of lonely, scared teenagers. One girl from Chicago had a gorgeous voice and sang Silent Night for us right before we finally went to bed. Our squad room smelled like oranges and hot chocolate for the rest of the week.

    I still have an orange every Christmas Eve to remember that time. I also still exchange Christmas cards with that girl from Chicago. :)

  2. Christmas in Lima, Peru and eating Christmas lunch with 18 other people in strong sunshine, under a canopy, surrounded by banana and avocado trees. Turkey, stuffing, roast potatoes, Brussels sprouts and gravy, along with pasta and rice salads. Shame I had typhoid fever and couldn't really enjoy it. Still, it's my most memorable Christmas.

  3. Such wonderful stories!

    I remember one Christmas eve when I was eight, and a tall skinny Santa came to our house to hand out presents. The next morning, (or another year, I'm not sure) my sister and I found a HUGE boot by the fireplace, that Mom said Santa had lost on his way up the chimney. It was a real workboot, and years later I learned belonged to another uncle. Such big feet he had! :-)