by Annette Dashofy
In keeping with Martha’s bout of nostalgia, yesterday, I’ve decided to continue our trip down Memory Lane.
I’ve been thinking about the Christmases of my youth. Mostly what I’ve been thinking is that I don’t remember all that much about the gifts. And our traditions have changed over the years.
We never did lights outside the house. I remember a set of big red plastic bells with lights in them that Mom used to hang in the windows. And there was a fuzzy plastic set of reindeer that sat on the windowsill in front of a plastic sleigh. A plastic Santa dressed in felt stood nearby. I bet if I dug around in Mom’s attic, I’d find they’re all still up there. Somewhere.
We had one of those silver aluminum trees. I think they’re back in style now. Retro. I remember the year we traded up to a fake green tree with bottle-brush limbs. We’d finally stepped out of the dark ages.
I was never, EVER allowed to open a gift before Christmas morning. And then, I was permitted to open ONE before breakfast. The rest had to wait until after we’d eaten.
I really don’t remember a lot of the gifts I received as a kid. I have pictures of me with a doll, sitting in a child-sized rocking chair. I remember the chair. Not the doll. The gift I have the clearest memories of was a Hot Wheels track with a loop and couple of cars to go with it. Hot Wheels. Yes, I was a tom-boy. I also remember receiving a Magnus chord organ a few years later. I got really good at playing by number. Never did catch on to the whole musical notes concept, though.
After opening gifts and eating lunch, my mom and dad and I would load up gifts for my brother’s family and head to his place. He’s older than I, and married when I was five, so I grew up with my nephews and nieces. Christmas at his house has always been big and grand. And frequently noisy.
A dozen or so years ago, my mom started a new tradition of the Christmas Pizza. My husband and I would head over to their house after opening our own gifts. We’d exchange gifts with my folks and then Mom would fix lunch: The Christmas Pizza. Then we’d all drive to my brother’s for the rest of the celebration. The pizza thing got lost in recent years when my dad’s health turned bad. We spent several Christmas lunches at the nursing home with him. This year, my mom announced she wants to reinstate the Christmas Pizza tradition. For the record, I never turn down pizza.
Christmases here are smaller and quieter now. We don’t have kids, so decorating is kept to a minimum. But I admit I’m looking forward to that Christmas Pizza. Then we’ll all drive to my nephew’s house, which is about the only residence large enough to accommodate the growing family for the big, grand (and very noisy) half of our day.
So tell us about your Christmas memories. Do you have traditions that you stick to year to year? Do you recall treasured gifts from your childhood? Did you open your gifts on Christmas eve or have to wait for Christmas morning? And do you have a Christmas Pizza tradition in your family?