I love Christmas. Singing Silent Night while we pass candle light to one another always moves me to tears. When the pastor retells the story of Christ’s birth, I listen as though hearing it for the first time. One chorus of Oh, Holy Night, and it is a joyous noel for me.
I don’t complain about shopping because I visualize the face of the person opening the gift I have carefully selected. I don’t mind the inevitable paper cuts from wrapping gifts or the fact that my husband uses nearly a whole roll for a small package. I stockpile tape throughout the year like toilet paper hoarders in 2020. I bake sweet treats and place them in tins for delivery to neighbors.
This is my adult behavior around Christmas, and this is not to say I don’t get a little Grinchy once in a while. But I come by loving Christmas quite naturally, I think.
My snapshots of Christmases past are so wonderful, that I cannot enter this time of year without a walk down memory lane.
-a ham the size of a small town on the table each year, weirdly, served with spaghetti, a tradition we keep to this day.
-a pre-requisite huge box of chocolates on the baby grand piano, and my Grandy helping us poke holes in the bottoms of candy until we found an edible caramel or creamy filling; none of that nougat for us.
-a Rings and Things toy maker. Metal plates that heated ridiculously high, into which we poured an Elmer’s glue-like substance of colorful plastic and waited for the beautiful rings and necklaces it produced.
-eating candy from our stockings on the sly then not being hungry for breakfast.
-heavy pajamas and bathrobes and bad haircuts with bangs, all captured in Polaroids.
- my dad’s response to every present, where he made it seem like you had delivered the original gold, frankincense, and myrrh right to his doorstep
-peppermint ice cream, sometimes in the shape of a Christmas tree or Santa, to be consumed only at the kitchen table.
-noises on the rooftop that were surely Santa, and a Grammy who showed me footprints in the snow, verifying the reindeer had been there.
-divinity and peanut butter candy stored on the back porch to keep it cold and butter horn rolls, fresh roasted turkey with dressing.
-begging anyone and everyone to play whatever new board game we had gotten that year.
-snuggling on bed pallets on the floor as all of us poured into my Nanny and Pa’s small farm house, listening to the adults’ late night conversation until I drifted to sleep.
-the squeaky sound of a Styrofoam vanity seat, one that opened for storage and pulled right up to the hard plastic vanity with the aluminum foil mirror.
-spray snow and stencils on December Saturdays, wiping the window with a cloth diaper to remove any dampness before we created our designs.
-finding a stray piece of tinsel in July, tying it into my hair around my ponytail, then rushing inside to count the days until Christmas.
-pulling out the beautiful pink and purple advent candles to place in the fresh pine wreath to start the season leading to Christ’s birth.
-unwrapping a baby doll with eyes that opened and closed, long eyelashes and beautifully painted lips, and promising to care for her forever.
-white opaque tights that never seemed to stretch quite long enough to tuck themselves in neatly below my Christmas dress that matched my sis, and black patent leather shoes, to which we often added Vaseline for an extra gleam.
- the anticipation of Rudolph and Frosty, without updated animation on the television.
-hard candy ribbons in a tin
-trying to stay awake for 11:00 p.m. church, which ended right as Christmas day began
- my mom’s Danish pastry and it’s buttery goodness.
- the organ at my Nanny’s house, with Christmas carols sung with extended family
-Pa sliding his finger under the tape of his package wrapping to get ready for his turn to open a gift.
-Lifesaver story books.
-kids’ table meals too numerous to mention and graduation to the big table
I hope 2020 finds you making some special snapshot memories with your family! Merry Christmas from Musings from the Middle.
Cathy is a retired public school English teacher and Public Information Officer.