When Christmas Came to Our House
Posted on Thursday December 21, 2017 at 01:29PM
1. We had a Santa Day at the theatre that featured a free movie, followed by a long line up to sit briefly on Santa's knee. We got a brown paper bag filled with candy...chocolates filled with creamed orange, raspberry and pineapple flavors, some hard candy, a candy cane and a fresh Christmas orange in green paper.
2. We prepared for months for the Christmas Play and Christmas Concert. We rehearsed songs while our teacher clunked out the tunes on a generations old upright piano, deftly shooting out her right hand to flip the pages on her music. We organized costumes and took every opportunity to dress up. My mom never missed a one.
3. We drew names at school, and each classroom had a Christmas tree in the corner. As we got our gifts in, we put them under the tree. The day of the Christmas party, we each brought cookies, or cake, and the teacher passed our our gifts. As far as I know, those presents sat under that tree as they arrived, and nobody, not even the bad kids ever dreamed of touching a single one until party day.
4. Christmas supper was huge, with up to 35 people crammed into the living room. Once a relative took all the potatoes as they were passed around and put them all on his plate...my mom picked his plate up and scraped most of the potatoes back in the bowl, smacking him a little on the back of the head for good measure. From that day until the day she died, there were always way too many potatoes at Christmas.
5. My mom loved Christmas. We didn't grow up having a lot of money, but she made exception after exception at Christmas, thanks to her trusty SEARS card. If you could get it from SEARS we had it. With five girls in our family I think I saw every doll ever made for about 2 decades.
6. The SEARS and the EATONS catalogue came every year, and we poured over it, initialing the things we thought we wanted. Later I found out she maxed the card out every year, paying it off in November so she could rack it up again December 1st. She always fretted about things arriving on time, but continued this process right up until the last of us left home. My favorite gift ever was a wood burning kit, where you plugged a super hot thingy into the wall, and burned pictures into thin pieces of wood. I got an etch a sketch at least three times. The last time in my 30's. I loved paint wheels, and calligraphy pens, and fuzzy soaps too.
8. For us, Christmas meant going to Russ's. He owned the hardware store, and we kids bought all of our gifts there. The wood floor was oiled, and it had a distinct smell in it, not unpleasant, just distinct. I can still see him standing at the counter. I miss that place now too. We still all get gifts for each other, no drawing names. Gifts from the heart were always more important, and that is built into our celebrations now.
9. Mom always had a real tree. Dad brought it home in the half-ton, and it went up in the usual corner, so covered with tinsel you couldn't see the green anymore. I used to tease her she could cover a curling broom the same way and nobody would know the difference.
10. Dad would always sing "The Lion Sleeps Tonight". It was years before I realized he had just had a little too much cheer, and that it wasn't really a Christmas song. To me, it's still my favorite one. :)
I wish you all the Merriest of Christmas and hope 2018 is the best yet.
Author: Solomon Matthewson Consulting