I love watching children at Christmas. I adore the sticky faces and fingers from a zealous candy cane eater and the colored icing that always manages to appear on each child’s outfit during cookie decorating and the fun holiday get-togethers this time of year brings. One of the season’s highlights for us as children was Christmas tree shopping.
In our city, there are various groups that host the Christmas tree lots that are stocked with wonderful evergreens. It was always a cold night when all of us would bundle up and head to our favorite tree sale. I can still remember the fragrance as we walked down every row. There is nothing like fresh evergreens.
We could never agree on a tree. The kids wanted the tallest tree on the lot, with total disregard for the height of our ceilings! But our mom and dad would always find the perfect one to fit in our home. We would select the tree we wanted, the Boy Scouts would nail the stand to the bottom of the tree, and then we would take our prized possession home.
When it was all said and done, our tree stood tall as we gazed at what we had purchased, which was always interesting. Dad would get out the lights and place them on the tree first. Back then, we had those big lights that got hot on the tree, not the tiny cool lights of today. Once those were on, we would start decorating with the ornaments we had collected or made through the years. We had some that were so pitiful. They always garnered a laugh, but we hung them anyway. Others were very beautiful ones that Mom painted.
After all the ornaments were on, it was time for the finishing touch—the icicles! Most kids today just don’t know about this ritual. At our house, the aluminum strands had to be hung one at a time to make sure they were perfectly straight. It started out that way, but by the time we finished, my brother was throwing them by the handful just to get it done. We always had carols playing on the stereo while this was going on, and the music just made the season. We each had a favorite, and we would all sing along from time to time. After about a week, every time you walked through the room, you would hear the dry needles falling from the branches and hitting the floor. It was a Charlie Brown tree by Christmas Day!
Stockings were fun, and we loved the small things we got in them every Christmas morning. Christmas memories are priceless. We found out just a few years ago that my brother would talk my mom into letting him open his presents and rewrap them days before Christmas . . . he never could fake surprise! But it was a tradition they shared between the two of them. Our church choir always had a marvelous cantata that was presented the week before Christmas. Our family was always the first one there to get a good seat. Dad held down the tenor section. Mom usually was involved in stage sets or costumes.
Christmas for us was, is, and always will be about family. This year, all of us will be home for Christmas. All the grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and my siblings and their significant others will be at our home for our family Christmas brunch. Mom and Dad will be surrounded by their family to have all the fun you could pack into one day. Dad will give us all a chocolate Santa Claus and Mom will make her famous angel biscuits! How blessed we are to have each other.
Celebrating the birth of Christ is a sacred time for us. I hope, this year, you will find Christ at the center of your holiday. May you be filled with joy, love, and peace for this blessed time of year.
Love to you all. You are a gift to me and to the people in your life.
What Christmas memories do you and your family share?
Our holiday memories are of making a delicious brisket and frying latkes together. Mom looked so beautiful in the candlelight as she said the blessing while lighting the menorah. We would play spin the dreidel and somehow my brother would always end up with the most gelt by the end of the night. Our family is smaller now but we still love latkes!
What a lovely image your words created in writing about your family. and especially the part of where your mother sang during the services.
Would you consider giving a reference to these type of songs as I am not familiar with these type of songs?
Merry Christmas Phyllis!
Yes, I am writing on Christmas morning before the family gets up again after predawn snacks amid warnings, “To stay out of that fruitcake!” Eyes immediately measure the length of it to see if someone has nibbled it again during the night.
Holiday food was a huge part of our Christmas when I was growing up as relatives often came and mother managed to make divinity, pecan pie, and a huge snow white coconut cake of three very huge layers. It was covered with a frosting that gave a different meaning to the words, “over the river and through the woods,” As between each at least an inch or more under and over the layers of cream white frosting and the peaks of coconut top resembled a fairy princess’ castle!
Ah, yes, those memories do come back. I do faintly hear footsteps! Uh-oh…how many fingers do I see sneaking toward that fruitcake?!! Santa is gonna get you!
The smell of the fresh Christmas tree always transports me back to my childhood.
Happy Christmas to all!
Merry Christmas and a prosperous Happy New Year to you and your family.
You have such lovely memories. Thank You for sharing them. We always purchase tall live trees. One memory that stands out is my late father reading “The Night Before Christmas” to my twin sister and me.
Thank You for this enjoyable post. I look forward to all the stories you share. Our tree also has crafts made while we were in school.
We always had a real tree too. One year I wanted to buy a big tree at our local store. My father had just had surgery. Mom didn’t want him to pull out his stitches ,so my sisters and I went to pick out a tree. The man told me I was crazy for picking out a tall one and wouldn’t sell me it.. I went home and my father said I will go and buy it . My sisters and their friend went too. The man sold my father the tree. My sisters and their friend carried the tree home.
Merry Christmas to you and your family. Thank you for all the messages throughout the year!!!
What beautiful Christmas memories you have, Phyllis. I have so many, starting in Europe and my grandparent’s elegant dinners where the pastry chef made a chocolate music box filled with ice cream for dessert one Christmas Day, to sweet holidays in California with my single Mom, to my beloved children and grandchildren gathered here at home for Christmas stocking tea and dinner.
Being with the people you love to celebrate the birth of our precious Christ is the biggest blessing. May you and your family be so blessed during this time, what a joy to be all together. xo Lidy
Being busy or not…..I am taking the time this morning to thank you Phyliss for ALL your wonderful stories that you write to us !! Most of them I can relate to with a twist of our own traditions………but they all are like warm fuzzies all year long !! Many many thank you’s for all that you do. May your holidays be happy and healthy and safe……hugs, Joan
Sending you and your family a wish for a blessed Christmas!
I loved reading your memories. Nothing in the world like family and childhood memories. Thanks for sharing. Merry Christmas and the best 2018 has to offer.
Thank you for your memoirs of amazing memories of Childhood Christmas and your family traditions today.
My childhood memories are similar along with the traditional shortbread, fruitcake, and the most amazing goose dinner.
As a widow now, I am remembering Cornish hens and all the drama with a blended family. Wouldn’t trade it for the world.
I am blessed with 2 grandbabies that I see Christmas through that lens.
Thank you for letting me share my joy and “ joi de vivre” at this wonderful and blessed time
Catherine from Guelph, Canada.
Our tree wasn’t a tree fond in a lot but rather a cedar my sister and I found after walking for hours through the woods, hauling an ax with which to cut it down. When my husband and I drive to our ranch in South Dakota there are many cedars along fence lines and I look to see which I would chose for a CHRISTMAS tree. We also decorated with the large bulbs and tensil but my mother added angel hair. I think it was spun glass as it would cut your hands when you touched it so she wouldn’t let us children put it on the tree. What memories I have of the many years of putting the tree up. All of them precious to me. Have a blessed CHRISTMAS Phyllis.
I have fond memories of Christmas at my grandmother’s. Kids every where,my new doll by my side,football on the tv in the den,all rounded out with my favorite dressing made by my grandmother. I miss her .