Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Memories of Christmas in My Childhood

Memories of Christmas in My Childhood

As I sit in my oversized chair gazing at the Christmas tree I am reminded of the Christmas celebrations of my youth. 

On Christmas Eve we would go to my maternal grandparent’s house for dinner. For some reason I remember we would often have spaghetti and just a little sip of the red wine that was served. After dinner, my parents piled us into the family car and we drove around Cass County, Indiana to look at the displays of holiday lights. There was one house that always had a carnival of lights that caused us to ooh and ah. Before the little white lights became trendy everybody decorated with the strands of multi colored bulbs that made everything look like the stars had come down from the sky to light up our winter wonder land.

Then we would return to my grandparents’ house where Santa Claus had already stopped by and taken a break for a friendly cigarette and a beer. It never occurred to us how miraculous it was the Santa had detoured to this corner of Logansport, Indiana so early so that we could enjoy the first of not one, but two visits that would bestow us with the treasures we’d requested in our letters that explained just how good we’d been over the year.  I can still remember my joy at receiving my first Barbie – the doll with the plastic head that came with 3 wigs – blond, brunette and redhead – all different styles. And my Chatty Kathy doll with the string on the neck that I pulled – causing her to talk –sometimes.

Then on Christmas morning my brother and sister and  I would congregate at the top of the stairs in the hallway outside our bedrooms, behind the half door that was locked with a hook so we wouldn’t inadvertently fall down the stairs, waiting with impatience for our parents to get up so we could check our stockings and see what Santa had yet again left for us.

It was magical - that joy of a childhood Christmas. Sometimes the tree we got at the gas station lot was crooked and Dad had to nail a board to the tree and window -sill so it would stand tall.  Ornaments filled in the bare spots. But it was always beautiful.  

And then Dad would make us cinnamon toast. I loved it when he melted butter and mixed in the sugar and cinnamon and coated our toast with that delicious concoction.  It never tastes the same when I try to duplicate it today.  I think it must have been the love that went into it. And he usually stirred it up in one of my mom’s metal measuring cups.

The nostalgia is at times bittersweet. I miss those days of childhood but know I can never go back and if I did, it wouldn’t be the same.  But having the real Scotch pine decorated with the ornaments I’ve collected over the years, including those that my mom and dad gave me with a date and a memory, brings me just a little bit of that feeling of family togetherness, love and joy that continues to make Christmas special.

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