Do you remember opening specific gifts on Christmas morning? Things that you really wanted and asked Santa for? Oddly, I don't. Oh, I know I got them, but I just don't remember opening specific gifts. Once, I was a young mother, desperately trying to find the toy my daughter wanted and was what every child wanted that year. It was sold out everywhere and I was beside myself. My mother was sympathetic. She said, "do you remember when your sled didn't arrive in time for Christmas?" It seems sleds were a hot item that year, sold out of all the stores and was back-ordered from the Sears catalog. Mine didn't arrive in time for Christmas. Mom said she felt horrible. She said it was her worst Christmas ever. She said I cried, even though Santa left a note explaining that his sleigh was too full to include my sled and it would be arriving via UPS in the next few days. Santa was very apologetic. It broke her heart. It haunted her for years. I don't remember it. At all. This trauma left nary a dent in my memory. All I remember is that I had a sled for most of my childhood that I loved and used until it was rusty and splintery.
I do remember decorating the Christmas tree(s). The lights went on first and the tinsel last. The tinsel had to be smoothed and hung one strand at a time, so each strand hung straight. When the tree was done Mom made hot chocolate and we turned off all the lights in the house, except for the tree and sat on the couch and admired the tree and drank our hot chocolate and listened to Christmas carols on the radio. That was the official beginning of the Christmas season at our house. When I was 11 and had to wear glasses for the first time, my Mom said, "Oh, you are so lucky! Just wait until you see the Christmas tree without your glasses!" She was right. My myopic view of the blurry Christmas tree was magical. I still like to take off my glasses to look at the tree.
I remember hanging our stockings up on the bookcase, because the house we lived in didn't have a fireplace. We actually hung one of our own socks, or borrowed one of Dad's when we figured out our little socks didn't hold much. Then one year my grandmother sent us all big felt socks, with our names on them. She had made one for each grandchild and decorated them with sequins and beads and felt cut-outs. I still hang mine up. It doesn't look too bad for being more than 50 years old.
This week I finally made a Christmas sock for Sofia. I have intended to do that since she was born.
I hope she likes it. I wonder if she will still hang it up and think about me 60 years from now.