Monday, December 06, 2010

Small things

Yesterday we went, with our son-in-law and granddaughter, to cut a Christmas tree. That, for me, is one of the pleasures of living in Oregon, where more Christmas trees are grown than any other state. You can go out to a nearby Christmas tree farm, tramp around through the acres of trees, choose your perfect tree and cut it on the spot. Sometimes you are tramping through rain, or snow, and usually mud. Yesterday was sunny and dry. Perfect. The photo that I took of Sofia and Ray I think really captured Sofia's delight with the whole experience.

It was a lot of fun and it got me thinking about the things I remember about Christmases past.

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.

13 comments:

  1. Wonderful Christmas memories, Terry. I know Sofia will treasure her stocking. I have mine that is the same era as yours. We always had 2 trees. The living room one was Mom's. It was a "theme" tree - i.e., red bows, gold balls, white doves. The rec room tree was my Dad's and mine - ancient, battered balls, popcorn/cranberry strung by us, and tinsel hung one strand at a time. The memory of decorating with Dad is one I cherish. I know that you and Sofia will be making your own memories for the both of you the cherish. Enjoy the moments.

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  2. I do remember specific things like a microscope or the set of Beyer plastic horses...yes, also from the Sears catalog. My mother would buy multiples of things for us three girls..there were three Barbies one year and I remember caring less... so the individual gifts really stood out. Do you remember the gift that got overlooked, perhaps pushed way back under a corner? That was my plain wooden artist's case full of paints, brushes and palette knives.

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  3. Oh Terry, there is no doubt in my mind that Sophia will remember that stocking, as well as the trip for the Christmas tree. I think you win the award for best Grandma E.V.E.R.

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  4. Sophia will surely love that stocking all her life, and I bet that delighted face is thanks to Grandad more than the tree!
    For a few years, I secretly longed for Santa to bring me a (real) elephant but he never did. Maybe if I'd ever told someone ... like my lovely Grandad!

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  5. Just need a "Like" button here.

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  6. I don't remember specific gifts either. Maybe it's because my birthday falls 10 days before Xmas so gifts in general get muddled. I too loved my Breyer horses (like Deb) and I received about a dozen over the years so they must have been Xmas and/or B-Day presents.

    I do remember that we always got an orange and a new box of crayones in our stockings and that Santa wrapped the stocking gifts in tissue paper-- not the holiday paper that gifts from family and friends was wrapped in.

    One of my grandmothers knit my sister and I big striped stockings. They were/are classic. My mom still hasd tehm and pulls them out when we do Xmas together. At home I made stockings for our family. I suspect that my kids will remember them as part of teh holiday decor -- along with several nativity sets and lots of ornaments for the tree.

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  7. That was a neat post, Terry. It almost made me cry. A lot of my Christmases were unhappy because of my family situation, but you don't remember all of that. And things do get better. f

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  8. Thanks for taking us back to a simpler, less complicated time. I am sure that your granddaughter will remember you! Maybe Marco needs one, too.

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  9. I remember shaking the boxes with my name on them like crazy before Christmas and begging to open them early, fully knowing there would be no surprise left for Christmas if I did. Thank goodness the answer was always a resounding NO.

    I love Sofia's Christmas stocking. It looks so professionally hand made!

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  10. Sofia looks so big. More often than not it is the experiences and not the things that we remember. I don't really remember opening anything specific except for my first camera.

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  11. Lovely stockins - and lovely birds!

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  12. Even though I made a new stocking for my grown-up son, he still wanted he old one up too.

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  13. Another sweet, thought-provoking post, Terry. Of course Sofia will think about you 60 years from now! I cherish the old-fashioned felt stocking MY grandmother made for me 47 years ago.

    I might take a photo of it and post it on MY blog! But first I have to get it – and a bunch of other Christmas stuff out of my attic. I am SO behind this year! :-)

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