The Best of Family Christmases Past
Over the years I have had many wonderful Christmases. But when I think of Christmases past, I think of one picture in my box of old, yellowed, crinkled family photographs, a picture that brings floods of sweet memories of Mom and Daddy and our family Christmas traditions.
Our Christmas ritual began with cutting our own tree. In the early years, on the day before Christmas, we trudged through the snow through our “back forty” over to a nice stand of evergreens just waiting for our annual visit. We took ever so much time going back and forth between the trees considering the merits of each one. The younger kids, Little Bobby, me, Charley, and Judie just ran around making noise and playing hide-n-seek (with maybe a snowball fight or two) while the bigger kids, Beverley, Bill, Shirley, and Adam did the actual tree hunt. Joyce and Joanne were already off working at their jobs, so they missed this fun.
There was one rule on these tree-hunting expeditions: no bickering. We could voice our opinion, but we couldn’t argue.
Even so, Mom always had the last word on the Christmas tree choice. She was very particular. She didn’t want any old scrawny tree. Her tree had to be just right, nice and plump and tall and rounded on each side, not too tall, and not too short. If a tree was lopsided, we didn’t cut it. If the spaces between the branches were too wide, we didn’t cut it. If the branches weren’t evenly distributed top to bottom, we didn’t cut it. This was not an easy job, but somehow we always managed the find just the right tree to make Mom happy.
Then when we found the perfect tree, the only one that would do, the older boys or Daddy cut it down. We dragged it through the snow back to the house. But Mom wasn’t ready for it to come in the house. First, the snow had to melt off the tree, and second, we had to clean the house to make it ready for the festivities to come.
Soon enough, we could decorate the tree with strings of colored lights and brightly colored glass ornaments. We placed those on the tree with great care, under Mom’s supervision, making sure that each section of the tree had the correct proportion of the various colors. Sometimes we strung popcorn or cranberries to drape on the tree.
Then the final step. Hanging the silver tinsel. And mind you, this had to be done to Mom’s specifications. We could not just throw the tinsel at the tree and hope for the best. (Only darling Little Bobby could get away with that!) No. If anyone did that, other than Little Bobby, they couldn’t help trim the tree. We had to hang each strand individually, with only a little overhang of one end of the tinsel, so that the other end could hang down long, all shimmery and delightful. And perfect.
When all was said and done, and the kids finally sent to bed, Mom and Daddy wrapped presents that had been hidden somewhere in the house, basement, or garage until the wee hours of the morning. They probably only got to bed a few hours before we littlest ones woke up eager to start the festivities. We stumbled down the stairs at dawn’s early light to get our first morning look at our beautiful tree and the mounds of presents under it. But we couldn’t open anything yet. That was the rule. We had to wait until Mom and Daddy came downstairs and got some coffee, and Mom had to put the giant turkey loaded with celery, onion, crusty bread, parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme in the oven. Ummm, yum. The smells teased us for hours.
Then we could go at the presents, but only one at a time, mind you. That was the rule.
I remember I wished and wished and wished that I would get a doll for Christmas that year and maybe even a doll cradle or bed.
And look, I did get that doll (far right in picture) even a dollie bed. I was one happy little girl. All of us kids got things we treasured. (I remember us kids singing “A Frog Went A-Courting,” on and on, um-hmmm, accompanied by Bill’s new ukulele.)
My doll has long been forgotten, but the precious memories of my parents linger on. Christmas becomes a time of remembering the past with nostalgia and even a bit of sadness…missing our parents who loved us and cared for us, and who worked so hard to provide the shelter, clothing, and food we needed to grow up to be responsible, contributing adults. And now, along with our parents, we miss several siblings, Joyce, Joanne, and Little Bobby who have passed in the past few years. Big families bring great joy throughout our lives, but later in life, as family members pass away, our hearts fill with sadness. Our once big family is shrinking.
Now we siblings all have children and grandchildren of our own, but they are spread far and wide throughout the United States, so Christmas is a lonelier time, and we miss the closeness that shared family traditions bring. Even so, we think of each other and remember our wonderful Christmases past. There’s nothing better than our Christmas memories…except, that is, for making new ones.
NaBloPoMo 30: Fetta Komplett: Finished!
NaBloPoMo 30. The official last post of this challenge. This has been a fun run.
I tried to add a little spice with Nano Poblano.
One of my favorite things about blogging is meeting new bloggers. I load up on categories in my WordPress Reader and find new friends through NaBloPoMo, Cee’s Fun Foto Challenges, WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge, Weekly Travel Theme, A to Z Challenge, Blog Every Day, Book Reviews, and a few more.
I enjoy getting comments and “likes” from my faithful visitors. That is so encouraging.
One comment from Soesterbror at http://brorsadu.wordpress.com had me chuckling. She told me about her great-grandmother…
I commented back that her comment made me think of my dear own little French grandmother, “Grannie,” who mixed English and French when she spoke to us kiddoes. I remember her clear as day, standing in front of her old wood-fired cook stove, with the family dogs Nellie, Queenie, Daisy, and Fluffy scattered around on the kitchen floor hoping for a bite to eat. Dada sat at the kitchen table reading the newspaper.
I don’t remember my Grannie saying “Fetta Komplett,” but my high school French told me that maybe “fetta komplett” meant the same as “fait accompli” or “job finished.” Sure enough, Soesterbror confirmed that.
So, today, I can say “Fetta Komplett” because I have finished my last post for NaBloPoMo 2013. Now on to the next challenge!
In the meantime, I want to thank my most faithful commenters. Your comments always made my day. Thank you so much for taking the time to respond to my posts. And I have enjoyed looking at your posts, too. (Sorry Soesterbror, I can’t read yours! Special thanks for writing your comments to me in English. )
Linda Adams http://garridon.wordpress.com/
Nina Amir http://howtoblogabook.com/
Marilyn Armstrong at http://teepee12.wordpress.com
Blogagaini at http://blogagaini.com
Melissa K. Brander http://mkbrander.com
Tami Clayton at http://tamiclayton.com
Dawn at http://lingeringvisions.wordpress.com
Sheri de Grom at http://sheridegrom.com/
Dhriti at firstname.lastname@example.org
nancyrae4 at http://nancyhdoyle.com/
Cee Neuner at http://ceenphotography.com
Sara Foster at http://www.sarafoster.com.au/the-blog/
frizztext at http://flickrcomments.wordpress.com/
Gaurab at Processing the Life
Glorious Mettle http://gloriousmettle.wordpress.com
Festival of Leaves http://festivalofleaves.wordpress.com
Vicky Inglis http://longingtostray.wordpress.com
Isadora at http://isadoraartandphotography.com/
Danny James https://raleighcatdaddy.wordpress.com
Helen Jameson http://helenjameson.wordpress.com
RFL Jenksy http://rfljenksy.wordpress.com
Karen Mulhern http://smallhouseBigGarden.wordpress.com
K. C. Lee
Lynne at http://Lynnesartandsoul.wordpress.com
Kim Ulmanis http://kimulmanis.com
Kim13 at http://kh1313.wordpress.com/
Kylie at http://thelifeofkylie.wordpress.com
MarneyMae at http://marneymae.wordpress.com
Melissa at http://mkbrander.com/
Nancyrae4 at Http://nancyhdoyle.com
Joanna Henley at http://www.ojosworld.com/
Open lab 2 at http://openlab2.wordpress.com
Ordibild.com http://ordibild.com In the Middle of the Night
Liv Rancourt http://livrancourt.com
Soester at http://brorsadu.wordpress.com
Sue at ismbishop.aol.com
Shrimp (the kat) at http://hairballexpress.wordpress.com
Cheri Speak at http://cherispeak.com
Jodi Lea Stewart
Teresa at http://www.thefatcactus.com
Bruce Thiesen http://brucekthiesen.wordpress.com
Tina Schell at http://travelsandtrifles.wordpress.com/
Cathy Ulrich at http://largeself.wordpress.com
Verena Cave at http://verenacave.wordpress.com/
Irene Waters http://IreneWaters19.wordpress.com
Wise Monkeys Abroad at http://wisemonkeysabroad.wordpress.com
Woolymuses at http://woolymuses.wordpress.com
Zeke Chronicles http://thezekechronicles.wordpress.com
And special thanks also to all those who stopped by and “liked” my blog. It would take me quite awhile to post the links to all of you…and it’s getting late. So I will post my links to you at another time.