Christmas Memories

With the holiday season in full swing I thought I would write about some of my Christmas memories. The earliest Christmas memory I have is when I think I was 4 years old. We lived in a rental house in Oklahoma on Chickasaw Avenue, which I loved to say because of how “Chickasaw” sounded. I thought the house was very cool, it had two stories and there was a whole wall of doors that opened into a closet. For some reason I was fascinated with all of those doors and how they opened up into this other room. I had a large bed and a toy box that my Dad built for me. I loved to climb in that toy box and hide in it, it was a very large box.

The house had a large fire place and I remember a tree next to it with presents. I don’t remember what all of the presents were but I do remember getting a baby doll from my aunt, a Suzie doll. At least I think she was a Christmas present, she might’ve been a birthday present since my birthday is that time of year. That doll became my favorite baby doll and I still have her up in a closet. She’s a bit worn, her hair was trimmed at one time, because I thought it was messy and I thought it would grow back after I cut it.  In spite of all of that, she was always my favorite baby doll.

A few Christmas’s later, at another house, my grandparents were visiting us. I very much wanted a set of bunk beds for my baby dolls so that I could put more than one of them in a bed. This was also a Christmas when I was wondering whether Santa Claus was real or not. I was tending to believe he wasn’t and that my parents had something to do with the gifts appearing under the tree but I still wasn’t sure. So I stayed awake and crept out to see what was happening in the living room. I could hear the adults talking but couldn’t see much or see if I the bunk beds I had wanted were out there. My Dad saw me and got angry, so I ran back to my room, somewhat upset. My grandma came back in a few minutes and told me that I could come out, so I came out and there were the bunk beds I wanted. Since I was up, the adults let me play with the bunk beds a few minutes before I was sent back to bed. But somehow I knew that Santa hadn’t brought the bunk beds and that my Dad had put them together. It was a little bit of a let down, losing some of the magic of Christmas, but I wasn’t too surprised either. Still a good Christmas, I got the bunk beds, along with some nice warm flannel blankets, so I was able to put my Suzie doll to bed and make sure she was nice and warm.

Another Christmas I remember getting up early with my brother and being very quiet while we checked out our presents under the tree. I had gotten a metal doll house, don’t remember what my brother got. I remember checking the dollhouse against the JC Penney catalog and wondering why it didn’t quite match. And there was always a little bit of disappointment in not getting everything I had put on my list. Which I had conveniently referenced to the toy section in the JC Penny catalog. The JC Penny catalog was one of the most eagerly awaited pieces of mail during that time of year. My brother and I would take turns going through the pages, circling what we wanted and noting down page numbers. If I remember correctly, if I had gotten everything I wanted, I don’t believe my room would have held all of the toys. We circled a lot of pages for the toys my brother and I wanted.

The biggest Christmas I remember is when I got a 3-speed bike and my brother got his train set. Bikes with more than one speed had just come out for regular use so it was a big item to ask for. And it had brakes on the handles, which was another cool factor. It was a Schwinn bike, a lime green color. A year ago I saw a green Schwinn bike that looked like a duplicate of that old bike, that certainly brought back memories. Didn’t have a banana seat or tassels from the handlebars but it was still cool.

Another big part of Christmas was decorating the tree. Most of our ornaments were made by my great grandmother or my grandmother. I now have some of these ornaments that my Mom gave me when I left home. The ornaments are a Styrofoam ball covered with fabric, beads, ribbons and pins. As the years went by, fabric from clothes for special occasions were used to cover the Styrofoam. So I have Christmas ornaments made with fabric from my wedding dress, a bridesmaid dress, my sister’s bridesmaid dress that she wore for my wedding and fabric I used to make a dress for a competition in 4-H. So each year when I decorate the tree I have many memories that come up as I hang each of these ornaments on the tree.

Just a few memories, there have been many good Christmas’s over the years. And each year I enjoy the colored lights, the Christmas songs and thinking about family and traditions. A Merry Christmas to everyone and may each one be merry and bright for you.