Friday, December 28, 2012

Holiday Memory


Today we’re sharing a special holiday (any holiday) memory.

Deb: I have so many wonderful memories of Christmases past, but I will focus on one from Christmases long past. When I was a kid, I would sleep like a doornail, except on Christmas Eve, which I am sure was the case with many of us. I would wake up somewhere in the middle of the night and see my stocking laying at the bottom of my bed, gleaming and teaming with delights! When I still believed in the literal Santa I would be too afraid to move, lest he hear me from the living room, thus ruining my whole family’s Christmas. But when I entered the believing years that did not include Santa, I would wake up and gingerly open my stocking, piece by piece, chocolate by chocolate and thrill in each thing. I would then put them all back exactly how I found them and fall asleep with visions of my very own sugarplums dancing in my head. When I woke up, the family gathered around to watch my brother and I open our stockings. I would ooooh and ahhhhh at every single thing. My Mom (one of the great stocking stuffers of all time!) didn’t suspect a thing. Never have my acting skills come in so handy.

Barbara: I also have many special memories from Christmases recent and long ago, but the one memory that popped into my mind when we decided to write this comes from an Easter celebration when I was 7 or 8. My father was king of the magical set-ups and, for some reason, Easter was his specialty. I think because we always hid upstairs in one of our bedrooms while Santa did his thing on Christmas Eve (we celebrated—and continue to celebrate—on Christmas Eve), there was no chance to change up the surprises. In other words, we hid, Santa came, bells were rung, we’d come downstairs and we’d be surprised and delighted by the bedazzled tree and the gifts flowing from underneath (don’t get me wrong, it was GREAT). But every Easter egg hunt had to be different. Sometimes we celebrated at home, sometimes on a hike in the woods, sometimes in a park, sometimes in our backyard, sometimes it would be warm spring, sometimes still cold winter. But the bunny always managed to hide its treasures without us knowing and we’d always stumble upon them as if my father had nothing to do with it (I should also give kudos to my mother for diverting our attention!). But that one year when I was 7 or 8, it was cold and snowy out and we were all hiding in our kitchen so the bunny could go about its humble work in the living room. I was at an age when I might have been suspecting my parents had something to do with the holiday magic. Certainly I was on high-alert, paying close attention. Now, all the magic visitors to our house always announced that it was safe to come out and revel by ringing a bell of some kind. Well, on that day, while every single member of the family waited in the kitchen, that magic bell rung—all on its own—from faraway in the living room. The Easter bunny had come with no adult interference! That moment of impossible possibility never left me, and co-opted me a few more years of devoted belief.

(Years later, when I was an adult, I asked my father how he did it. He gave an innocent shrug. But I worked out that there might have been a fishing line rigged to the bell.)

Any significant memory of a holiday in your life?


31 comments:

  1. A few holidays ago, my grand kids were leaving a note and cookies for Santa stating that they were Jewish and celebrated Hanukkah but they had stockings at a neighbor's so please go there, After making it looked like the cookies were eaten I went to bed and in the morning the kids either had slept here or came here and the cookies were gone but there was a tiny bell left behind. i didn't leave it nor did anyone else have the opportunity. I looked at all my Hanukkah decorations and none had bells on them to have fallen off. Okay, I did become a believer in magic. Do this day we never found an item missing a bell and have no idea how this got there.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Oh Madge I love this! What a lovely story to tell over and over as your family expands!

    ReplyDelete
  3. My story is similar to Barbara. One Christmas morning when I was young, I woke up to the sound of a bell outside my bedroom window. Mind you, my bedroom was upstairs. I remember running to get my brother, who was probably 15 or 16 at the time. Then we ran to our parents' room and jumped on their bed to wake them up and tell them what we heard. I was never told how that bell got rung.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Awww Deb thats sooo adorable!!! I can imagine you in that story...with your superb acting skills. And Barb, thats such a GREAT STORY!!! And soo wonderful!

    Ohh boy...Holiday memories....I'll have to dig deep. I think it was long time ago. And it is A Christmas memory. Funny, I didnt think I had one. Its pretty cute. I remember I was a Cartoon-addict as a child..TOO. :D Me and my mom had a tradition during Christmas. Every year on Christmas, cartoon network aired the Grinch animated movie. Me and my mom watched it every year when I was a kid, along with Jingle all the way and Home Alone. I felt like I was there. I could feel the snow, the Christmas vibe, the Choirs, the aromas coming from the kitchen, the beautiful tree decorated next to a wonderful warm fireplace. I could feeel all of it even though NONE of it was there. Ive FELT something special about Christmas since then. I've felt a familiarity. Curiosity. Unconditional Love and warmth....Its amazing isnt it? How one of the coldest festivals in the world can be sooo comfortable and warm and soft.
    I think those Christmases spent with my mom watching those movies created a special bond with Christmas in my mind. And I LOVE IT!!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That IS cute, Shalaka! And you are so right about the singular warmth and coziness of Christmas. It's very much part of the appeal.

      Delete
  5. I was 8 we were stationed in Germany. My dad was off doing an Army thing until Christmas Eve. My mom decided she wanted to have a tree like she did as a child. All gold ornaments and white lights. We three kids were bummed. We were half Texan. So we loved pulling out all the bright coloured ornaments we had for the tree. Let me tell you, there is no such thing as too much glitter or sequins.
    But mom was the boss, so we decorated the tree the way she asked. (Funny as an adult, I understand nostalgia.) The night before dad came home, mom was bending behind the tree to unplug the lights. She lost her balance and toppled the tree. My mom started to cry. We three kids were frozen with fear and delight. My sister and I started the clean up and did not see my brother run out to the storage area to grab the other ornaments. Nothing was said that night as we cleaned up and redecorated. A few gold ornaments were left. It wasn’t so funny that year.
    But every year after, whoever would pull out the box of gold ornaments, would hold them up in the air, and we as a family burst out laughing. Mom would say she swore we did something to tip the tree.
    If I wasn’t home for Christmas, my mom would always send me some kind of gold ornament with my Christmas package. I still at the age of 48 will chuckle to myself when I see gold ornaments in a store.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ohhh, Heidi! True meaning of "bittersweet" right here. Thanks for sharing.

      Delete
  6. Your story, Barbara, has reminded of of being a tiny tot, two or three years old, and coming "home" to my grandparents' rented house on Christmas Eve in our home town of Margo, Saskatchewan. From my comfortable spot carried in someone's arms after an evening of visiting, I saw Rudolph's shiny red nose high up in the night sky. Yeah!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, and this reminds me of a time when I was also about 2 or 3 and I'd lost a favourite doll and I was on the ground looking for it when suddenly it just fell out of the sky! I still remember my shocked delight -- as well as looking up to see my Dad's shocked and delighted face above me. Funny how my child self and my grownup self can meld on this memory...

      Delete
  7. I have a Christmas memory that stands out from the rest because it was unlike any Christmas I had experienced before or since.

    When Bruce, (best X ever) and I lived in Los Angeles we spent a lot of time with our friends Ryan and Pat. Pat was pregnant with their first child. They wanted to spend Christmas in Vancouver with their families and spring the news on them over the holiday. Bruce and I gladly offered to stay in L A and look after their dogs and cats so they could travel. 2 weeks before Christmas, Bruce got a job in Toronto and it soon became apparent that I would be spending Christmas alone in Los Angeles with animals for company.

    Friends and aquaintances invited me over to spend Christmas Day with them but it didn't feel like something I wanted to do so I prepared for my Christmas day alone. I made sure I had food treats I loved to eat and movies on hand I wanted to watch. My Mom back in Toronto was beside herself at the turn of events and sent down a 'care' package as well as a fresh Christmas Wreath 'so at least it would smell like Christmas'.

    The day came and frankly, without the people you love around, its just another day. When it came time to walk the dogs, I turned left instead of right when I headed down the street and thought I might try my luck walking the dogs on the beach. In L A beaches are a strictly no dog zone, but I thought the beach would be empty (everyone doing their Christmas thing) and certainly the bylaw officers wouldn't be working!

    Much to my surprise the beach was covered with dogs. They chased balls, retrieved sticks from the ocean and milled around their owners who stood in loose groups and exchanged Christmas day pleaseantries. Roadie and Stan joined the other dogs and I struck up conversations with complete strangers (if you have ever lived in L A you would know how unusual that is!).

    At a certain point, we all stopped talking as our attention was drawn out over the water. A pod of killer whales and dolphins swam southward down the coast. We were mesmerized! Our hands went up to shield the low sun from our view and other than the odd ohhh or ahhh, that was it.

    I don't know how long we had stood there when I became conscious of some movement in our group. One of the men was taking his socks off, then his pants. He started running for the water as he took off his shirt and tossed it back toward us. In he dove and swam right in amongst the whales and dolpins. We stood on the shore and cheered him on. I can't speak for others in the group but he was certainly, in that moment doing something I wished to do.

    Best Christmas Memory ever!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh my god, Fran, this totally gave me shivers. Thank you so so much for telling us! (and this would utterly be my dream experience if I couldn't have my beloveds around)

      Delete
  8. Ok I've got one.

    My mom's side of the family does what's called a Christmas pickle. It's an ornament shaped like a pickle. Whichever one of us kids finds it hidden in the tree gets a present and "a year of good luck and blessings." I think the tradition originated in...Germany???? Not 100% sure.

    So anyway, a few years ago my brother REALLY wanted a Play Station 2. My mom got him one and decided to make that be the pickle gift. So in other words HE had to be the one to find the pickle. It was later in the day when he found it; Holly and I had already found it a zillion times but had to pretend that we didn't. He found it and got his PS2. He was quite surprised and we all got a good laugh out of that. Holly was technically the first one to find it, but yeah. Good times. I don't think I'll ever forget that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's adorable! I suddenly feel like I heard about the Christmas pickle. Did we talk about it last year maybe? Or maybe someone else does it? Anyway, I didn't remember this part of the story -- and it is... just... as I said, adorable!

      Delete
  9. I grew up in Montreal and I remember one year when I was about eight years old, the Church asked my Father to be Santa Claus at their Christmas party. He wore the Santa suit form Eaton's (don't know how they managed that one) and looked really authentic. After he did the Church Christmas Party, he walked down our street through the snow ringing his bells and saying "HO HO HO MERRY CHRISTMAS" The parents must have been previously alerted to this and all of the kids came running out of their houses and we had a sort of street Christmas Party with all the children believing that Santa just walked down their street. It was magic and I don't think I ever felt so proud of my Father. He was a super star to all of the kids AND, he was my Dad!!! What a Christmas!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Awww. So sweet that him being Santa didn't ruin it for you. This reminds of a favourite moment from this year. When Santa comes here every Eve, he always makes a big commotion while the kids hide upstairs. He stomps his feet and HO HO HOs and laughs and Merry Christmas-es. My daughters -- now fully grown, mind -- didn't know UNTIL THIS YEAR WHEN HE TOLD THEM that their own father did the voice!

      Delete
    2. Awww! That is so lovely Barb!!! xo

      Delete
  10. I don't remember which year, but when I was a small child, I remember finding a bag of toys, still in their packages, in my mother's shoe closet. I took them all out of the bag and admired them, and thought that they were the best toys in the world. A few days later, we wrote our letters to Santa, and I asked for exactly those toys for Christmas. I remember being amazed to discover that I got everything I asked for that Christmas. Funny how well that worked out! It was probably another two or three years before I realized my parents were Santa Claus!

    PS - Hi from Cartagena, Colombia! I've had a heck of a time getting internet access, and still haven't been able to watch your video blogs from over the holidays - I hope to catch up. But I'm back in range for now!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Heya, Hannah!! Hope it's lovely there. Thanks for the laugh on this one. Aren't kids the best?

      Delete
  11. I love reading these whimisical (<---spelling?) stories we all remember so well. Here's mine.
    It was xmas and I would have been 5 or 6. I am and have always been a skeptical person. I ask too many questions and want to know the why and how behind everything. (I once got in trouble in school for asking too many questions, but that's a whole nother can of worms)

    So leading up to xmas this one year I was doubting santa. I had my evidence and arguments ready to present my case to my parents. Basically they just sort of shrugged off my questions, deciding that 5 was too young an age to ruin the magic of xmas.
    So I set out on my own to prove if santa was real or not. I did the best any 5 year old with a box of crayolas would do. I drew a picture and wrote a letter to the big man himself. Instead of asking for gifts like most 5 year olds who write to santa my letter went a little like this:
    "Santa, I don't believe you exist. Please prove you do and sign on the line. x____________"
    So I added a little reindeer and sleigh drawing to make it jolly and left it by the cookies and milk on xmas eve.
    The next morning the letter had santa signed on the line. I was sucked in for another two or three years of magic.
    Turns out my dad signed it with his left hand (he's right handed)
    I know mom kept this paper for us to laugh over later and I can't wait for it to resurface again.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hilarious! (I love these stories soooo much!)

      Delete
  12. I read your blog all the time, and I don't normally comment but seeings how we're sharing our holiday memories I figured I'd share one of my favorites.

    When I was 6 I was a Spark (Girl Guides) and every year for Christmas we would get together at our Elementary school and have a little Christmas get together. But this year they had gotten someone to dress up as Santa to come in and give us all little goodie bags. When it was my turn to receive mine I went up and sat on his lap. I didn't say a word, I just sat there and looked at him. He asked me my name and what I was wishing for for Christmas and I didn't respond, I just sat there in silence. Finally my mother went to take me off his lap and let the other kids take their turns, and that's when I spoke. I looked at him and asked him if he was real. He laughed and said that of course he was. I said that I thought he was lying, so he said I'll prove to you I'm real. He took my little gold ring that I had received for my 5th Birthday and said "When you get home tonight, this ring will be under your pillow". Then after all the children had gotten their turn, he got up and left, my gold ring in hand. It was another half hour until we would be leaving and I can remember being so excited to go home and check. When we pulled into the driveway my mother said to me, "Look Shauna, there on the lawn!" and when I looked there were huge boot prints going right across the lawn to the front door. I jumped out of the car and ran into the house straight into my room and sure enough my ring was underneath my pillow! I couldn't believe it, I think it was one of the happiest moments in my childhood.
    I found out years later that Santa was an uncle of one of the other kids. He had also worked as a volunteer fire fighter with my father, so when he left he drove to my house and explained what had happened and my father placed it under my pillow for him.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is too sweet, Shauna. You certainly picked a good one to comment on -- I will treasure this one! (makes me wish I'd done this when my kids were young - just for the ideas...)

      Delete
  13. I've tried to remember something, but unfotunately I haven't had any luck yet. I know my first 6 Christmasses (and other holidays) have been good ones so I should remember them. Maybe I need a bit of different environment around me to access those memories again.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Hey...I turned 30, and I survived it...anyway...

    When I was a kid, I really enjoyed christmas eve. We have these (kind of) opaque glass doors separating the living and the dining room. They were always closed on christmas eve. We sat down, and tried to "look" through the glass, and all we could see were the lights of the christmas tree, looking like crystals and tiny stars. I always thought it was magical, although I knew that my Dad and my Granddad lit the candles on our tree...

    I always wrote a christmas list, and left it outside. And it was always gone. I could never explain it...

    But I love these little "miracles". They belong to christmas, I guess. ;)

    Oh..and I have another Easter story.
    I was little. Like 5 or 6, and my family visited my uncle in Berlin. My mother and I went for a walk, and suddenly, I saw chocolate easter bunnies. Wherever we went, they were already there. I don't know, who put them there (it hadn't been my Mum), but I loved it, and I ate them all. ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love these miracles too, Becki! Your Easter experience sounds so much like my own. :)

      Delete
  15. First let me say I have fabulous memories of Christmas both as a child and as an mom with 5 kidlets. I'm HUGE on Christmas, love everything about it and this year put up 12 full size Christmas trees. But my memory is about Easter Sunday when I was 14 - We had just gotten home from church and were heading to Grandpa and Grandma's house - of course. Something wasn't right though and Dad was acting weird. When we got to G & G's house, the family gathered around and told my mom the news - that her only son, my brother had been killed by a hit and run driver the night before. Oh and this was also the year that my mom's birthday fell on Easter Sunday. My Dad waited to tell her until she had family around for more support - which she would definitely need. I know this is a sad post but to never speak of it seems to me like we are ignoring both her pain that she endured as well as my brother's tragedy. Anyway, sorry, but that's what I remember every year on Easter as well as my mom's birthday. We miss him very much. Mom has been gone now for 2 years but I have to say she was never the same. Anyway thanks for letting me share and Happy Happy New year to everyone!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lana, this is a terribly sad story, of course, but I completely agree with and respect your take on talking about these things that happen to us. I know if I don't share them, they don't seem to fill up the real space, but just hover in shadow, you know???. Thank you! xo

      Delete
  16. The reply feature isn't working so I'll respond here. Exactly Barbara!! Thank you for not being offended!!

    ReplyDelete

We love it when you share your own stories and experiences! Welcome.