Saturday, December 23, 2017

Family Search 52 Stories Week 46

It is the eve of Christmas Eve, so a Christmas writing prompt is in order.

What are your earliest memories of Christmas?

aluminum tree
While my dad was quite thrifty throughout the rest of the year, he went all out for Christmas. He decorated the exterior of the house, stringing lights across the roof line, setting up the two oversized plastic candles, and hanging up the blinking Christmas bell by the front door. Inside various decorations were hung, and the Christmas tree set up and ornaments added. I don't ever remember us having a real tree, but have vivid recollections of the aluminum one which was adorned with blue glass balls similar to the one in the photo at left. The color wheel cast a rainbow of blue, red, orange and green as it whirled around and around. At one point dad purchased a second color wheel, adding to the explosion of color on the tree. Later the tree was replaced with a flocked aluminum tree, though the color wheels remained.

The manger was set up along with the other decorations, but the baby Jesus was not added until Christmas Eve. My brother and I fought about who would get to place the baby in the crib, so mom decided we would alternate years. Then we fought about who had gotten the honor the previous year. Mom couldn't win, I'm sure!

For as long as I can remember, Santa always came on Christmas Eve, and that is when we got to open our presents. When my brother and I were little, we took baths together after supper, and that darn Santa would always come when we were in the tub! As we got a little older, but were still believers, dad made us go with him on a quick trip to the store at that time, and sure enough Santa would come while we were away. Wily old man, that Santa.

Wish Book
When the Sears Wish Book would arrive in the mail, my brother and I would spend hours pouring through the catalog. We would circle items of interest so that Santa (and later our parents) would know what we wanted that year. Today's Amazon Wish List just doesn't have the same appeal as thumbing over and over again through a catalog filled with shiny new toys.

Gifts were plentiful in our household, or so it seemed to me growing up. I'm not sure if it was because he had so little as a child growing up during the depression, but dad was very generous at Christmastime. I think back on the anticipation and excitement of Christmas Eve, with the kaleidoscope of colors bouncing off the walls and ceiling, the Christmas albums playing on the record machine and everyone I loved huddled together in the living room of Des Moines. On that one evening each year, everything was perfect in my world. I'm grateful for the memories, and the songs, that can take me back to that place and time.
Christmas in Des Moines

Merry Christmas!

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