We start shopping for Christmas way before we used to...in fact, I remember hearing from Mamoo about the Christmas Eve's spent shopping for the family gifts. They put their tree up on Christmas Eve, also. The neighborhood would get together and walk around caroling after trees were decorated, and then they went shopping downtown! Quite a difference from today's customs.
And then there was my "Chicken Pox Christmas"...I was about 10 yrs. old, and fell to the fever a week before Dec. 25. Not a stellar holiday in my memory. I spent Christmas Day covered in pink calamine lotion.
One of my own personal fav memories was a collection of years when the girls and I always went to Christmas Mass at the local Episcopal church at midnight...on the way back I'd point out Rudolph's red nose in the sky, telling them we'd better hurry and get home so they could get to bed for Santa to come! lol The "red nose" was a light at the top of a radio/tv tower off in the distance. Served it's purpose all year long keeping low-lying planes from hitting it, and then the all-important 'job" of being Rudolph on Christmas Eve...
EVERY Christmas, I'd ask Santa for a horse! EVERY year I didn't get one!!! By the time I was 8 or 9 yrs. old, I'd decided Santa just wasn't listening! One year, he brought a ping pong table..and I was not impressed at all. Staring at it on Christmas morning, thinking it should have been a horse, I overheard my Uncle Gordon telling my Dad that the table sure was hard to get through the door the night before....well, I knew then and there WHY I never got a horse for Christmas!!!! I also quit asking in following years, knowing my parents were dead set against my having a horse...I remember the year that Martha, a friend of mine, was given a Shetland pony for Christmas. A few days after Christmas I visited her to see her new pony and HATED her! Actually, it was a mean devil, and they got rid of it a few months later.
The BEST Christmas present I ever received was from my grandmother (mamoo)...a beautiful diamond and sapphire ring. I wore it until it was lost sometime in my 30's...loved that ring.
From about age 5 until I was around 9, I was the an "angel" in the First Methodist Church's annual Christmas pageant, produced and directed by my grandmother (mamoo, again)...I really wanted to be the head angel, but that honor went to my Aunt Beverly. It was fun from year to year anyway, and one year I was dressed in this beautiful red dress with a tulle skirt and red velvet sash, with a red velvet bodice dotted with little rhinestones..very sparkly...and sang "Deck The Halls" as a solo. I was about 8 yrs. I still have photos of some of those productions.
Our annual Christmas Eve dinner and tree at Mamoo's every year was a highlight of the season..a formal sit-down dinner at her huge dining table, with great turkey and dressing, cooked by the old Southern black, Gussie. Oh, how she could cook! The entire family would dress up for the occasion, and arrive at her house around 5:30 p.m. Dinner would be served by 6....and her living room was closed off until after dinner, because she kept the tree and the tons of presents under it under wraps. It was SO hard to stay out of that room until after dinner! Then, after dessert, she would announce, "now, let's all go into the living room for carols and the tree"! Finally, we could go in there, with the fireplace burning, and somehow this huge room was magical on that night. We have to suffer through endless carols, while she played the grand piano for us, and a few years I was MADE to sing Silent Night from the balcony overlooking the living room. I hated doing that. At last, she'd say, "son, will you be our Santa?"...and the next hour was spent ripping through wrapping and boxes. At the end, we'd all have out little pile of gifts from her to carry out to our cars to get home "before the real Santa came". It was sad when she stopped her annual dinner, as she was just too old to do it anymore. A great tradition was ended.
I have wonderful memories of Christmas past....when I was a girl....