I was about 5 years old and living with my grandmother since forever who generally had no time for me. Yes, she saw to it that I had a roof and a meal although she never showed me how to tie my shoes, read a story to me (probably because I didn’t own a book), give me a hug or tuck me in at night. I spent most of my days just trying to stay out of her way. I became somewhat of a feral child and never wanted for anything such as toys or pretty clothes. I lived in jeans, T-shirts and tennis shoes without laces. I had one plaid dress with a ruffled collar for "just in case" my grandmother would say.
So, when Christmas rolled around that year and she asked me what I wished for (which was a first – her asking me), I shrugged my shoulders and gave no reply.
Several days passed when I noticed a package under our tiny tree that she’d put up and loaded with handfuls of tinsel looking more like silver starbursts mangled around one string of big, bright multi-colored lights. The package was wrapped in tissue paper and held my interest until the next day. I couldn’t stand not knowing what was inside that paper. I poked at it not even knowing who the gift was for. As I continued to pinch and prod, the paper began to tear and before I knew it, the evidence of wrinkled paper was a dead giveaway that someone had tried quite unsuccessfully NOT to open that gift, which was a baby doll.
As carefully as I could to cover my tracks, I gingerly rewrapped the doll and held my breath for what seemed like hours until my grandmother discovered the dastardly deed I had committed and she did. She sternly called out to me, the obvious culprit, so no point in denying it. Tearfully, I confessed that I didn’t mean to unwrap it so much, just a little, and then I’d done a bad job of it.
She very kindly said that she would rewrap the baby so I could open it again on Christmas day without any worries. That was it. No scolding. No swat. No punishment. Years later, I decided that the best gift I received that year became one of my first life lessons – compassion and understanding.
I have one I remember. Xmas eve in Cam Ranh Bay. We were going through the officer's quarters singing xmas carols. Had been in country 6 months and that was Dec. '66. Guess the officers didn't mind too much. Memories' stuck with me over 50 years.
I have several favorite Christmas memories, all happening years ago. One is of my Dad who nearly tripped down the steps at my childhood home when he gave me a Christmas card with $100, then alot of money. He had come home from work, and probably had one too many beers which he dearly loved. My Mother and I had a lot of laughs for years afterward. My Dad passed away 40 years ago.
Actually, my favorite memories of Christmas are keeping the traditions alive that my parents began, like always having mixed nuts and homemade cookies beginning on Christmas Eve and continuing through the New Year.
Christmas 1962 was a few months after our father died. Money was tight and we couldn'f afford a tree or gifts. This was the year of those atrocious spray painted trees, hot pink, bright blue and even black. My brother Lonnie, who was 12 (I was 10), surprised us all on Christmas Eve when he brought home this tiny, bent, broken BLACK tree. He had stolen it! It was the most beautiful tree I've ever seen and is one of the best memories I have of Christmas and of my favorite brother.
Going to Candlelight Service at church on Christmas Eve at 11:30pm after a 3-course Christmas dinner for 3 with my , now deceased, mom to sing Christmas carols and welcome Christmas. I miss that so much. Think I would cry if went alone.
My youngest daughter had a baby so she sat and wrapped Christmas gifts with me which was unusual but so very nice. I enjoyed watching her take such delight in wrapping gifts for her baby.
The reason this is now one of my favorite Christmas memories, yet a sad one also is because the next April she was killed. I go back every year and see her sitting at the table wrapping gifts with such joy and how much I miss her.
Christmas was always my Favorite Holiday, now I just celebrate for the Grand-Kids but my heart is not in it, my heart is in Heaven with my baby girl I miss so much.