Thursday, December 19, 2013

Precious Christmas Memories~

My long term memories are not great but I do remember a few precious Christmas moments from my childhood, teen years and our married family life. 
I remember as a child loving to go to our Church for the annual Christmas party. Of course, all I could think about was seeing Santa there. Once  we settled in for the Christmas program I was excited by that too. The program always included a Nativity play by the children. I know that I was in a few of them. I never had a major part; but I loved the singing of the Christmas Carols.
During my childhood Christmas trees were fresh cut ones. My Dad would bring it into our living room and put it in a corner window area and we would decorate the tree. My favorite part was placing the icicles on the tree. My brothers would become impatient and start to just throw them on. I loved the trees; it sparkled. I also loved the long thin bubbling lights. 
 I don't remember that we had very many traditions, except for hanging our Christmas socks on the fireplace and of course, a special Christmas Eve party at our home or a relatives. Christmas day was filled with playing with new toys and if there was snow we would go sledding.
I do remember some of the Santa gifts that I received. I loved dolls and so I always got a doll for Christmas. I had a beautiful baby doll one year that I truly loved.
One year I got a bassinet for the doll. I  also received a little bathtub that you could fill  with water and then empty the water out of the bottom. "What was my mother thinking" of course, we  had water all over. I loved bathing and dressing my dolls.
One of my favorite dolls was a Walkie Talkie Doll. Her hair was long and curled. My mother had several outfits made for her. I still have these dolls and they are in perfect condition.  Here is a picture of them.
My dolls are probably about 60 years old~
I did have one year when I didn't get what I asked for. I wanted an Auntie Oakley Pop gun. I felt a little sad for a moment or two. When I turned 55 years old I finally got one. My dear husband bought one online along with an autographed picture of the actress that used to play Annie  Oakley for my 55th birthday.
I am the one holding the gun.
I remember best the year I wanted a bicycle. For a long time I would go down to the end of my block and ask the neighbor there if I could ride her bike. I felt so free as I rode that bike around the block with the air flowing through my hair. Oh, how I loved riding a bike. I asked Santa for one and hoped with all my heart I would get this prayed for blessing.
We had an L shaped  living room and dinning room. As I came into the room I looked at  the tree in the corner and there was no bike to be found. I tried to be very brave but I almost started crying. As I walked over to the tree I looked into the dinning room area and there it was placed by the hutch. It was a new three speed bike and oh how I wore that wonderful bike out.

I remember loving to go to see Santa. I remember the year that I realized there was no real Santa. I recognized the neighbor who was playing Santa that day.I don't think I let on with my parents that I knew this for a while. 
1956 - Santa and me~
I did learn a hard lesson about sneaking a peek at a Christmas present. My older brother served in the Navy. He came home on leave for Christmas. One day I went snooping through his drawer and found a pair of Japanese Pajamas and two Japanese  dolls. I knew they were for me. On Christmas morning I had to pretend that I hadn't seen them at all; I felt so bad. Trust me that was the end of the snooping era for me 
When I was in 8th grade I wanted to be in the school Choir. I especially wanted to be in the Christmas Choir. When I went to audition the choir director talked me into being the narrator for the Christmas program. I memorize all of the Christmas verses in Luke. I can still say some of the lines. I was so scared when it was time for the performance; but I made it through.  It was a self esteem building moment in my life.
As a teenager I always loved Christmas time. When I started dating my favorite guy; the season was even better. The Christmas season was filled with dances, movies and just being together was the best of all. He was a very romantic young man and still is. We still dance by the tree.  We have always enjoyed quiet evenings together and special dates. Our senior year he gave me a jewelry box that he made in shop class. It was lined with the material of a blue velvet dress that my mother had made for a  Christmas dance that year. This is one of my greatest treasures.  Our favorite song became "Blue Velvet" by Bobbie Darrin.
As newlyweds we got carried away buying things for each other on our first Christmas. It was sweet but then we had to pay the bills. 
However the best was yet to come. As we started to have our family; we then felt the true joy of giving and the sweet blessing of worshipping our beloved Savior's birth. 
One of our favorite traditions has been to do a Christmas for a family that was struggling financially.  We would shop for a few gifts for those families and then do a drop and run at their door. A few times our children almost got caught when delivering those Christmas gifts.This has been an ongoing tradition that we have passed down to our family.
 The one thing that I cherish most is the memories of our Christmas Nativity Programs through the years. We would dress the children in Nativity costumes and then do a play with singing together in between. As more children came into our family we had parts for a shepherd, wise man and an angel. There were so many wondrous moments.   As our children learned to sing and play instruments the productions became more involved. The funniest moment was when my husband played the part of the donkey carrying Mary. We all burst out laughing at the donkey with his donkey ears. 
 Here are pictures of our Nativity Program through a few of the years~
Front row - Jenni, and Christina,
Middle row - James and Travis,
Back row - Sean and Tiffani ~
 We of course loved playing Santa and Mrs. Santa after the kids went to bed. It was fun to set up the toys and just imagine how much fun they were going to have. In the morning the oldest child would lead the train of children as we filed into the room filled with Christmas gifts.
My hubby and I also have a tradition of giving one another special thoughtful gifts, some of them on the serious side and many on the funny side. One year I gave him a teddy bear because he had told me he never had one. I couldn't imagine not having a teddy bear growing up.

 One of the funniest was the year that we had a difficult time getting Cabbage Patch dolls for our three girls. Unbeknownst to either of us, we each got one to give to each other that year too. I gave him a little boy and he gave me a little girl. Now it is part of our decorations.

It is truly so much fun to come up with unique gifts. Sometimes, there have been no cost. We have just given each other sweet Christmas letters.
It is now fun to have the Nativity program with our grandchildren and to see that they have carried on with the most important tradition of all that of making their Christmas Christ-centered. Many of our children do Christmas service activities too. Knowing this brings us great joy.
Alyssa, Faith, Sariah and Levi, Emma and Michael, April and Abbey
Sarah and baby Jesus, Michael and the dog and Buddy, William and Kaitlyn~
Joseph, Levi, Faith, Angel Lilly, Jadyn and Baby Jesus Sagan, Joshua and Jeffery~
One of my all time favorite Christmas celebrations was about 14 years ago. We had our entire family home for Christmas. During the opening of presents my son wrapped up a few items from around the house. The items had a history attached to them. One was my favorite brush.
Over many years that brush served me well. When I would misplace it or think that someone had taken it; I would yell to have everyone look for my brush. Most of the time it was me that misplaced it. When I unwrapped this priceless gift every one burst out in laughter. There were a few more of these items that brought forth a great deal of memories and fun.
I am sure we all have fun Christmas Traditions; I would love you to tell me your favorite Christmas tradition.
May you have great joy this Christmas season. May your love for our Savior envelop you. May you in turn feel the warmth of his love for each of you.


Marie said...

LeAnn, I have so much enjoyed reading your Christmas memories, and seeing the photographs. WE have so much in common. I loved Annie Oakley when I was a girl She was one of my heroines. I also loved dolls. I remember wanting a Chatty Cathy with all my heart, but not getting one. I did get a doll that year though, who I thought looked a lot like Chatty Cathy, and so I tied a string around her neck and pretended she was Chatty Cathy. She ended up being better than a Chatty Cathy because she said a lot more! AND it was more personal! I saved my money up to buy a Barbie doll which I adored and then one year Santa brought my sister and I both fashion dolls that had poseable limbs. They came with their very own plastic vanity dressers and a few tiny accessories. Very nice. Thanks so much for the lovely memories! Merry Christmas to you, your lovely husband and the family! xxoo

Sue said...

I loved reading these memories and could relate to almost all of them. Seems we have lived parallel lives!

Merry Christmas to you!!


Christy Monson said...

Wonderful Christmas memories. Thanks for sharing. Hugs, Christy

Kendra said...

Fun reading your memories. Thanks for sharing!!

Grammy Staffy said...

What fun Christmas memories. I so enjoyed reading about them and seeing all of the pictures. I also loved the bubble lights. I wonder why they don't make them any more???

How is your little Haven doing? So nice to have a new little one as a Christmas gift.

I'm sending my best wishes to you and yours. Merry Christmas dear.


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