Friday, December 23, 2016

Celebrating Christmas

I love Christmas. Always have and always will. Some of this I inherited from my grandfather. He adored Christmas. He decorated his front yard every year. For several, he had Santa on the roof and a full-size sleigh and two reindeer on the lawn. The deer were made of reinforced concrete. After Grandpa died, my parents took them to our new house. My brother and I grew up with them. We pretended to ride them. Eventually, they crumbled and, somewhere along the way, they disappeared.
My dad and Grandpa built the little picket fence and the “little houses” on the wall in the photo. Eventually, they created a whole village on the lawn with lampposts made from tin cans, complete with lights, and a tiny picket fence. (This photo was probably taken around 1945.)

By the time Grandpa died, he and Dad had made about a dozen houses and a replica of the Wee Kirk of the Heather church at Forest Lawn, where my parents were married (and where my dad was buried in 1954). However, a couple of years after Grandpa died in 1948, a fire in my grandparents’ garage destroyed most of the houses. Like the reindeer, we had a couple of unfinished houses in our garage growing up. Dad could probably have finished them, but I suspect he lost interest after Grandpa died.

Mom loved Christmas, too. Although we never had much money, she tried to make the holiday as special as she could. She shared her father’s enthusiasm. Mom was a pianist and loved Christmas music. Throughout the season, she played all the old hymns and some of the popular seasonal songs. My memories of the holiday are filled with the sounds of carols.

For years, we hosted the family Christmas Eve party for up to forty people. We had a sit-down dinner each year. I made the meal and everyone brought decorated cookies. The adults drew names for one gift each, but all the children received a small gift from everyone until they were eighteen or married. One aunt always gave crazy socks. Another gave each child a crisp, new two-dollar bill. An uncle gave them each a new silver dollar.

When we moved to our present home, we continued to host the family get-togethers.
Even though our parents’ generation is gone, and many of the cousins have moved away, we still have the family here to celebrate. On Christmas Eve this year, those who are able to join us will be here again, and my grandfather’s tradition of honoring the holiday.

Wishing you and yours a blessed Christmas and a wonderful New Year.


  1. Sounds like you have many cherished memories of Christmas past, and that's a wonderful thing! Merry Christmas!

  2. What a great picture of Christmas decorations of our childhood. My mom painstakingly painted a Christmas scene on our front window. It was always a surprise as each year was different. Merry Christmas

    1. My mom took Glass Wax and made blobs to resemble snow with "drifts" in the corners. It all looked fake, and the design was the same each year.