Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Advent Calendar Day 10

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Day 10? Ten? Is that possible?

I do intend to write some codas in here. The skipped days are day I intend to go back and write codas. But in the meantime, I am Christmas shopping. Shopping, shopping, shopping. I am almost -- almost -- done. I still have to buy for my father and one of my nephews. My father is easy. He needs everything and he is grateful for anything. He stops to appreciate the wrapping paper.  That's my dad. My nephew... Well, he is always polite. But there is a difference in the politeness of someone who has received exactly what they want and someone who receives what they didn't want. :-D

Anyway, this puts me in mind of many other Christmases and holidays. And so today's Advent Calendar is about you. Share with us your earliest Christmas or winter holiday memory. How far back can you remember?

I think my very earliest holiday memory is of the Christmas tree in our house in Glendale. I must have been...hmm. Maybe three? No, probably two. New house, new baby. That's right. My sister would have been a newly born baby. Just three months old. I remember walking around the tree and accidentally knocking off a very fragile red glass horn ornament. There were two of them. Er...one of them.

Anyway, I remember the wonder and the horror of those fragile little ornaments. :-D I remember being totally confused by the holiday. Though not as confused as I was about Easter (where I continued to check many days afterwards to see if more chocolate rabbits had mysteriously arrived during the night).

How about you? Share with us your earliest winter holiday memories. And three random commenters will be picked to receive an audio book download.






58 comments:

  1. I think my earliest Christmas memory is from when we lived in Hawks, Michigan, and I was about 3 years old. We had a lot of Christmas figurines and doll-type characters my Mom would put around the living room to decorate. I remember the tree was always in the corner - this was before we got the artificial white one of my youth - and was adorned with the big colored lights and plenty of bulbs and tinsel. My memories here are few and clipped, but I remember being fascinated with the Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus dolls on the mantle and playing with them.

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    1. At that age the memories have to be abbreviated, right? Because we have the attention span of our years of life. So a two year old...about two minutes. :-)

      Dolls and ornaments. So confusing to kids because they look like toys. But adults shriek when you touch them.

      Am I the only kid who played with the nativity set? :-D

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    2. I still play with my Nativity Set. Shh.. don't judge :D

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  2. Thank you for sharing these lovely moments :-)
    I also remember beautiful, fascinating, yet too fragile in my little paws tree ornaments. The scent of the tree still makes me happy. I was also fascinated by the real chocolate "ornaments" which i wasn't supposed to grab before, when?...i don't remember when they finally allowed me to pick them off the tree. I remember zapping myself on a loose-end of the tree lights, and being alone when it happened and waiting to see if i would be okay. And finally, there was a very ugly teddy bear in a store nearby, and i really really wanted that teddy bear. And despite heavy hints practically every day, i was still amazed when the teddy bear arrived. :-)

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    1. I'm so glad that teddy bear showed up! :-)

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  3. I have two distinct memories of early Christmases. One was that the presents were usually what I needed liked underwear, socks and clothes. I wanted games. My mother explained that Santa felt these other items were far more important! The second memory is of me explaining to both parents that I realized Santa didn't exist as the gift giver because my presents were wrapped with the same paper we used to give other people gifts. I remember my parents just sighing. :)

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  4. Earliest memories of Christmas are of my sister and I arguing. My sister is 7 years older and we are opposites. I wanted multi colored lights, she wanted white. I wanted blinking lights, she did not. There were two handmade ornaments my mom made out of hazelnuts when she was a kids, made to look like women. Two hazelnuts glued together with painted faces, yarn for hair and a kerchief covering the yarn. I would always put them together - sis hated that - I would win as I said the one was our mom adn the other was our neighbor. They were good friends. I just looked, I still put them together on the tree.

    Our tree was in the corner, wall blocking one side and huge armoire that took up the whole wall on the other side. I would grab a blanket and the cat - cat let me do anything to it including dressing it up - and crawl back there and watch the lights. Loved how they reflected off the ornaments. If I got hungry I would search the tree for the chocolate ornaments and have a snack. I would spend hours back there. It was my 'secret' place.

    Also since we celebrate on Christmas Eve, I always thought we were special since Santa visited us first.

    Also an early memory, the firehouse would go around and deliver a small gift to the kids in the town. One year Santa delivered the gifts and I was so happy - I got army men. That joy lasted all of ten minutes when we got the call from the neighbors and their son got a doll. I had to trade. I was not pleased. I sulked and grabbed the cat and hid behind the tree.

    -Andy Slayde

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  5. My earliest memory revolves around going for a Christmas tree. My sister and I climbed into the car and drove to the lot. After a thorough search of the lot for the biggest Fraser fir we took it home. We were so EXCITED. My poor dad had to saw off a good portion of the bottom so it could stand in the living room. I was enthralled with the colored lights, the old ornaments and the tinsel. We had bubble lights, too. Of course, we helped — kinda. But, what I remember most is my sister, Marci, and I crawling under it to stare up at the magical thing above us. We whispered secrets and conjured wish lists. My parents told the story of carrying us to bed for too many years. That was our sister tradition. To share in the glow of lights under our tree. Sounds a little silly now, but it was magic.

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  6. Well, WE didn't drive. My dad drove us to the lot. Lol

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    1. For one moment, I was both impressed and alarmed.

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  7. I love reading all the stories. <3 I wasn't going to comment, but I had to say something when I say you, Josh, and Steve mention playing with the nativity. That is my earliest memory. I was just talking about this last night with a friend. I remember rearranging the animals each day. All the animals from the creche, plus the plastic reindeer from the Santa's sleigh that came from the 5 & 10, plus all my plastic horses from my cowboys and Indians set. :D A few years ago I passed along the cardboard manger I played with to my grandchildren. Shortly after, my daughter in law posted a picture on facebook of my granddaughter with all her manger pieces surrounded by all the Disney princesses. lol. Ah, the tradition continues.

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  8. I think my earliest holiday memory has to be when I was maybe 4 or 5, but I'm sure it has blended with later holidays as well. My family moved from Pittsburgh to northern metro Detroit when I was 4, so I know it couldn't have been earlier than that - I have very few and very fuzzy memories of our house in Pittsburgh. But the thing I recall most about Christmas is crawling under the decorated tree and looking at (reading? I know I read early and had some wordless books, but ?) books by just the lights on the tree. We used to have those strings of great big lights, rather than the little twinkle lights you see so much of now (what can I say - I'm old). I would still do it now if I could still fit under the tree! I also used to sleep under my mom's bed. No claustrophobia here!

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  9. We always went to my Nana's home in the woods of Northern Michigan for Christmas. Lots of snow, lots of great food, lots of great people. We always went out to the tree farm and cut our own tree. Earliest memory is stumbling out of bed all warm and rumpled to find the formerly bare tree skirt now covered with presents, (and my brother waiting not so patiently for me to get up!) Dad taking pictures. Attempting to ice skate on the frozen lake. I'm also convinced to this day I saw Santa's sleigh against the northern lights on Christmas Eve and you can't tell me otherwise :-D ^_^

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  10. When I was three (and a half), we went to Norway to visit my mom's family. At one point my parents went of and left my brother and me with Bestemor (grandma) and Bestefar (grandpa). They didn't speak English and we didn't speak Norwegian, (although my mom tells me the only person who could understand me at that age was my brother. He had to play translator) ...any who, at some point one of the grandparents gave me a banana...I don't know why that stuck in my head, because I don't remember anything else about that trip but I vividly remember that banana.

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  11. Hmmm... Can't really think of a specific memory, just the feeling. Being a kid and a true believer, there is nothing like that excitement. I remember laying in bed and absolutely believing I heard sleigh bells or sounds on the roof. Such a magical time. Now I have a 5 year old and I get to experience all that excitement through his eyes, it's amazing. :)

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  12. The Christmas tree in my grandparents house back then. There was a white bell ornament on one of the lower branches. It looked like covered in snow.

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  13. I remember being so excited and CONVINCED that I could never fall asleep on Christmas Eve (I always managed, however). Then, waking up in the wee hours of the morning when it was still dark outside and creeping out of my room to see if Santa had visited our house yet. AND HE HAD! The Christmas tree lights were on and there, under the tree, was the evidence that I had been a good girl after all. Santa's presents were never wrapped...the elves liked for you to be able to to see them right away. Only presents from Mother and Daddy were wrapped. I miss those feelings of anticipation and excitement. :-)

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    1. Yes! Exactly. The presents from Santa were not wrapped. The presents from mom and dad were wrapped. I think one year there *might* have been some crossover which resulted in peculiar expressions on adult faces. It only happened the once. :-D

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  14. Hmmm...earliest memory. I don't know how old I was, 5 or maybe 6. We were driving around Christmas Eve looking at Christmas lights. Lo and behold, I spied with my little eye Santa driving a VW Bug. We had to go home! I threw such a fit until my parents took us home so I could get in bed before Santa got there. I didn't wonder where the sleigh and reindeer were. I only wanted to make sure I was in bed where all good little girls were on Christmas Eve. I must have extra good that year because my fit didn't make Santa skip me ;)

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  15. Can't remember my age, but fairly young, probably still in the 1960's. I can't recall where we would have got trees from then, but I always remember the galvanised iron bucket full of gravel and water to stand the tree in - no fancy special items in those days - if the tree was lucky, some spare wrapping paper went around the bucket. And on the topish branches, they were 4 different coloured peacocks with brush tails. And of course the lights lasted for years instead of dying during storage each year!

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    1. Ha! We had to buy all new lights this year. You're not kidding about that.

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  16. First Christmas memory... I do not know how old I was. Maybe three? We were living in a very nice house then, with a chimney which my parents would light every evening during winter. I remember a Christmas tree which I thought it was huge (though probably it was not) and my family sitting around it roasting chestnuts... And watching some sentimental movie on TV.

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    1. Roasting chestnuts -- I don't believe we ever did that!

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    2. You should try! They are delicious.

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  17. My first Christmas memory is when I was three or four years. The day of the Reyes Magos, (in Spain, the Magi bringing gifts to children) had for me a doll as tall as me that had a rope on the back and when I pulled, she spoke. I found the most amazing thing in the world.

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  18. I remember cold, wet days walking to school and warm, damp classrooms with decorations. Butterflies in my stomach with excitement throughout December.

    It started with the days leading up to St Nicholas. We put carrots in our shoes at night for St. Nic's horse and found little gifts in our shoe in the morning. Lots of presents at St Nicholas eve with little poems and surprise wrappings. The poems were very funny and my father was especially good in recounting embarrassing facts from the past year. There was always a story about how naughty I'd been at some point but luckily not bad enough to miss out on the presents.

    Christmas time was not about presents but very cosy with the tree, pine scent and all the candles. I loved to 'help' decorating and I can still remember a Christmas where we had real candles in the tree. Later we had electric lights but still a real tree of course.The first thing my sister and I did in the morning was try to find the light that my parents had turned loose the previous night. It was a major triumph when you found the one and turned the string of lights back on :D

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    1. This is the second time I've heard about the carrots in the shoes. I love this!

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  19. My first solid Christmas memory is when I was 6 and got a chemistry set. Somehow, I managed to blow up part of the living room with it. It was glorious.

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  20. Getting the measles when I was almost 3 (i suppose that admission really dates me). My sister was only a few weeks old so I spent the week leading up to Christmas at our friend's apartment across the hall (all three of their kids had the measles). I got to go home Christmas Eve.

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    1. Oh! I got them when I was 5. Thank God it wasn't the holidays.

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  21. My earliest memory of Christmas was when I was 13 – the first Christmas I spent with my parents. I didn’t live with them before then. My grandparents took care of me in China and they had no idea what Christmas was (it’s still not important to most people in China now, though somehow Christmas shopping has earned its place in people’s hearts :p). The first time my sister and I helped my parents set up the Christmas tree (a plastic one, to be reused year after year, as most Hong Kong families do) and the tinsels and ornaments, I had no idea what we were doing and why. Come to think of it, they are not religious people either. It’s more a way to create tradition and memories than anything significant. There were no gifts either, but I was entranced by the little blue lights surrounding the ‘tree’ and felt tranquil that night, in a way.
    Another tradition my dad created for us was to hunt down the most spectacular Christmas lights of the year. Many tall buildings here are decorated lavishly with beautiful designs by Christmas lights, one trying to outdo the other. We always went with a camera and captured all those beautiful designs. It had been the most anticipated night for us for many years.

    Savanna

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    1. This is so interesting. I do think we "grow" into the holidays and our traditions. at first we are merely following the directives. :-D

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  22. I come from a military family. I can remember traveling for Christmas and wondering why presents were in the car as well. I was never sure how Santa knew where we were.

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  23. My earliest Christmas memory was eating Christmas Eve dinner with my grandparents and my sister. I remember it because the dishes served were new to me, especially bagong (Amorphophallus paeoniifolius, a root crop cooked in coconut milk) which quickly became my favorite. I asked my grandma why we didn't have it often and she told me it's a Christmas delicacy and is called as such because it's only available/can only be harvested that time of year.

    But, there was another memory that stuck with me.

    I'm not sure how old I was but... I think I was three… maybe around 1982. My grandparents could still walk on their own then, and they went to Manila (capital of the Philippines) that year without me for once. It was just my elder sister and me in our house. They were supposed to go back home before Christmas day but I think our grandparents didn't make it because on Christmas Eve, my sister expressly asked me to go to bed because "Santa" is coming to put "something" in my sock (that we placed in our Christmas tree, I think she even asked for my wish list lol). But I wasn't sleepy yet… so I wouldn't budge on my seat. She told me Santa won't come unless I'm already fast asleep, and then she proceeded to tell me who Santa was—his clothes, that he did this every year On Christmas eve etc.
    I remember staring at her really hard. I was skeptical. I wanted to point out anybody sneaking around someone else's house at night is suspicious. I don't know. But I guess the reason why I remember this was because it was the first time someone ever said to me something that I didn't… quite believe?

    Nevertheless, I went to bed wordlessly after that. Every year, until I was seven (on second grade) she would ask me to sleep. That year, Santa came to visit our town so I finally saw how he looked like in flesh (I only ever saw him before that on Christmas cards and gift wrappers. This was around 1986… our island—24 hours away from the capital by land—just had electricity but we didn't have TV sets yet because there was no reception). Unlike the other children, I didn't follow Santa around; I just stared at him from the door of our house when he passed by with children surrounding him.

    Afterwards, my best friend came to our house to share her candies with me and we had this conversation:
    Her: Did you see Santa?
    Me: Yes
    Her: But I didn't see you there.
    Me: Silent for a while… and then… Didn't you know your father is Santa?
    Her: Papa?
    Me: Yes.

    It was her turn to be quiet. She looked at me oddly and went home hastily after that. This post made me remember this and I realized maybe her dad was beside her when Santa was going around the town and she was probably wondering what I meant exactly. I blame that remark on the radio for playing I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus most of the time come Christmas season lol. Well, it didn't occur to me then, that anybody could don the suit. Hell, I didn't even think then that "Santas" really do literally wear the costumes and could go around towns and even malls (our town didn't have a mall, still doesn't to my knowledge though they now have TV reception). I thought the song was made to inform the kids who Santa really was.

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    1. Fascinating! Thank you for sharing! :-)

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  24. my earliest memory... gees mb i was 4 or 5 but there was this frozen snow on the bare branches of a tree. It looked so beautiful glistening to me, that i actually tried to take the branch in and freeze it for the entire year. lol needless to say my Dad used that branch in a totally unintended way and the snow was now ice. heh learned me good as they say :)

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  25. I remember helping or trying to help making the nativity scene/creche. Later I also would go up the mountains to fetch the moss for it. Which is now forbidden, as far as I know, but doesn't hinder one of my two brothers from making a big nativity scene outside the house with the same little figurines we used as we were children.

    And then my mother and my father working in team to make homemade ravioli.

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    1. Oh! Gathering the moss is now forbidden? How fascinating.

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  26. My earliest Christmas memory is Christmas tree and glass ornaments in reds, blues and silvers. The lights were in a shape of bells (plastic ones) due to my tendency to take matters in my own hands. Not much changed till today though LOL. Anyway, I think my mom was pregnant with my sister at the time so I had to be three or so. I was fascinated by the ornaments (yes, I broke one or two with my attempt for close examination) and twinkling lights. Those I couldn't brake, I tried. I guess they explained that I can't touch those, only the presents below, because the tree survived to see the next Christmas, but I do remember me sitting in front of it just looking at it for hours (or so it seamed at the time). I still do that :-) .

    Goge

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    1. There is nothing more tempting to a small child than a Christmas tree.

      The only bigger threat to the tree is a cat.

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  27. These are WONDERFUL to read. What a lovely idea, Josh.

    Also my earliest Christmas memory includes Christmas tree. I must have been very young, somewhere around three or four years old. It was the beginning of 70's and we had completely "blue" Christmas tree, decorated with blue ball-shaped ornaments in different sizes, but all of them exactly same shade of dark ocean blue. This was originally my father's idea and it somehow describes his character perfectly — he loves things that have a special "catch" in them, a certain neat idea that appeals to him. So that's why I grew up with a blue Christmas tree. :-)

    Anyway, my earliest Holiday memory is from the moment we're decorating the tree, my dad and I, and I get to hang all the ornaments up high because my dad picks me up and holds me when I carefully place the shining, beautiful blue ornaments high on the prickly branches.

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    1. This was one of my better ideas, I have to admit. These recollections are amazing.

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  28. It probably says something about me that my earliest Christmas memory surrounds one of my favorite presents- a stuffed animal horse with a shiny red halter and fuzzy white mane. I still have it! I remember thinking, "Wow! This is the best! I wonder if Christmas will just keep getting better each year?" But that was and still is the best Christmas! Getting a fuzzy pony while wearing my favorite Wonder Woman underoos and eating the leftover Christmas Eve cookies for breakfast (probably thanks to my brothers and unbeknownst to my parents!)- It doesn't get much better!

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    1. You still have the horse! I love that. :-)

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  29. First, let me say that your Dad sounds like a wonderful man. I don't really think I have a first memory, but my memories of being a young child involve lots of bright light. My Dad had a movie camera and it had a light bar on the top that was like those lights they mount on the top of pickup trucks!! It was hugely bright, and he filmed every Christmas morning. He only stopped when my sisters and I were in our teens. We also had a tradition of visiting all of our neighbors Christmas afternoon. I remember going from house to house and being welcomed with cookies. Luckily, we only visited 4 neighbors - I'm sure the sugar load was considerable!

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    1. My dad is a wonderful man. He has his flaws, but...yes. He's a good guy.

      I love that visiting the neighbors tradition. We know so few of our neighbors now.

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  30. I remember being a kid -- I'm guessing the 9 to 10 YO range because I remember the house we lived in until I was 10, the bannister wrapped in gold tinsel. I remember that was the year I got my first 10-speed bike, and my baby sister got her big stuffed dog that she named Charlie (she was a toddler at the time, so maybe I was 10?). I don't remember what my brother got that year, though.

    I have vague memories from a few years before that, when Santa left me a little play kitchen. I still have some of the parts from that playset, and my kids used to play with them.

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    1. I have a few toys left too, and it's fascinating to study them. Those ragged remnants which you can't help remembering the way they were. :-)

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  31. Our three randomly selected audio book winners are...

    Rin
    jholitonjua
    Sylvia reads

    Don't forget to contact me at justnospacejoshininkatsbcglobaldotnet Our operators are standing by!

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