Monday, December 9, 2013

Christmas "presents"

 (This is a timely re-post from my blog essay from last December.)

...One of my favorite things was the fish bowl effect of my face as I peered into a colored glass Christmas tree ornament.

Remember the giant colored lights, each the size of a spark plug? We had those...and the tinsel that you toss on the tree in little handfuls, which looked great when the tree was lit up but kind of gaudy during the light of day.

Some years mom would let us play hooky for a day and take us to Dayton's department store in downtown Minneapolis. They had a fantasy holiday display on the sixth floor that changed every Holiday season. The one I remember most was "Willie Wonka's Chocolate Factory". At eight years old I thought it was the real thing!

As I finish Christmas this year I am thinking of many past holiday seasons. Of course it is bittersweet due to the loss of my mother in October, but a worthwhile journey back in time.

For years there was the annual Christmas cookie baking day with my mom and sisters. Snicker doodles, Russian tea cakes, sugar cookies, and several more. It took all day but we made quite a team, the four of us! We traded with the neighbors and between all the families had every kind of Christmas cookie under the sun.

We always each got a giant candy cane that lasted for days.

My parents had five children and a one income household. Just covering the gifts for the lot of us was an undertaking. So I don't remember any real big or brand name surprises for myself or my siblings. My Barbies were all generic, never the Mattel ones. We didn't care. Instead of Pac Man we had Snack I'm not kidding. Was just as fun.

Christmas Day was for sledding, or to be more accurate, tobogganing! Luckily dad didn't have to take us far. Our front yard was the perfect hill.

What occurred to me when my mind wandered through my own holiday memory lane is that it's the memories themselves, not the presents that I seem to recall and treasure the most.

Anna Wendt Copyright 2012.

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