Last night I was looking up Woolsworth online. I remembered that store from my childhood and the Santa house that always sat in front of the store during the month of December. Isn’t it interesting how one remembers little things? I found out that Woolsworth closed it’s doors forever in the United States in 1997. It had a fascinating history. There is even a book written about Woolsworth, that I believe I’d like to read. It was the best five and dime store, long before Walmart ever thought about being a discount giant!
So anyway, I was thinking about Christmas and remembering things from my childhood. I surfed the internet and found a blog that this lady had written about her childhood in the 50’s. She talked about what Christmas used to be like before all the electronic gadgets and gizmos. I really enjoyed her story telling. It made me nostalgic thinking of my own childhood Christmas’. (not from the 50’s though!) My childhood Christmas memories took place in the 70’s and early 80’s.
Every Christmas Eve my Mom and Dad, and my sister and I would go to my paternal grandparents house. So would all the other relatives from that side of the family. The downstairs was decorated (which my sister and I had decorated a few weeks before —like putting a big red nose on my grandfather’s deer head that was mounted on the wall) the food was laid out as far as the eye could see! After the kids ate we’d all sneak back upstairs to the living room with the big Christmas tree. We’d “oh and ah” over all the gifts…..because we always got to open our gifts from Mammaw and Pappaw on Christmas Eve night. Before any gift opening went on we all went to the Christmas Eve service at church. I remember how beautiful our little stone church looked when decorated for Christmas. The stained glass windows, the greenery and candles…..and it was quiet. There was a hush over the congregation on this very special night. I remember singing Silent Night, and Joy To The World. Then it was back to my grandparents for more eating….and opening of presents. Woo hoo! I remember how exciting it was as a child–the anticipation was half the fun!
Christmas morning my sister and I woke up to gifts under the family tree. There are some “interesting” pictures of us on Christmas morning, with some serious “bed head” going on. The kind that only young children can pull off! Pictures in front of the tree….and boy did we have some doozies of live trees. One year our tree looked like a big evergreen bush instead of a tree. The truth is that with decorations and lots of tinsel (which my mom always said needed to be “placed” and not thrown on the tree–which was my idea of how to get it done) the tree looked pretty.
I remember my mom had several big Christmas albums (were they called 78’s?). I loved it when she’d get the albums out and put them on the stereo (which was in a huge wooden cabinet). Nat King Cole and Mahalia Jackson would sing songs of Christmas. I can still hear them even all these years later.
After our gift opening—we got dressed and headed to my mom’s relatives houses. We ate breakfast at one aunt and uncles, brunch at another, lunch somewhere else and then desserts at yet another. This gave us ample opportunity to eat and visit and look at everyone’s decorated trees and gifts they had received. It was a huge day-long extravaganza. I was blessed enough to have all my extended family living near by. I loved that as a child, but oh how much more I appreciate the opportunity I had, now that I am an adult with my own children!
I remember my Mom’s sausage and cheese on rye breakfast treats, my Aunt D’s seafood dinner, my Aunt B’s desserts…I could go on and on, but I’m making myself hungry.Looking back over my blog I see that we did a lot of eating during the holidays. It’s true, but man was it good stuff!
Christmas memories. Good times.