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Some Christmas Memories - cellophane
the story of an invisible girl
renniekins
renniekins
Some Christmas Memories
I remember being really little, I was maybe 5 and my sister 3, spending Christmas at my mom's mom's house. We woke up early Christmas morning of course, but mom said we couldn't open anything until grandma woke up, and we weren't allowed to wake her up. We could play with our toys until she awoke on her own. So I tried to play with the loudest toys I could find, in the hopes that she would wake up sooner. I remember playing some a xylophone or something, and my sister had this pull toy that she was actually banging on the floor, so grandma would wake up and Christmas could begin....

I remember in later years, waking up on Christmas morning in my parents' house. I would always somehow wake up before the rest of the family (unimaginable now!), and I'd creep downstairs to admire the glowing tree, and all the mysteries brightly wrapped underneath it. Maybe I'd munch on any cookies that Santa had left behind, and I'd study each person's piles, especially my own. Empty out my stocking, look at everything, then carefully fill it back up and replace it. For a short while, before the rest of the family woke up, Christmas was mine, just for me alone, and I loved the magical peacefulness and beauty of the pre-Christmas moment. I would savor it for awhile, then go to wake up my little brother and sister....

I remember when I hit my early teen years, I tried one Christmas to exercise "veto power" over the tree's ornaments, so the tree would look elegant. I would inspect each ornament before it was placed on the tree, and decide if it could be put on the front, if it had to be relegated to the back, or wasn't fit to be on the tree at all. The really old and wrinkled ones made in childhood of construction paper, glitter, and pipe cleaners were the ones I scorned most of all. It wasn't until much later that I came to understand why these were the ones my mother really treasured. She vetoed all my vetoes that year, and they all ended up on the tree....

I remember being younger, listening to a record of Christmas carols. I remember sitting in the big easy chair, admiring the cardboard record sleeve, it had a beautiful woman's face, softly lit by just candles, and she had a haunting voice that I longed to imitate....

I remember that the tree was tucked in a corner of the family room, and every now and then when I was little I would crawl behind the tree, where there was a perfectly secret child-sized space, and just sit there quietly invisible, admiring the room through pine needles, lights, and ornaments....

I remember my second year at college, I shared a suite with 3 girls, with a huge common room. My mom sent us an artificial tree to put in the common room that year, but we had no ornaments and little money. So we invited all of our friends over for a tree-trimming, told them to bring anything they wanted to. Julie bought a string of lights, and I bought construction paper. We popped popcorn, and strung it on thread. People made cut-out paper snowflakes, and origami ornaments. We tucked anything small and pretty we could find into its branches, like stuffed animals and paperweights. Somebody saved the tinfoil from his bag lunches to make a star for the top, and the tree was fabulous when we were through with it. I still have a couple of those paper ornaments we made....

I remember that same year, we each hung a sock on the wall for Christmas stockings. Yes, I mean actual kneesocks, that we wore on our feet the other days of the year. There were four of them, nailed to the wall in a row. One night while we were sleeping, some guy friends of ours sneaked into our room and filled them with candies and little presents for us to find in the morning....

I remember my first apartment after I graduated and got a Real Job, I had lights strung all over the living room - not because there were really that many, but just because it was such a small room that two stands of lights almost over powered it. And I had two stockings hung over my fireplace, one for me, and one for my cat....

I remember the two Christmases I spent living with S: we put up that same artificial tree my mom had given me in college, and S put strand after strand of bright white lights on it, because he felt a Christmas tree should be as bright as possible when one is through with it. And there were 5 little stockings in a row the second year, one for each of us, and one for each of our 3 cats. I remember turning off the overhead lights and cuddling together on the couch, admiring our very first joint Christmas tree....

I remember the year after he died, giving that tree to my office, and we used it to hang children's mittens on, which we gave to charity right before Christmas. And feeling good that it was being used, and I didn't have to feel guilty for not using it myself, but not wanting it in my house....

...and I remember last week, putting up a Real Live Christmas tree, for the first time ever. My little Charlie Brown tree; all it needed was a little love. I came home this evening, after having been away since yesterday morning, and the tree was still lit up, still decorated, and still beautiful. And even though all of the cards had fallen off the door, something of Christmas magic was still in the air, and it was a wonderful thing after all.

Current Mood: thoughtful thoughtful

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Comments
mrdisco99 From: mrdisco99 Date: December 12th, 2001 09:12 pm (UTC) (Link)

Wow, that's really touching. It's kinda nice how celebrating Christmas can be something different every year.
guingel From: guingel Date: December 13th, 2001 12:47 pm (UTC) (Link)

that was really sweet and nice! it gave me warm fuzzies :) Christmas is a nice time of year--even if you don't celebrate it, it's nice. (and I'm lucky cos I do celebrate it)

a lot of your earlier memories remind me of myself. My sister and I used to share a room, and we'd wake up every christmas morning, at 2 o'clock, and go down, turn on the christmas tree lights, and just look at the tree, and the presents underneath it, and it would look so pretty, and everything was quiet and nice and special. And then we'd examine the presents :D

I've also been told that at age 2 me and Katie knocked over the Christmas tree-now we have an artificial one.

I really liked your story about everyone getting together to decorate your tree in college, that sounded so nice and like so much fun!

me and katie have our favorite ornaments, and we put them in the same spot every year. the snowmen family (there are like, 20 of them ;) all go lower down near the door. which loosk bad, but you know. The little girl on the goose goes towards the center, and so does her sister on the rocking horse. granny mouse goes opposite the door near the bottom. her grandson is nearby. The three fuzzy sheep are in the back, in front of the window. . . and I think there are others that I can't remember--cos we still haven't set up our tree!!
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