With Christmas Day fast approaching, I've been thinking about my own childhood memories of the Holidays. I don't have any one particular memory to share but I can tell you that we always felt special on Christmas morning.
While we were growing up during the 1960's, money was tight. My older sister and I did not receive toys on a regular basis like the kids do now. There was no money for the latest fashions, we got by with hand-me-downs and the clothing that our mother would sew for us whenever she had some fabric. If we participated in a Christmas Concert at school, she would sew us a special dress to wear just for that one occasion. Times were tough and there were no agencies at that time to help out or to play Secret Santa for us.
In spite of all this, our mother would somehow find the money to buy each of us one brand new toy and fill our Christmas stockings with a few little goodies each and every Christmas. I remember those hand-held games we would balance trying to get the little silver balls to fall into each hole all at one time. Having our stockings filled and receiving that one new toy made us feel so special on Christmas morning believing that Santa had found even us.
I remember the teddy bear I received when I was about 5, it had gray fur and I named him Boo Boo after Yogi Bear's sidekick. My sister received a brand new Barbie Doll that year and there are photos of us standing under the glittering Christmas tree hugging our new treasures, so happy and so full of the Christmas Spirit.
During those difficult years, our mother taught us that the magic of Christmas was not found in expensive items from department stores stuffed under today's Christmas trees. The true joy of Christmas was in the wonder and excitement that she alone created for us.
We would watch as she set up a little Christmas Village made of cardboard, glue and lots of glitter. Little styrofoam snowmen would be out in front of the sparkling little homes and everything would be set up on fluffy white batting sprinkled with silver glitter. She would decorate our home with big red and green paper bells, painted wax Santa candles and drape long plastic holly vines with big red berries. On Christmas day she would cook a special turkey dinner served on a table that looked so festive with her homemade decorations. She worked so hard, doing the best she could for us with very little. But because of all of that effort, I can not recall a single Christmas when we didn't feel special or more importantly, loved.
My favorite 1960's photo of our beautiful and amazing mum
To Our Mum who we hope will read this:
Thank you so much for making all of our Christmas memories so special. We can't begin to imagine the many sacrifices you must have made to ensure that we always had a beautifully decorated Christmas tree with that one special toy for each of us, how you were able to fill our homemade stockings each and every year and still prepare a meal that was better than any restaurant could have served.
All of this, you accomplished with next to nothing for a budget.
Thank you mum, we are so grateful.
Deb and Bev