Monday, December 21, 2009

Memories of Christmas Past




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.

With Love,
Deb and Bev

51 comments:

Joanne said...

What a touching tribute to your Mom. She was like a secret Santa, pulling everything together, food and decorations and love, to give you a wonderful gift, the true meaning of the holiday!

Kate said...

Lovely.

Caution Flag said...

You had a wonderful role-model. We didn't have much either growing up, and I am still amazed at what my mom managed to do with so little.

Janel said...

Silent reader here! Love your blog BTW!! I so appreciate this post, as this is the exact way I grew up too! I'm 45, and your holiday is so similar to my own. I have always appreciated our holidays growing up because of the love and warmth that comes over me when I conjur up a memory! We always received one special item too, even if it was recycled or refurbished, we loved it as if it was new!

Thanks for the stroll down memory lane, I'm off to call the folks now and tell them again how much I love them!

singedwingangel said...

Much the same here except we had a HUGE family to gather with. It wasn't until I was much older that we began getting more then a few small things. Mom always told us tolist 3 must haves and she would do her est to get 1 on the list if nothign else..

KaLynn said...

Brought tears to my eyes. Thanks so much for sharing. We forget what Christmas is all about anymore.

May God Bless You each and every one during this Christmas season.

My Aimless Infatuation said...

OMG! I must be your long lost sister(the way older one). This post was as if you were writing about my Mama and Christmas. Yes,I got teary eyed.But seriously,don't you think Christmas's were better then? Kid's now have Christmas everyday and they don't seem to have the thrill that we did. Thanks for the memories and have a Very Merry Christmas. Your Mum was a beautiful lady. I miss mine too.

yonca said...

Beautiful tribute to your mom Deb. Brought tears to my eyes. What a lovely picture of her.Happy Holiday!

mama-face said...

Moms rock. Don't we?

The Christmas village touched me. Plus I share a lot of that time period memories. ha. Those little hand held games. The times they have a changed.

Merry Christmas!

Matty said...

What a wonderful tribute to your mother. She obviously instilled a sense of pride and appreciation in you to honor her like this. And how nice that she is still here with you.

BigSis said...

I agree with all the comments - what a great lady and what a great role model!

Buckeroomama said...

What a lovely, lovely tribute to your mom.

(I remember those hand-held games with the tiny ball, too!)

Lee the Hot Flash Queen said...

That is a beautiful picture of your mother. Why is it that those pictures from the 60's seem so much more regal than the pictures of today??

Too Many Hats said...

Very sweet. I have fabulous memories of Christmas as a child and hope my own children will too.

Lissaloo said...

What a beautiful post, it sounds like you have a very special mother )

Anita said...

"Mum" is pretty, and is very stylish in the picture. She also looks happy.
I can see why she knew how to give her little girls joy on Christmas. She had it to give.

Connie K said...

What a amazing daughter you are !! And your mum was a Looker too ! What a lovely picture of her and what great memories you have :)

Theta Mom said...

Wonderful tribute to your mom. She's beautiful.

Wishing you a wonderful holiday.
xoxo

gayle said...

Sounds like your mom was an amazing woman as well as beautiful!! What wonderful memories you have!!

Erin said...

Deb,

this was so beautifully written & heartfelt. I love the photo of her to go along with it. I now see where some of your special qualities come from!

lz said...

I'm trying so hard to instill the same sense in my girls. I buy fewer presents, focus on being with family, etc. It's so hard when some of the beauty and meaning of Christmas has been taken away.
This is a such a beautiful post!

JennyMac said...

I loved this tribute. And what a beautiful picture of your Mom!

Annie said...

Oh wow, this post was amazing!

I am so glad you have such amazing memories of Christmas. You were blessed with such a wonderful mother. Because of her I believe you too are a great mom. I pray I can bless my daughter as much as your mom blessed you!

Merry Christmas!

honeypiehorse said...

That's beautiful. I just bought a picture book for my 6 year old at the grocery store just because she asked for it. She wants new stuff but doesn't get excited about it when she has it. She's a great kid but I'm afraid I've failing at creating magic.

Rebecca S. said...

Like so many moms then, my mom, too had to do Christmas on a budget, but she pulled it off time and again. She signed all the tags S.Clause and we all used to think that because her first name started with S., she was the true Santa, though she would deny it of course! I'll bet your mom will be really touched when she reads your post. I hope she does!
(Thanks for following my blog. Yay!)

Trish said...

What a great post! Memories sure are something huh...how lucky you are to have a mother like that! That is one great picture too! Almost doesnt look real!

Merry Christmas to you and your family and how lucky your little one is to have you who has had the ultimate role model in your mother!

Kimberly said...

What great memories to share with all of us. Your mother looks beautiful in her photo.

I think your story will touch a lot of hearts!

Merry Christmas!

Just A Mom (Call me JAM for short) said...

Many similarities... Sometimes I wish for those much simpler times. Although I suppose at the time my parents didn't think they were simpler times! Just us kids.

Great memories, thanks for sharing them with us and taking us back.

Rabbit said...

What a beautiful tribute, Deb. I am a little teary-eyed and at a loss for words. Reminded me of our holidays when I was a kid.

Bless you!

Nancy@ifevolutionworks.com said...

Oh great! Post a tissue grabbing sappy story when I am pmsing!

I loved this post. It just reinforces something to me about life.....

It's about quality, not quantity.

Iva said...

such a beautiful and heartfelt post to your beautiful mama. A lovely picture. Happy Monday!

Brian Miller said...

i could not help but smile as I came to the end...moms are amazing. nice tribute...

Martha in PA said...

What a beautiful post. I wonder when Christmas got to be so out of control.. I love all the simple things about Christmas. All the years later, we may remember that one special gift or too, but it is the other memories that we hold dear!

ethelmaepotter! said...

Beautiful. Both the tribute and your Mom. I hope she sees this and realizes what a wonderful mother she has always been.

PJ said...

that is really what christmas should be about, not all of this commercialized monetary crap that it is now a days. have a great night...hugz!

Jeanne said...

Your mother was beautiful!

I think kids today miss a lot by having a lot, however paradoxical that sounds.

Midday Escapades said...

So touching! I really enjoyed reading this and especially love the photo of your mum! :0)

kyooty said...

Beautiful memories. What a lovely picture of your mother.

Heather @ Two Little Monkeys said...

What a beautiful picture of your mom. I hope you have a wonderful Christmas.

Maureen@IslandRoar said...

What a fabulous role model. She must be very proud of you...

Chocolate Covered Daydreams said...

As I read the beginning of your post, I thought, "We could be sisters" because so much of your life was like mine. I'm 46 and my childhood memories were not of getting everything we wished for but of little things that they could afford. The simple things like a teddy bear and one year, measuring spoons from a lady that knew that I might like them, was like candy in my stocking. Speaking of stockings..it was nuts, an orange and an apple and maybe a few candy canes but still, there was always joy at Christmas time.

I loved your childhood memories and your mom's picture. What a beautiful, stylish lady!!!

adrienzgirl said...

This was such a sweet Christmas tribute to your Mum! She must be proud! :D

Arizona Mamma said...

Beautiful. Post and picture!

Arizona Mamma said...

Beautiful. Post and picture!

WhisperingWriter said...

This was a beautiful tribute to your mom!

Holly said...

That is just a lovely tribute to your mum. So sweet, makes me want to write a little something for my own. Now that I am a mother I appreciate everything my mom (and dad) even more.

Noelle said...

what a beautiful post! and your mum was quite a looker! i can see where you inherited your tenderness, caring, thoughtfulness, and generosity. oh yeah...and beauty!

Corrie Howe said...

Reading about people's parents, in particular their moms, makes me wonder if my children will have these kinds of memories about me.

I hope so.

Your mother is indeed beautiful. For some reason I'm thinking you look like her. Have I seen your picture? I know I've seen your hands. ;-)

Working Mommy said...

Oh my goodness...this made me cry!! Your mother certainly is beautiful - and from your story that surely was the case inside, as well as out!! She taught you a fabulous lesson! Makes you want to call and say thanks mom!

~WM

Heather said...

It's amazing how such simple Christmas's can leave such a lasting impression and wonderful memories.

Your mum is a genius, to pull those Christmas's off, with such a small budget!

Crystal said...

So sweet...