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Bits and bobs about my life in my lovely home, Thatchwick Cottage, Pretoria, South Africa.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

December 24, '08: Layers of Christmas memories

Christmas present, tomorrow, 25 December '08, just a mere 24 hours away, is overlaid with memories: some sharp and clear, others diffuse, hardly conscious recollections of Christmases long past. For it is not only Scrooge who was visited by the ghosts of Christmas past, so are we. Especially if you, like me, have a couple of decades behind your back! Fortunately I have been blessed with a happy child - and adulthood, so my combined, layered, interwoven memories of Christmas are all good ones.

I remember my 'walkie-talkie' doll propped under the pine tree in the corner of the lounge.

I remember my brother and I putting pillow cases out at the foot of our beds to receive our gifts.

I remember waking up in the night, staggering into my parents' room with the sack of gifts annoucing,"It's heavy!" before returning to sleep.

I remember cold ham and creamy potato salad and grated carrot and pineapple for Christmas lunch.

I remember hanging the Christmas cards on pieces of string from wall to wall across the lounge ceiling.

I remember being chosen to be Mary in the Christmas Tableau at St Peter's, Camps Bay for two years running.

I remember silver bowls of chocolates and nuts on the Christmas table.

I remember Aunt Helen polishing Grandmother's best silver.

I remember eating too much fruit cake and and too many minced fruit pies.

I remember the Nativity scene unveiled at Midnight Mass while my brother and I sang 'Away in a Manger'.

I remember the snowflakes that danced through the night sky on my first and only white Christmas in North Dakota.

I remember the silver marquisite earrings Richard gave me on our last Christmas together.

I remember persuading friends to adopt a stray dog on Christmas Day. They called her Cinders.

I remember Christmas spent in the mountains, at the beach and at holiday resorts.

I remember hot Christmas days when the funny hats stuck to our sweaty foreheads and left red and green marks.

I remember Dad carving the turkey and Mom sitting down with her apron still on.

I remember being loved and a little spoiled. I remember joy. I remember worship.

What do you remember, dear friend?

PS The nativity scene is courtesy of


Smilingsal said...

Like you, my memories are more good ones. Merry Christmas, Eleanor!

IsabellasCloset said...

Eleanor, What beautiful memories. They have made me cry by remembering mine too.
Thanks for sharing them with all of us
Blessing for a very beautiful Christmas
~Mary~ :-}

The Quintessential Magpie said...

Eleanor, I loved this trip down Memory Lane with you! It was so special! Lots of lovely memories! :-)

I wanted to wish you a very Merry Christmas! May God's richest blessings be yours...


Sheila :-)

Raph G. Neckmann said...

What lovely memories, Eleanor! I shall be thinking and talking about mine over the next few days.

One of them came straight to my mind when reading through your previous post just now - Rupert Annuals!!

The smell of a real Tree, and the little kind of pattering noises on the wrapping paper my mother used to put under the tree, when the occasional spruce needles fell off.

Warmest wishes for a beautiful Christmas. There's a card on today's post at my blog - feel free to print it off, (the resolution may be low because of blog compression).

PS Your red and gold reindeer background is wonderful.

willow said...

Lovely memories!

Merry, Merry Christmas to you and yours Eleanor!

Willow x x

(love your festive new "look")

Barbara Martin said...

Eleanor, your memories sparked many of my own. Christmas memories of sneakily adding a touch more rum to the crockpot my mother made her christmas fruitcake in. My brothers did the same and we all hid sly smiles when it came to eat with slices of cheese.

We put Christmas cards on a string, too, to hang across the room.

My mother always went shopping for those extra gifts and treats on Christmas eve as the prices would have been heavily reduced: including some years of obtaining an almost free evergreen tree when money was tight.

The angel that went on top of the tree had to be handled carefully because of the spun cut glass angel hair would work its way into your skin and make it itch like crazy.

The hand-me-down metal cookie cutters my grandmother used in the early 1900s, in Christmas shapes: star, evergreen tree, gingerbread man, dog and cat.

The old electric Christmas lights where if one burnt out, you had to remove all the bulbs to find its location. And light bulbs that looked like candles, where the liquid inside when heated would create bubbles that floated up.

The year my third older brother was delighted with getting Mr. Potatoe Head.

Another year my brothers collectively received a complete train set from our Uncle John, and another year later, a set of bicycles in a purple/wine colour.

Hearing the story of how my mother's students in the Peace River country of northern Alberta pooled their money in 1938 to buy a handmade rocking chair that turned out to cost more than they had. When the shopkeeper found out who the chair was for, he reduced the price so it could be purchased (practically gave it away and I still have the chair). My mother taught 45 students, grades 1 to 12 in a one room school house. She was expecting my oldest brother.

Have a very Merry Christmas with your family and friends, Eleanor and thanks for the trip down memory lane.

Pam said...

Hi Eleanor. A previous comment mentioned Mr. Potato Head. That was a memory for me also which go on to include a great uncle who would eat so much Christmas dinner that he would come out in beads of perspiration (we were intrigued),dark chocolates with liqueur centres (so expensive!)platters which incluyded cold cooked rabbit (in the days before take-away chicken), and a walking ma-maa doll, and jack-in-the box my father made. I enjoyed your post on Christmas memories. Thank you, and all the best for the holiday season.

Neabear said...

You have some wonderful memories. I enjoyed reading about them. When I was a little girl we were in Kansas for Christmas. There was no snow yet, so I prayed for snow and the next day there was snow. Little did I know that the snow made it difficult for some relative to get to the church that day for my new baby cousin's baptism. I was 7 years old then. But I was just awed that a prayer was answered.

Betty said...

Greetings from the USA....I enjoyed reading your list of memories...when you mentioned having the opportunity of playing the role of Mary two years running, it brought to my mind that I never was awarded that privilege...I was either the narrator or played the piano...I think every little girl should be Mary at least once in her life.....

This year I requested that our two daughters, two sons-by-love and eight grandchildren write down their memories of coming to Mam and Pop's home....good and if any bad ones as well...before everyone departed on Saturday, we had the 'Reading of the Memories'....each upcoming year I've asked that they add to the collection.....we're writing a book for posterity.....

I appreciate the spirit of Godliness that I find when visiting with you, whether I leave a comment on not....God Bless...Betty