I love to hear about other peoples little, big, happy, sad, odd, interesting etc etc stories about, well, everything, but since it's the season....
Holiday Memories - what are yours?(36 posts)
Thanksgiving is my biggest holiday of the year.
I think my favourite thanksgiving (and there were many) was when I hosted Thanksgiving at my home for my husband and another couple. It was small, but it was awesome. I got to cook, enjoy the company of friends and my love, warm house, good food. The perfect thanksgiving.
My saddest Thanksgiving was after I had been disowned. It may have been a couple years, cause I was used to getting a Thanksgiving pizza for myself. This particular year, it seemed all the places were closed, so I had no food and was hungry all day. As a bonus, I had a very clear view from my studio with shared bathroom into the very nice house next door. They had a huge dining room, huge table and a big family all enjoying a huge feast. It was lonely that year.
Regarding Christmas, I once made a tabletop christmas tree out of a tripod and some pine branches from the backyard. Just decorate with candy cane shaped pens and voila!
It's really something how the same holiday in a different situation is like night and day. Glad you had that lovely memory, sad you have the other.
We had fun Christmases when I was little. First the stockings (my mom knitted us each one when we were born, I still have mine) then presents, then church.
Mom would always say "Don't be disappointed because Santa doesn't have a lot of money this year".
But she was smart and didn't buy us necessities all year. She waited till Christmas. Socks, underwear, clothes, everything wrapped separately, and then a couple of toys.
When there are 7 kids and all that stuff is wrapped it always looked like an enormous amount of presents!
We always went around the circle one at a time so it lasted and lasted.
If you wanted something expensive you could ask that it be your birthday and Christmas that year and when you got it it was really valued.
Back in the 70s in Seattle. The Love Family were still on Queen Anne hill. You could get *all* your greens at the grocery store and most the corporations had yet to move in.
My mother explained to me all about how there's a fellow who pretends he is Santa Claus and he's at the mall. She asks me "Would you like to go see the guy pretending to be Santa Claus?" I answer "YESSSS! I want to see the man pretending to be Santa Claus!!!!" Fast forward to the mall when Santa says "and what do you want for Christmas?" I promptly explain to him at full little kid volume that we don't exchange presents because it is too much stress and people feel all obligated. My mother is turning three shades of red and trying to blend into the crowd. Bless that great Santa who didn't miss a beat as he said "if you did exchange presents, then what would you like for Christmas?"
Ha! Mom should have seen that coming!
One Christmas Eve came home & there on the porch was a package from Santa. It said There was a fire in the chimney so had to leave your present here. Love, Santa. And inside was this doll I had really wanted. I had asked my mom earlier how Santa was going to get down the chimney if there was a fire doing and afraid he wouldn't stop.
Then when teenager went to Anacona, Montana with boyfriend & his mom. His uncle would go around town playing Santa to the kids. Well the parents gave Santa a drink & Santa had a little bit too much. Uncle Ted/Santa slipped on the snow, fell & cussed away. We heard someone say "Santa shouldn't talk that way." We thought it was funny but poor Uncle Ted/Santa was embarassed (and had hangover next day)
I used to dip my boots in the fireplace ashes late Xmas Eve and leave leave "Santa footprints" from the fireplace to the tree, over to the cookies and milk my little girls had left, and back to the fireplace.
I love these stories. The package on the porch, the ashes. And the swearing santa cracked me up.
I've wandered far away from the Lutheran church but some of my most cherished Christmas memories are from my childhood church. Walking out of the Christmas Eve midnight service into snow softly falling, the anticipation made visible in the weekly lighting of the Advent candles, singing Away in the Manger in the children's choir, and Silent Night when a few years older. The Saturday each holiday season that all the women and girls of the church would gather to make swags and place them through the church. I think it is at Christmas I most feel the bittersweetness of growing away from my childlike faith - there was much of beauty in it.
Cate - I am Lutheran also and you brought back memories when I was a kid in the choir - walking to the church in snow & singing off key.
I'm thinking this year of attending a midnight service but not sure which church in Ballard is doing it. I'm afraid if I find one and I walk in the door the walls will collapse. Have only been to church a few times - bad girl.
My wife is Catholic and made me go to midnight mass once. The priest conducting the service was not much of a leader among men. As he proceeded to the homily it became apparent the guy was a total a*shat. Horrible ideas, a poor speaker, with a laughable voice, and no charisma. This guy could not lead a compulsive gambler to a casino, so how he lead his congregation I'll never no. It being Christmas eve and me being very young, I was totally lit, I mean really hammered and my mind started wandering. I started to think about how Jesus Christ needed a better PR man if he wanted to become force in the world again, and I started to imagine what that campaign would look and sound like. Being imaginative that way, I was able to amuse myself for a while, until I felt the need to really laugh come on. I was able to fight it off at first but it came in waves and kept coming with each surge being stronger. So there I sat, lit and shaking turning red trying to hold it back with my head in my hands turning red with my eyes watering and people around me thinking I was having this profound George Bailey style moment when all I wanted to do was stand up and tell them all their priest was holding them back.
Remember the Thanksgiving in the early 80's when power went out in a windstorm. I was still a kid, but my family was hosting 20 or so people. The turkey went out into the Weber barbeque and everything else came together on the gas stove. Turkey and puzzles by candlelight that year.
A few years later, we were in Pakistan at Christmastime. There weren't any conifers nearby, so we hacked together a Christmas tree out of palm fronds tied together at the trunk end and stood up on end. It worked surprisingly well, although the ornaments had to be pinned to the fronds.
And the very tense Christmas when I took my fiancee to meet my family. My family wasn't pleased because they thought I was far too young to get married, and my fiancee was in a bit of shock from meeting my extremely religious family. At Christmas dinner, my grandfather was picking on one of my cousins, and told him to go to the kid's table. My fiancee stood up and said that if he had to go, she would too. Within a minute, the adult's table was empty except for Grandpa and Grandma.
dog- great story! cracked me up!
geek- Mother of invention and all that. it makes for great memories because the stand out from the rest.
I moved to Hawaii in my early 20's and got a little studio. I was going to be there for a year and a half so only one Christmas. I didn't want to invest in a bunch of stuff but I love Christmas and all the decorating etc.
I got a little tree, bought a small string of white lights and some real ribbon. I went around my house and anything that was small enough got tied with a ribbon and hung. Forks, spoons, little toys, earrings, floss (hee), necklaces then I put some of my Christmas cards deep in the branches so you could see them peeking out, made a star out of foil and voila! It was one of the coolest trees I've ever had.
I have a holiday birthday so I also remember always having a birthday cake with holly and candy canes on it and always getting Birthday-Christmas presents which really sucked as a kid. Don't do that to kids.
I remember our family friend who was into "gourmet cooking" brought us special German-style gingerbread cookies shaped like little pigs. They were cute, but even the dog had a hard time biting into them! The pig cookies were a great family joke for years.
Another year my mom and I made a huge gingerbread cathedral with candies melted to make stained glass windows. This was in the pre-Martha-Stewart days when an undertaking like that was pretty remarkable.
One of my favorite non-childhood memories is the year we had no money for a tree. A friend got a job that involved limbing up a huge evergreen and brought the largest branches back to the neighborhood for anyone who wanted one. It made a great tree, though we did put it up on a low table to raise its self-esteem a little. Another year when things were tight a neighbor we'd never met before ended up with a whole yardful of beautiful trees. Her son was with some organization that had sold them as a fundraiser. They had extra and were going to mulch them, so he loaded them in his truck and gave his mom the task of giving them all away.
"raise it's self esteem" Ha!
When I was in my 20's I got a cheap tree, put it up then went out of town for a week. When I came back the poor thing was a goner. I mean really, with the branches drooping to the floor and the needles all over like that tree in the Charley Brown movie.
Yikes! I had people coming for a Christmas party and of course it being days after Christmas there were no trees to be found.
The next day I saw my neighbor down the street had put his tree out for the garbage collectors. It was clearly a very expensive tree and still looked really good.
I went down about 3 in the morning and dragged that big sucker home. I respectfully thanked my tree, undecorated, took down, put up, decorated and presto chango I had a a tree like I'd never had before and wouldn't have for years to come.
Everyone was impressed. Confused but impressed. No one could imagine I would spend that kind of money on a tree. Hee
After a few drinks I finally told the story and we were all rolling.
Love that story, LIA! Mine is from years ago when we had just purchased our first (total money pit, 100 year old abused & neglected) house over by Greenlake. Being proud homeowners we volunteered to host the family gathering on Christmas eve. This happened to be during a very cold snap, one of those unusual for Seattle with nighttime temps down into the teens.
We were all sitting around relaxing after dinner when I heard a "pop pop" sound. Thought maybe one of the little kids had stepped on an ornament. Nope, you guessed it, that was the sound of pipes in the uninsulated back porch/laundry room bursting.
My dad, who was a supreme handyman, stood up and said "Well I guess we'd better be going" and he and mom hightailed it out of there. Knowing we would not be able to get a plumber out anytime soon, my brother and hubby wrapped about 3 miles of duct tape around the holes in the pipes, crossed our fingers and we went to sleep.
Next morning we both woke up with massive head colds. While lying on the frozen earth in the crawlspace, I said to husband "some day we will laugh about this, but today is not that day." But now I can.
LIA - great story and thanks for starting this topic! Last night I remembered few things about our Xmas tress over the years. First - my mom, for whatever reason or how she found out about this, took Ivory flakes detergent and added small amount of water & made "snow". She glopped this stuff throughout the tree to loook like it was snow covered. Ah, not so much.
Then she used tinsel but she would just throw a bunch here & there. That made me bonkers so I would take it all off & meticulously put one piece at a time perfectly lined up. And guess what - that part was left to me for me to do after that (I think I was scammed by my own mom!)
She always wanted a flocked tree (but my dad & his Charlie Brown trees at 99 cents - that wasn't in the picture). So got a nice tree, bought a flocking kit that you attached to the vaccuum cleaner hose. We had a big front porch and it was a little windy & blowing the flock all around - except the tree. So covered the open areas with plastic but didn't think about the floor. As I'm pushing on the bag of flock to come out it exploded & all the interior walls of porch were covered in it, as was the floor & me! My natural color hair then was almost a blue black & the flocking really stood out! With the flocking all over me back to the store & got another bag & did it correctly. Tree turned out beautiful & when my mom came home was really happy - about the tree - not the porch. My dad saw the porch & said in his Norwegian accent "oh yesus, Helen, what has this girl done now?"That took forever to clean. Even my dad had to admit the tree was pretty & it wasn't a Chubby Tubby "special."
OMG Ballardo and Gracie, I just laughed so hard my stomach hurts.
"Well, we'd better be going" HAHAHAHAHA
Three miles of ducked tape
"We'll laugh about this someday.... but this is not that day" Heeee
and Gracie, anything with the word "exploded" in it!
The image of the moment after, dark hair and white 'snow'. And the fact that you kept going!!
"oh yesus, Helen, what has this girl done now?" HAHAHA
Thanks girls, Maybe I'm just in a mood this morning but I've got tears in my eyes. Whew.
Oh and Ballardo, love the avatar. Which one is that, I can never tell the twins apart.
ballardo - FUNNY story. And your avatar - your cat looks amazingly a lot like my Pickles. She is six months old & a tiny thing - well she has girth just not a long of length. People keep asking me what breed of cat - I say variety.
LIA - hope the tears are from laughing & not sadness. Know many here are always here for you.
Thank you gracie. I am certainly feeling that way. And it is nice to be there for the other people in this cyber community.
Oh, and they were definitely tears from laughing so hard! You girls cracked me up!
Well, since the network is down here at work I've got a few minutes to post. And, I will share the story of the Christmas Potato (perhaps I shared this story a few years ago, so forgive if I'm repeating here).
It was Christmas Eve 1994. A lady at work was having a Christmas party in Bellevue. Since I lived downtown and didn't have a car I hopped a ride with her with the promise that someone would give me a ride back. My fiance (who I lived with at the time) didn't want to come, so of course that ride back at a reasonable hour was important to us. About midnight my co-worker's son finally said let's go & hopped in the car. After about a mile of driving on icy roads he chickened out (for the record the guy was supposed to be a tough Marine that had served in the Persian Gulf--in his defense I suppose there's not much chance to practice your snow-driving in Kuwait though), drove back home and left me stuck on the couch with just my coat for a blanket. I had my fiance's last stocking stuffer in my coat pocket; a large pack of those liquor-filled chocolates. By the time I awoke the box was crushed and the chocolates melted. So, I got my ride home, but my fiance's stocking was most surely lacking. While she was in the shower I desperately looked for a present to complete her stocking. Being a poor 20-something at the time, the options were very limited, and as the title of this may have lead you to guess, the best thing I could come up with was the biggest russet potato in the bag (I should note here that I'm just a stupid guy, and a potato may not be the worst gift I've ever given -- in fact it's not the worst gift I ever her, but I'll save the story of the Christmas mosquito puppet for another time). With Janet dressed and ready to start celebrating I decided we had to share stockings right away. The first thing she pulled out was her new potato, much to her chagrin. Keep in mind that I had not called Janet the night before to tell her I wouldn't make it home because it was too late (and of course this is before texting existed). From her perspective I suppose, when your fiance doesn't come home one night and isn't there when you wake up on Christmas morning, when he finally does show up in one piece without having had a fling you can be a little bit happy (pissed, but not as bad as the alternatives). Then you get a potato; a lousy, stinking, mealy, ugly, russet growing out at every eye. And thus started the tradition of the Christmas Potato. For years thereafter someone always got the Christmas Potato because once you get a potato for Christmas, no matter how crappy the sweater from grandma is or the new socks from your aunt or the failure of your fiance to come home on Christmas Eve, things can only get better. Oh sure, some years we splurged on a big, fresh sweet potato, but for reasons unfathomable to yours truly that still failed to impress the recipient.
For those of you that have made it all the way through this tale of woe, I welcome you to take up the gift of the Christmas Potato with your family & friends. Feel free to take credit yourself as I have neither patent nor pride.
Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good potato.
HA! Great story. I love the fact that the family kept the tradition alive. Those are the best kinds of weird happenings, when they turn into a tradition.
Merry potato to you too!
I remember Mom used to iron the tinsel-this was way back, when you could buy real tinsel. It would then be placed on the Chubby and Tubby tree.
Favorite Christmas memories:. One year my cousin put a gift under the tree for his father, who had a boat. It was very large and heavy pegboard box framed in 2x2s and nailed securely. Uncle kept wandering over to it before dinner, smelling the box-trying to peer inside and listen for any sounds. He couldn't figure out what the box contained. Maybe a cat? Finally we went and opened presents. We all laughed uproariously when Uncle got the hammer out, pried open the box and found..a new anchor for his boat.
Same uncle, the first year I hosted Christmas. Tradition is that you put the gift wrap and bows from opened presents in a cardboard box for reuse. I never saw Uncle dance, but that year he decided to stomp down the wrap/bows to make room for more. He did a one legged jig for two minutes when my cat (who had jumped in the box when no one was looking) leaped out of it like a jack in the box.
I remember Mom used to iron the tinsel-this was way back, when you could buy real tinsel. It would then be placed on the Chubby and Tubby tree.
Favorite Christmas memories:. One year my cousin put a gift under the tree for his father, who had a boat. It was very large and heavy pegboard box framed in 2x2s and nailed securely. Uncle kept wandering over to it before dinner, smelling the box-trying to peer inside and listen for any sounds. He couldn't figure out what the box contained. Maybe a cat? Finally we went and opened presents. We all laughed uproariously when Uncle got the hammer out, pried open the box and found..a new anchor for his boat.Same uncle, the first year I hosted Christmas. Tradition is that you put the gift wrap and bows from opened presents in a cardboard box for reuse. I never saw Uncle dance, but that year he decided to stomp down the wrap/bows to make room for more. He did a one legged jig for two minutes when my cat (who had jumped in the box when no one was looking) leaped out of it like a jack in the box.
Making my babies
Great stories! Ah yes, the blessed tradition of Christmas potato. Too, too funny. My mom told me one Xmas Eve night she never had a Xmas stocking in her life. I told her I was going to go see a friend, hopped in the car & looked all for a store open. Finally found a drugstore on Aurora (we lived up on the Ballard side of Phinney Ridge). I bought a stocking & filled it with whatever they had - drugstore perfume, some cigarettes (which they amazingly sold to me), etc. She was pretty happy & as I remember cried.
OK Mr. I,
I may be sorry that I reached for the bait but are you talking about something nice like that your kids were conceived or born in the Christmas season?
Or do I not want to know what you mean by that, which, if that's the case, I am just fine with no explanation :)
Gracie, love the story, sweet.
LIA - I'm discovering, as I think about it, I have a lot of Christmas memories. One I just remembered was not funny to me. I wanted a soccer ball for Christmas more than anything. I was in I think 5th Grade, maybe 6th. I had developed early & fighted having to wear a bra - just wanted my T-shirt! My brother had told my mom, "Ma, you need to get her in a bra" as told to me later.
Come Christmas all the puke relatives are there (my dad's side which I never liked) Getting ready to open presents & my brother insists I open up one from him - it was the shape of a box for a soccer ball & was professionally wrapped. I tore into that & it wasn't a soccer ball but a bra - a bra that had to be like 50ZZZ. It was HUGE. I was mortified, my brother is laughing, some of the relatives are going "oh my" and others laughing. I ran out of that room to my bedroom & cried my eyes out. I was so embarassed. And kicker - I didn't get my damn soccer ball.
Oh Gracie! Was he sorry?! How horrible!
I hope your parents at least comforted you and punished the hell out of him!
LIA - Was he sorry? Not even close. I was the baby of the family & he was ten years older than me. I was the brunt of all the teasing by both brothers AND MY MOM. As far as my dad that day he was totally oblivious. I wasn't close to my dad but my mom we were tight. She laughed along with my brother but then came into my bedroom and consoled me and tried to convince me he was only teasing. He didn't mean anything mean. Oh yeah?
And was he punished - oh heck no. It's amazing I loved my brothers with all the teasing I endured. Other thing he did was hold me down & tickle me. HATED that. And my mom did step in on another thing he did & said I was getting too old for it & that was he'd hold me down & pants me!!! He thought it was funny. Weird, huh. To this day I'm not a big fan of teasing & I absolutely hate to be tickled.
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