Saturday, December 19, 2009

Memories of Christmas

My daughter was eating a Clementine today, and the fragrance as she peeled it reminded me of long ago Christmas mornings.

When we were kids, we would each get an orange in our stockings, usually peanuts and candy too, but those oranges ... We didn't have a lot of money for presents, but we knew we'd get those oranges. The sense triggered memory was so strong, I could smell a real pine tree too, which we had when we were small kids, but my little family hasn't ever had one. It's amazing how one simple, every day smell can bring up such strong, happy memories.

I started to get excited about Christmas again. It was the last Clementine, so I need more when I go to Costco Monday. We tend to eat them as opposed to bigger navel oranges because they're easier to peel. I usually put chocolate oranges in the stockings because my daughter wouldn't eat much fruit until recently, but this year ... I'll be putting a couple of Clementines in each stocking, along with treats and small toys for the kids. And Kiddo's earrings into hers. The husband and I will probably just share a stocking.

My little family usually gets a few DVDs for Christmas and we watch them over the next few days. When I picked up a couple of DVDs today to put under the tree, I thought to myself, "Stewie, instead of wrapping the DVDs separately, why not put them in a big box with popcorn, hot chocolate mix, soda, chips, licorice, little bags of cereal for the baby, and all the other junk we like to consume when watching movies together, and then wrap the big box?" So that's what I'm going to do. Then we can have a movie fest on Christmas Day, since the husband is off work and won't absolutely have to sleep during the day. bwahaha.

One of my other favorite Christmas memories was the year my daughter was born. I didn't have a winter coat and I had very little money. I was a newly single parent, working part time, and all my money went to my daughter. My parents were (and still are) generous but at the time I felt ashamed and unworthy every time I had to ask for something. One day, my brother and his wife came over and found an envelope on our front doorstep. It was addressed to me. Inside was $200 cash and a note saying, "Please buy yourself a winter coat. Love, Your sister in the Gospel." I did buy a coat, but there was enough left over I was able to get a few things for my daughter as well. I wore that coat for a long time and, at times, I wish I still had it, even though it wouldn't fit anymore. I passed it on to DI long ago. I have never been able to do something financially that generous for anyone, but have been inspired by that act of generosity. We usually do try to do something anonymous for someone every year. Even if it's just one ornament off of a giving tree. Or organizing a ward's "adoption" of many needy families within the ward. That was a wonderful Christmas as well. Our tree had lots of presents under it -- all for other people. My daughter learned at age 5 what it was to help others who were more needy than we were, and happily gave her car seat to a single mom whose little boy needed one. She was big enough for just a booster by then, so it worked out.

I'll probably not be blogging much this coming week since I have a lot to do. But I hope you'll share some of your favorite Christmas and holiday memories with me, too. Happy holidays!

9 comments:

evitafjord said...

We always had an orange, an apple, candies and nuts in our stocking too. Usually a candy cane looped over the top and a little present, hair things or cassette tapes (haha). One of my favorite Christmas memories is the year that my parents gave all three girls (we were all teens) MATCHING hair dryers. It was soooo my dad and I just loved it. Another Christmas, I think I was 9, it was a Sunday, so we opened all of our presents and headed off to church early because mom was choir director. I remember slip sliding down our driveway to the VW van. About halfway to church, a car coming off a cross street couldn't stop and it hit us, crinkling the passenger front side of our van and flinging me off my seat into a bag of coal that was on the floor. Spent a few days in the hospital with a broken nose and loose teeth, BUT being in the hospital on Christmas has its perks - it was the first year of Cabbage Patches and Payless Drug had donated a bunch to the hospital, so I got Fredericka Stefanie (I changed it to Elizabeth Stephanie when I adopted her) and some Strawberry Shortcake toys and the most amazing, giant handmade Raggedy Ann doll. So, that Christmas sucked, but kinda didn't too.

evitafjord said...

In hindsight as a mom, I need to ask my mom something about that Christmas. That Christmas, the one of the Cabbage Patch frenzy when everyone wanted one, my parents couldn't afford one, of course, so my mom MADE us dolls. They were gorgeous and detailed and amazing, but I worry that my reaction to getting a real one may have hurt her feelings. I still loved the doll she made and played with both of them until their extinction, but since I can't remember and I'm sure my 9yo self wasn't particularly in tune to that kind of thing, I realize now that I may have hurt her feelings then. :-(

Kristina P. said...

I really feel like I need to do more this season. I need to look at our ward tree. We have so many blessings!

NG said...

I love this post.

Going out to buy oranges now...

The Boob Nazi said...

I need an orange. I'm stealing one from my brother. (Not exactly as charitable as you, but whatever.)

stewbert said...

EF, I'm pretty sure I was less than gracious that same Cabbage Patch year and probably hurt Mom's feelings a lot ... My mom bought me some beautiful handmade dolls for the same reason your mom made yours, but I was an idiotic child and didn't handle it well. I loved the dolls and kept them for many, many years (heck, they might still be in a box in the garage!), but I still regret my attitude at the time.

musicmom said...

For Christmas we always had fruit and nuts in our stockings as well-- an apple, orange, banana and grapefruit. Then we each got a box of sugared cereal. We so looked forward to that cereal-- the only time of the year we would get it.
I loved the Christmas music that my dad had and would play through the season, and the treats that we would make with my mom and deliver to the neighbors. (green popcorn trees--and christmas candy)
I also remember my homeade cabbage patch--4th grade. My friend had a beautiful store bought one. But I knew we could never afford one, so I enjoyed mine--although I have to say I did covet my friends a bit. ;)

elizasmom said...

Oh, I have the same vivid sense memories about that Clementine smell! I am the only one in the house who really likes them, but I work my way through a couple of boxes over the course of the month.

What a wonderful Christmas story about the gift, and how you've found ways to pay it forward over the years. I need to get my act together and do that!

Merry Christmas!

kadyb said...

Isn't it interesting how certain smells can evoke such clear memories?

Nice post - thanks!