The Sixth Day of Christmas and Six Childhood Christmas Memories

This time of year, we can’t help but think of Christmases past. My husband and I were talking the other day about things we remember from Christmas when we were kids, so I thought I’d share six of my memories today to celebrate the sixth day of Christmas.

  1. My mom always had the following below the tree on Christmas morning — a bag of red apples, a bag of oranges and a bag of Hershey’s Kisses. I always think of that when I see those little foil-wrapped chocolates.
  2. My mamaw (Mom’s mom) always has bowls of shelled nuts with nutcrackers on the end tables in her living room at Christmas. I remember mainly my dad and uncles using the nutcrackers and eating the nuts.
  3. My grandma (Dad’s mom) always bought my sister and me underwear for Christmas. Yes, she’d get us toys, but there was oddly always underwear, too. She also recognized I was a tomboy when I was a kid because one Christmas she got me a toy car hauler with two Corvettes on it, one red and one yellow.
  4. My sister, me and two Farrah Fawcett dolls.

    My sister, me and two Farrah Fawcett dolls.

    Because despite my tomboyishness I still got girl toys too, I remember one Christmas when my sister and I both got Farrah Fawcett dolls. I loved Charlie’s Angels, so that was way cooler than Barbie to me.

  5. I remember asking when I was fairly young how in the world someone the size of Santa Claus fit down the stovepipe on our stove since we didn’t have a fireplace. Mom said she let him in through the back door. LOL.
  6. We always walked out to the woods surrounding our house and cut a cedar tree for our Christmas tree. We had those big-bulb lights that were actually hot to the touch, lots of those glass ornaments that are considered vintage now, and an aluminum lighted star on top of the tree. My mom always wanted a star on the top. No angels, no flowers, only a star.

What are some of your fond Christmas memories, little tidbits that perhaps you haven’t thought about in a long time?

Because Christmas is partially about surprises, today I’m giving away a surprise pack to someone making a comment.

Comments

72 Comments

  • Charlene Whitehouse says:

    My dad giving me a box of chocolate seconds every year. I kept the one he gave me just before Christmas because he passed away Dec 21, 2005. I miss him dearly. Merry Christmas to you and your family.

    • Charlene, I’m sorry for your loss. I’ve lost both of my parents, so I know how difficult it is, especially this time of year.

      Merry Christmas to you and your family as well.

    • Jeanne Adams says:

      Aww, Charlene, I’m so sorry for your loss. My father passed away just after Christmas in 2010, and mother just before it a few years earlier. So I too know how hard that is around the holidays.

      Love that you kept the box of chocolates! WOOT!

  • Jane says:

    Had no idea they had a Farrah Fawcett doll. I remember my mom got me a couple of Cabbage Patch dolls. They weren’t as popular when I got them for Christmas, but I was still excited because I had wanted them for a while. Also remember the first year we got to open our presents at midnight and it became a tradition from then on.

    • I remember the Christmas that the Cabbage Patch dolls were new and the “it” gift that year, and how you couldn’t find them anywhere.

      Neat to open the presents at Christmas. It was the one morning I didn’t mind getting up early.

    • Jeanne Adams says:

      I never knew there were Farrah Fawcett dolls either, Jane! Wow! Like you, Trish, I was a Charlie’s Angels fan, so I would have liked that. Probably would have like the car carrier better though. Grins.

      • Jane says:

        Hello Jeanne,
        I remember seeing Charlie’s Angels reruns on TV Land and instantly became a fan, but most of the episodes I saw had Cheryl Ladd “replacing” Farrah.

  • Helen says:

    Hi Trish

    I do love Christmas memories a few of mine are

    Always waking Mum and Dad up really early while it was still dark and then us all opening presents Mum and Dad going back to bed for some more sleep and my sisters and I went outside to show all of our new stuff to the neighbourhood kids who were also out plying with their new stuff (remember it is always hot over here )

    Christmas pudding with money in it sixpences and thrupences they don’t do that anymore the money is made differently sad

    I remember the year I got a puppy for Christmas he was in a box at the end of my bed šŸ™‚

    And the fact that we always got our presents in a pillowslip at the end of our beds we didn’t have a Christmas tree šŸ™‚

    Thanks
    Trish for the memories
    Have a wonderful Chrissy and new year

    have Fun
    Helen

  • Amy Conley says:

    First of all, it is different from if we spent Christmas at home, meaning wherever we lived at that time, or actually got to fo to my grandparents house in northeastern Ohio for Christmas.
    1. Christmas at my grandparents was always the greatest. Although, as you know, I am the great Snoop, and one year my grandfather busted me. My sister and I go REAL go-go boots and omg the excitement that brought. So Xmas morning I lead my sister straight to her boots and I went to mine and we put them straight on. My Grandfather wanted to know ho we knew they were really for us (paper and tags had been hastily removed), so we told him, they fit OUR feet, they were OURS and that was the end of that argument!
    2.Whether we were at our house, or my grandparents, my mother always made these Polish rolls, she called them Perogis, but that isn’t what they were. They were made with about 18 or so eggs and you made a dough such as you’d make for fresh raisin bread, but you pulled it apart into your hand and added dry cottage cheese to it….OMG heaven! And just the smell of it cooking, which seemed forever, probably a good hour or so, did seem like forever. We could never wait to eat them.
    3. KOLACHI, my great-grandmother on the Polish side made this and my mother’s younger sister also made it. It is a sweet roll filled with cinnimmon and (ducks from Cassandra)nuts. And everyone got a loaf to bring home. As we became teenagers and adults we all got out own loaves. My aunt finally wrote the reciepe down for me but it never, ever, ever turned out. Then my son had the good sense (at the time anyway) to marry a girl who made cookies and cakes, and she can make Kolachi!!!! I almost died and went to heaven the first year she made it for us. Even my kids were excited to have their own loaves and now her family gets to eat it all for Christmas cause God forbid I
    d ask her to make it for us (ugly divorce), She just told me my aunt didn’t write down all the steps to making it, but she figured out what steps were missing, but do I have THAT recipe? Hell no, excuse my French. At least my grandson gets it every year and it is a part of his heritage too.
    4. Ya’ll already know, I’m the snoop. One year I went to the tree and trip over something and it was a music box and my parents room was right off the living room, thought I was busted right then and there,but nope, my Mother sleep like a dead woman. But there was one present I kept running into and no matter how many times I ran my hands over that sucker, I could NOT figure it out. Christmas morning, with lights on I realized it was a punching bag for my younger brother, to hopefully keeping him from punching any of us. It didn’t work and I probably used it more than him, I thought it was awesome!
    4. Our family tradition, after I married. My in-laws would come over Christmas morning
    by 8am, longest we could keep the kids out of the living room. Rule was they had to stay in their rooms til Grandma and Grandpa got there, Half the fun of Christmas is watching the kids open their presents, so to share this with them since these were and still our their only grandchildren, we felt it was only fair they got to see their faces and watch them open all their gifts. And then we had a HUGE breakfast of, yep, you guessed it, biscuits and gravy, and eggs for those who wanted them. Also sausage and bacon, because according to my husband no meal is complete without bacon! (SHHHH don’t tell him but Santa got him a towel for this Christmas which says something along those very lines.}
    Lost count of how many things I put down so I’ll just ass one more. Santa never wrapped most of our presents when we were kids, and I continued the tradition, so Santa presents were always the first thing my kids saw on Christmas morning, after upteen (my mother’s word) trips to the bathroom and trying to sneak peaks into the living room where all the loot was, and this was/ is a great tradition because wrappen a thousand (not really, it just felt that way every year,) this Santa was wiped out and really didn’t feel like wrapping anything she didn’t absolutely have to wrap. Now though, with the grandkids, Santa still leaves one or two unwrapped presents, but most are wrapped. I buy 2 different sorts of paper they never see, and wrap all the Santa presents in those.

    • Amy Conley says:

      Even after writing that book (sorry), there were two other little things which made Christmas special for me. One was when we’d go to my Grandparents’ house, my Grandmother (Mom to all us grandkids), always had bowls of candy sitting out and we never had to ask for any candy, we could just eat it. She worked in the card and candy section of a department store, so she always got us the best candy, and she had candy sitting out til the day she died.
      And the other tradition my mother started after we moved to Indiana. She would let us choose one gift on Christmas eve and we could open it. It is a tradition I’ve passed on to my own children and they still want to come over here an pick out a gift to open, and I tell them to pick one from under their own tree now!

    • Cassondra Murray says:

      Ha! I saw those nuts, Amy.

      *grin*

      I love reading all these Christmas memories!

    • Jeanne Adams says:

      Hey Amy! I’m LOL about the nuts. Snork! I’m so sorry you don’t have the Kolachii recipe. I hate losing those kinds of recipes and I also hate that there are so many that I don’t have.

  • Laney4 says:

    No really fond memories. We always got school clothes (no toys) that were dowdy. Stockings had an orange and socks in them. Relatives who came were old. When we went out for Christmas, there was a lot of yelling in the car. I always hated my aunt’s “special Jello” and most vegetables. Sorry….

    • Cassondra Murray says:

      Awww, poor Laney! (((hugs)))

      Some of the memories that stick the tightest are the unpleasant ones. I’ve got to tell you though, even as I was feeling for you, I got to the “special jello” and laughed out loud.

      Even reading it here in your comment, I can tell it was bad. Your description of that made my day.

    • Sorry you don’t have fond memories to share, but I can relate. While there are some fond memories, there were a lot of tense and stressful holidays, too.

    • Jeanne Adams says:

      Laney, I hate to say it, but I had to kinda laugh about the “special jello” too. I had one auntie that made that kind of congealed jello salad all the time for family events. OMGosh. Awful. Hope you’ve made some wonderful memories since!!

  • flchen1 says:

    We used to have one of those assemble-by-color trees, and the Christmas that my brother was maybe 2, he knocked the whole thing down. He was running through the house and just lost his balance–we heard a huge crash, and fortunately he wasn’t hurt, but several strings of lights were never the same again šŸ˜‰

    Mom always tucked an orange into our stockings along with a bunch of candy šŸ™‚ One year, I tucked away some of my Christmas candy in my room, and was rewarded with… ANTS. Bleck! I warn my kids not to try the same šŸ˜‰

  • Mary Preston says:

    When I was a child we would all pile in the car with my father and go ‘hunting’ for a Christmas tree, complete with the axe I might add.

    Pine trees grew along the sides of roads. Simple yes?

    No!!

    My father would take off through barbed wire fences and scrub country looking for the perfect tree.

    Once he had found THE tree he would cut it down, drag it back to the car and then proceed to stuff it into the station wagon.

    We would arrive home exhausted, covered in cuts and bruises, and itchy from sharing the car with one very large pine tree.

    The funny thing is that the next year we would all willingly go with him. I think it’s like childbirth, you forget how bad it all is.

    My mother never went. She would be at home quietly, happily bringing all the decorations out for us to use on the hard earned tree.

  • Sandyg265 says:

    My grandmother worked for Saks in NY. They had a Christmas party for employees children so my parents used to take us into the city to go to the party.

  • gamistress66 says:

    happy holidays! there was always an apple in my sock, an orange in my brother’s & dad’s(who only got a small sock) was filled w/ a can of shaving cream šŸ˜‰ in the morning us kids were allowed to hang around in the upstairs hall & top part of the steps (where you couldn’t see down stairs) in the morning till mom & dad (ok, mom) decided it was a reasonable hour to go downstairs. she & dad would go down, turn on the tree lights & set out breakfast then call us kids to come downstairs. we’d have to pause part way down (just as you could see the tree usually) for a picture, then it was free for all šŸ˜‰ oh, and Santa got in the house via the side door šŸ˜‰

  • Minna says:

    We always got our Christmas tree from our own forest -and still do. Though this year there isn’t as much snow (if any).

    • The Christmas movies that include searching for and cutting down one’s own tree always seem so nostalgic and fun, but I as always cold. You will sense a theme — I hate being cold.

  • Dianna aka Hrdwrkdmom says:

    Getting up at 2 am to help mom with the turkey and all the fixin’s… chopping veggies and nuts for her salad and baking..running into the living room in between “jobs” to see what was happening on the tv. Going to aunt’s house eventually to eat, eat, eat and then nap time on their big ole couch with about half my cousins. Whoever didn’t fit on the couch my aunt supplied sleeping bags.

    • 2 a.m.?! Oh, my, that’s way to early to get up. I’d more likely be going to bed at that time. Christmas with the cousins sounds fun. I had 13 first cousins on my mom’s side, but they were all older than me except for my sister, who is the baby of the 15.

    • Jeanne Adams says:

      Whoa, that’s early! Grins. But the pile o’ cousins on the couch is pretty funny.

  • Cassondra Murray says:

    Trish, I LOVE that picture of you and your sister! I’m close to your age I think (you’re maybe a little younger) but I either never knew there was a Farrah Fawcett doll, or I’ve completely lost that tidbit. Maybe it came around after I got too old for Barbies.

    I admit that I saw the Farrah dolls and said, “Dear Lord save us, I used to have that hair.”

    I loved Charlie’s Angels too.

  • Anne says:

    We always had an orange in the toe of our stocking and some kind of candy, frequently Hershey’s kisses. We also used to make a paper chain, whatever happened to those? Everyone (in New jersey in the 70’s) used to make one.

    • Oh, I remember those chains. We would make them out of different colored construction paper. I saw something on Pinterest the other day where you could print out Elvish script from Lord of the Rings to make paper chains.

  • Colleen C. says:

    My fav present when I was a kid… seeing my grandparents at the holidays! But I also loved getting my Barbies and Cabbage Patch Kid… šŸ™‚ Happy Holidays!

    • My grandparents lived fairly close — one set just a few miles away and the other in the next county — but it was still fun to go to their houses at the holidays. My grandma only had myself and my sister as grandchildren, so we got more presents there. My Mamaw and Papaw had 15 grandkids, so they couldn’t afford to get more than one thing for each grandkid and each of their 7 kids and their spouses.

  • ellie says:

    Always receiving PJ’s. and new slippers and a housecoat. All of which I loved and wore all winter long.

  • Anne says:

    Helping with the baking which I loved doing. Being in the warm kitchen with my mother and grandmother who got along well. Then the delectable goodies.

  • Jo Robertson says:

    Love your memories, Trish. Thanks for sharing them. One Christmas I remember when we were opening gifts and my dad kept shuffling around the packages saying to my older sister, “Linda, where’s the watch? Wasn’t Santa supposed to bring you a wrist watch?” Luckily the watch was “found” after my mother made a trip into the dining room and looked in the locked hutch.

  • Shannon says:

    Your memories are a lot like mine.
    1. Our treat in the stockings was M&Ms.
    2. We always had nuts in the shell. I can remember Dad shelling walnuts, and then having us toss the shells into the fire so Mom didn’t have to clean up.
    3. Socks.
    4. Not many dolls, but whole wardrobes of Barbie clothes. Crocheted flapper dresses, a blue tiered satin ball gown, and so on.
    5. We asked how there could be so many Santas when we went to Spokane. (We lived seven miles from a town with 2,000.) Mom explained they were helper Santas.
    6. Douglas Fir.

    My favorite memory was a Christmas where I got my first dressy pantsuit instead of a frilly dress. We came out of Christmas eve services, and the fluffy snow flakes were drifting down. It was magical. (This was when you got the weather mostly from the newspaper. TV reception was spotty where I grew up.)

    • Jeanne Adams says:

      Oh, Shannon, you reminded me about the doll clothes. My mom was such a good seamstress and she would make clothes for all of us, but also for all the barbies and so forth. :>

      And I forgot to say in my own post, below, that I remember the nuts in the shell too. We always had them at the holidays and my dad, too, would throw the shells in the fire, except for the Brazil nuts. He said they never burned up and he hated cleaning them out with the ashes! Ha! (I don’t know if that was true or not, or if he just didn’t like shelling the Brazils. I was the only one who really loved those!)

      • I remember at one point wishing I knew how I could sew so I could create fashions for the Barbies I did have. I think I was more interested in that than actually playing with the Barbies.

  • Jeanne Adams says:

    Hey Trish! I love your memories. The only time I ever asked for something “big” I got a 3′ tall doll that I wanted and I just adored that doll for years. Grins. I don’t think she went to another little girl to love until I headed off to college.

    I also remember the year we all got bikes. OMGosh, the living room was full.

    The other thing that was constant as a memory were the smells of ham and turkey and all the yummies.

    • I remember my grandma getting me a tricycle when I was little. We grew up in a small down, and at the time there was a Western Auto store. That’s where the bikes and toys were bought by my grandma and good many other people, too.

  • Trish – What a lovely post! I remember those big fat christmas tree light bulbs. Those were the only tree lights until they came out with the little “cool” lights that we use today. However, I remember when my father discovered bubble lights. He’d put them all over the tree and in the menorah that my mom put in the window (we were an “all religions welcome” family). I remember the big Christmas feast and my brothers laying on the rug afterwards groaning that they ate too much. An Christmas carols…we had Christmas music in the house playing constantly – not unlike some radio stations today šŸ™‚

  • Elaina says:

    My father took us driving through the neighborhood at night when it became dark and we were in awe of the beautiful lights and decorations of all the homes. Snow and stars with the lights.

  • What wonderful Christmas memories. I have many, but the most often repeated memory in our family is The Infamous Batman Utility Belt Incident of 1967. Both of my brothers received Batman Utility Belts for Christmas. Each was equipped with a Batgun that shot rubber stoppered darts. It was spring action. It packed A LOT of punch. So of course my youngest brother loaded his, pressed the dart into the spring-loaded gun and shot… Our Dad ! Right between the eyes. Knocked Dad out cold. Man survived combat in Korea, was awarded a Bronze Star for bravery and the Batman utility belt Took. Him. Down. My poor brother began to wail because he thought he’d killed Dad. My other brother and I were pretty sure we were going to be minus one little brother once Dad got up and my Mom was laughing while reviving my Dad. Needless to say it is the Christmas that lives in infamy.

  • May says:

    When I was six, I got a Christmas gift on my bed instead of under the tree. My parents told me that Santa put it on my bed. I was soooo happy. šŸ™‚

  • Pearl says:

    What I loved, What I looked forward to and what was memorable was how my mother knew what we would treasure. She knew us so well that each year her gifts which were special for each of us and not ostentatious nor more than a couple were perfect. No one else could have had that understanding and insight. I do that now though.

  • Trish, what a perfect holiday post!

    We didn’t have chocolate, other than my mom’s fudge, for the holidays, but we did have Lifesavers, the multi-flavor kind, with several rolls in a book-like package.

    We had cranberry sauce out of a can, sliced but still bearing the can marks. Never loved that, but I do love the dh’s homemade cranberry sauce–which is also great on vanilla ice cream.

    We always had a poinsettia in the house for Christmas, a red one. After the holiday, my mom would take it down to the basement and try to keep it going until the next Christmas.

    My aunt made ambrosia, with oranges, red grapes, grated coconut, and other stuff I forget. Wish knew how to make that. I’m curious as to how it would be with a little grand mariner mixed in.

    Hmm. Lots of food-related memories there.

  • Lianne says:

    I remember trying to stay up late to wait for Santa