Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Thinking about the best gift I got as a kid....-read the comments for a good laugh too

You know, it is hard to remember all of the Christmas's that came and went and what was special about that time etc. Do you remember fighting tinsel on the Christmas tree and how your Mother would say "take ONE piece and don't throw it on, place it".

 And also remember how tinsel started out all foil and broke all of the time and then they made it out of silver plastic and it was easier to put on...and throw when your Mom wasn't looking? And those bubble lights that sometimes about set the house on fire?

 Or was our house the only one?

 My Mother used to make a chocolate chilled cookie thing that was mainly chocolate with colored marshmallows in it and walnuts. Remember sliced cookies from the fridge with walnuts too? Like butterscotch I think. Every year she made that and yucky rum balls which I never did develop a taste for.

 And she made fruitcake and my Dad made fudge and they bought groceries and made up lovely boxes for friends. I usually got new underwear and always hoped for a new blouse or something I could wear to school.

In those days we spent alot of time outdoors playing because we weren't allowed to sit and watch television and hey, not all of the kids in the neighborhood even had a television.
 On snowy days, we sledded all day long and went home exhausted and cold. Mom always had a nice hot dinner of some kind because that was the way it was back then...no tv dinners, pizza, tacos, or sandwiches.
 I remember well, the ice skating in the winter at Tullee pond in Spokane and how some of the parents would come and watch and show the kids how to pivot and glide...the ice over the extinct volcano was always solid.
 Not so today....I don't think it every gets hard enough that anyone would dare go skating on it.  Christmas Eve always centered around going to church and remembering what this day really meant.
When I got older I would attend at least two different churches and sometime three if I could find someone to go to Midnight Mass with me too.
New Years Day was always wonderful because my Dad took us out to a fancy restaurant.
We didn't go out to eat like people do today.
Those days were so much simpler and so much nicer in some ways. We didn't have all of the political bashing, we didn't have as much gossip about stars and things having to do with sex, people weren't around swearing and harsh talk,
 people were more trustworthy, there wasn't as much stealing at a moments notice
, a hand shake meant something, chores were something most kids had to do to learn how to work,
we respected our elders and knew how to chat with adults,
 it seemed that more people went to church and were better for it and most Dad's worked and most Mom's were home doing the housework etc.
 It was a good time to be brought up and many of those rules and ways stuck with us as we plod through these newer times. It was slower, it was sweeter and it was more innocent.
 I miss that.


  1. Thank you again for the reminder of how simple life was when we were growing up. I watch my girls struggle with the pressures of the culture on them and their families. The Dad worked..the Mom nurtured in the home. It was a partnership that worked very well. Everyone is confused now as to what their role is.....sad. Donna A.

  2. We always got a new dress for christmas, and a couple of toys, with 8 kids, that was enough;) My favorite gift was when I got new skates, I loved to skate and we had several ponds that we could skate on, so that was a treat.


  3. I agree that times were more innocent and slower. I think we had time to be children; nowadays children seem to grow up too quickly!

  4. Thanks for the reminder.... My Mom went to work when I was 9 or 10, and things just were never the same after that.

  5. Yes, my mother said the same thing about the tinsel. And then, after Christmas, we had to remove it carefully so we could store it for next year! We used the same tinsel for probably 10 years.

    When I was about 8, my parents gave me and my sister skis. My dad offered to teach us to ski, and took us to the big toboggan hill. At the top, he strapped on our skis, pointed us downhill and yelled "Bend your knees!" That was the extent of his lessons. Turned out, he had no idea how to ski himself. I did eventually learn how to ski, no thanks to Dad, and that was a memory we laughed over for years.

  6. Rum balls. Ooh, I think I'll make some tonight.
    I LOVE rum balls.

  7. Oh my goodness Mary Lou, I had the same identical doll!! In fact, I have the sparkly lace from the doll all rolled up in my sewing supplies! And those pearl drop earrings! Thanks for sharing that picture, it brightemed my day to reminisce on wonderful memories! (colleen in brockville ontario, with the lime green chair!)

  8. Oh Mary Lou, I agree so much with what you say. I do wish I had a photo of me and my sister with our Gloria Walking Dolls (we both still have them after 55 years!). Merry Christmas.

    Oh, and not very many people are wishing Happy Holidays or Merry Christmas this year. What's up with that?

  9. Enjoyed this post a lot - our parents must have been related!

  10. I really appreciate your comments. You're not alone, Mary Lou! I had a childhood much like yours. Going 'out' for dinner was a huge event. We liked to go to 'China City,' in Salem, Oregon. No longer there, but we occasionally would stop there on our way home from church. My sister and I would pray to stop, but my parents didn't want us begging in the back seat, so we had to wait to see if Dad would slow down the car to turn into the parking lot. Occationally, he'd surprise us by continuing the same roadway speed, then turning into the lot at the last second! Chinese was the only exotic cuisine around Salem until Taco Bell (haha! 'Mexican') showed up when I was in High School!

  11. Thanks, Mary Lou, for sharing so many sweet memories. As I read through them it triggered so many memories of my own. Thanks for those lovely reminders of the joy and anticipation of the Christmas season. I never tired of watching those bubble lights on the tree, and could never master the old metal tinsel, which must have been very expensive. I remember it was saved year after year packed in waxed paper to keep it smooth and straight for next Christmas. My mother always made here special Christmas cookies and homemade chocolate fudge. We would make a batch of eggnog and invite neighbors and friends to come enjoy some eggnog or tea and cookies. On Christmas Eve our stockings were always generously filled by Santa - loaded with walnuts, still in the shell, and sweet tangerines and a big box of lifesavers. We didn't have much money but the spirit of the season was always kicked off with a trip to San Francisco on the weekend after Thanksgiving to buy a new ornament for our tree. My father would drive and we would park in Union Square, and ride the cable cars together as a family we would all walk and shop and take in all of the Christmas decorations. I remember that City of Paris was always a much anticipated treat to see each year. After a long day we would always have clam chowder, freshly steamed cracked crab and crusty french bread from Fisherman's Wharf. Yummm! I hope today's youth can learn to overlook all of the marketing strategies and discover the reason for the season, and that which is truly important. Looking back, it isn't the gifts, or a brand name that I remember so fondly. It's the moments and the sights, the sounds and smells of those precious days, and the way they made me feel so loved, that still warm my heart today.

  12. This reminded me of our Christmas Eve traditions. My Mom would buy lunch meat and chips and we got to have pop for dinner. We all loved it and she was happy because she didn't have time or money for a big dinner. Then she would go to church early because she was in the choir and we all would go later. When church was over we would set the table with china and the good silverware and my Mom would make a huge breakfast for us with the sticky rolls and the german sweet breads. Since I have 11 brothers & sisters this was sometimes a very large group. Thanks for bringing back this memory. It has been a while since I thought about it.
    Merry Christmas!