Christmas traditions

The Trauma of the Tree – Yesterday and Today

fake christmas treeYesterday

How could my mother do it, do it at Christmas? She hung the stockings, baked the cookies, wrapped the gifts, even placed baby Jesus in the manger. And then, she did it, smack dab in the middle of the living room! She put up a silver aluminum Christmas tree.

I hated that tree. It was not festive, fragrant or full. Worst of all, it was not green!!  I was convinced Santa would take one look at it and, fearing high levels of radiation, shoot right back up the chimney. My brother, Joe, hated that tree more.

Since my father’s mechanical ability was limited to changing a burnt out light bulb, the job of assembling the tree fell to my brother. Joe was blessed with a methodical mind and a plethora of patience. On or about December 1, Joe began his work. He opened a large cardboard box and faced 642 individual branches of curled foil that fit into one, and only one, spoke on a spindly trunk. On or about December 24, Joe finished his task. [Read More…]

Kindly Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future

Nicholas as a babyWith shopping, cooking, decorating, organizing, scheduling, mailing, and the balancing of familial personalities, holidays are not always as joyful as they are stressful. While the rest of us will be running around like chickens…or turkeys…with our heads cut off, my son will be awaiting the arrival of the red-suited man with the jolly laugh. I remember doing the same as a hopeful young boy.

I can remember the glory of Christmas Eve when I was a kid. The house was filled with green and red anticipation. Unmistakable seasonal aromas hung in the air in and around our cozy kitchen. My mom made pans upon pans of butterballs,date cookies and egg biscuits each in their own sugary powder or glaze. I’m not saying that family drama wasn’t going on around us, only that I cannot remember it from my blissfully ignorant rearview mirror. [Read More…]

Here Comes Santa Claus, Here Comes Santa Claus

Lori's Christmas I

On the outside of the boxes it says “SANTAS” in bright red letters. The corners of the boxes are reinforced with duct tape, since the contents get a little heavier each year. A musty smell clings to these two hat-sized boxes. Now, however, it’s time for the boxes’ annual unveiling.

Opening the boxes, I touch crumbled tissue paper and old, yellowed newspaper. I unwrap the first one and smile. It is one of the 30 Santas—one for every year my husband and I have been together—that are nestled together for safekeeping. It’s Christmas time and here comes Santa Claus!

When I was newly engaged, my husband and I attended a family friend’s home for an annual Christmas get together. Going to “Mrs. J’s” house was always fun, delicious, and filled with laughter and memories of our childhood. That particular Christmas, I noticed her collection of Santas. [Read More…]

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