Monday, 5 December 2016

What Do You Remember?

Some Christmas gifts you remember for the rest of your life.  They didn't have to be the most expensive or the biggest but there was something about them that made them truly memorable.
Last night my husband and I were talking about the gifts we remembered from our childhood.   Both of us recalled our magic lanterns.  His was red and mine was black.  You turned off all the lights in your room and placed the magic lantern over a picture.  The picture was then projected on to the wall of your room.  A few years ago I saw one in a collectibles shop and was heavily tempted to buy it.  We  both remember the "make a bug kit".  This was a box with four (I think it was four) bodies, heads, antennas, legs, wings etc etc  and you could mix and match the pieces to create different bugs.
Of course, we didn't get all the same things at Christmas.  After all, he WAS a boy.  He remembers his sled and getting lots of clothing.  I remember the boy doll and stroller and all the clothes that my grandmother made for the doll as part of the gift. One of the most memorable gifts was the year my grandparents gave me a watch.  Totally unexpected.  When I was around twelve, my parents gave me a record THAT was exciting and, again, totally unexpected.  I don't remember ever asking for anything specifically except for books.  I can still hear mom, clear as can be, saying to someone, "no need to ask her what she wants, she always says the same thing, books".
As we talked it became apparent that mostly what we remembered about Christmas was the feeling of excitement, the great food and all the family members we shared the day with.  He remembers Christmas being a whirlwind of visiting and driving to get to places, including the Christmas they had two flat tires and then turned around and went back home.  I remember being snug in my own home all day with two sets of grandparents to visit with.  One set lived in the other side of our split house and the other set drove in from Aurora.
Of course, there is always the Christmas that was ruined by someone being sick.  I clearly remember my poor parents trying to make it Christmas for me and I was too sick to even look in my sock.  It is true that children make your Christmas and that year I didn't do my job.
Both our moms made carrot pudding; his with brandy sauce and mine with brown sugar sauce and brandy flavouring.  I must get that recipe from my aunt before it is too late.  My husband remembers his grandmother bringing the pudding in and the flames as the brandy burned off.
Coming from the same era, we both have the same memories of the tree with its ornery light strings.  Being a boy, my husband remembers being on lights duty with his dad.  The bulbs were so big in those days and yet they did not put out as much light (or so I remember) as the strings of mini lights do today.  The tree glowed "darkly" if you know what I mean.  We only put two or maybe three strings of about 20 bulbs on the tree unlike today when we are told we need 100 lights for every foot of tree.
Some relatives could be counted on to produce exactly the same gift every year.  Each year my Aunt Kay and Uncle Jack would present us with new pyjamas or a housecoat.  I actually looked forward to this tradition.  I remember the year their daughter was old enough to be through school and working.  She bought me a pearl necklace that year.  I was so excited.  The folks across the the road would always give me a book.  My grandfather, no matter what my grandmother bought me for Christmas, would always give me a box of chocolates.  I still have the remains of one of the boxes (probably the last one)  in which I store Christmas ornaments.
As I got older one of  the best parts about Christmas for me became shopping for gifts for my family all by myself.  The first year that I saved all my allowance I think my mother was quite surprised.  I asked her for guidance on how to spend my loot that first year.  It's not easy spreading $10 around six people but in those days you could almost do it.  I think she had to help me out a bit on the last gift.
Those are a FEW of my Christmas memories.  What do you remember?? 


  1. A green Schwinn bike.

    I remember we had bubbling lights. A stem off the bulb filled with water would bubble when it heated up.

  2. Books. Always books. And an item of clothing my mother made. A dress for me, shirts for my brothers.
    And tracking down the bulb which had 'blown' and was preventing the Christmas lights from working. Home-made shortbread. Cheese straws. Nuts...

  3. I always got a doll and my older sister got a book. There might not have been many gifts but there was always a lot of family and that brought us happiness.

  4. My 3' high doll that walked...when you helped her of course. I named her Angela...but I called her Angel, because all she needed were wings, she was so lovely.
    Thank you for this lovely post 🎄

  5. My grandmother's ribbon candy. She always had a bowl of ribbon and Christmas hard candies set up on a small table by the door. She also had a bowl of oranges, but, of course, I always reached for the candy. Bought some ribbon candy about two years ago. Sadly, it just didn't taste the same.

  6. ODdly enough, I never got books! Lego was huge. One year we got skis, which opened up a whole new world. I remember a musical instrument that needed a rubber bladder for some reason and came with an extra because it was so delicate. I can't even remember how I played it. But I remember that bladder. Mostly, my memories are of family and us going to Gramma Berg's for our annual Christmas visit and playing with cousins in her big old, two-story house. Laying on the grill at the bottom of the stairs over the furnace (she didn't have ductwork, just that one vent that was supposed to heat the entire house.) And sleeping in Mom's old room under the feather tick. Wonderful memories!

  7. I always wanted a doll, and always got one. I remember the year I got a 9" fashion doll and TEN outfits including a wedding gown, veil and bouquet. I think it was my favourite gift, ever. I also remember the year my brother started working; he bought me a Kodak camera with the cartridge-type film. I loved it. Also mom's Christmas pudding, recipe passed from her grandmother - four kinds of jello (red, green, yellow, and coffee-flavoured) plus two kinds of Bavarian cream, lemon snow, fruit and whipped cream. It was a meal all by itself. And my mom's father always had Christmas dinner with us. What a great post and I'm enjoying the comments, too!

  8. I remember only two childhood gifts, of course there must have been others, but none I can recall. One year I received a "walking-talking" doll and a doll sized pram to walk her around in. I was never a doll person and didn't play with her apart from the initial "walk around the block" that evening.
    Another year when I was seven I asked for and received the book "A Town Like Alice" and read the whole thing in a week. It's an adult novel, I have no idea why I asked for it or why I was allowed to have it.
    When I was twelve, my sister and I received wristwatches.
    I don't remember any stockings, or special foods or even a tree. I'm pretty sure we didn't have those things.

  9. Christmas always so exciting ...
    I think my most memorable childhood gift was a handmade jewellery box (my father made) which had the music silent night whenever you opened the lid. I had it for so many years and enjoyed keeping all my childhood jewellery necklaces and bracelets within.

    All the best Jan


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