This post took me a bit longer than normal – I wanted to make sure I put the right amount of thought in. 10 on the 10th is hosted by the lovely Marsha at Marsha in the Middle!
One of my earliest happy Christmas memories is the year my grandfather built me a dollhouse. I loved it so much – I was so charmed by the tiny details and rooms and I had it decades. I had such fun playing with it for so long, and even as a grown person I loved it. It sadly was destroyed when our basement flooded after a torrential rain that flooded the basements of everyone in our city.
I also remember going to every single parade with my dad as a kid. I loved them so much – whether it was the 4th of July or Christmas, hot or cold, I always loved going. My dad was all about “travelling fast and light” so we could get in and get out so no chairs or blankets for us as we got older, we just parked our bums on the concrete curbs. When I was little though, I did have a giant coat and hat, as well as blankets and cocoa.
I of course remember the first Christmas married to Billy, living in our tiny little apartment. We didn’t have room for a tree so we had a tiny tabletop one but it was a wonderful Christmas. I remember he bought me the softest, warmest robe that year since it was always freezing in our apartment.
When Billy and I were younger I used to work retail at an office supply store-gift store. A lot of our customers were elderly and alone and I was friendly with them. They would come in to visit and chat- I loved hearing their stories. One man was a volunteer for a local charitable organization and told me once he had been born on Christmas and his mom named him Harold Angel in honor of his birthday. Another woman, she told me her family lived far away and that she wanted her massive Christmas village but couldn’t do it herself. So, I volunteered Billy and I to do it for her. That is probably one of the moments I realized how much I loved Billy – most nineteen or twenty year old men would have laughed and refused. But not Billy. He went with me and helped set up this Christmas village for a complete stranger basically, in her home that was a million degrees. She was so happy to have us there. She had cookies and eggnog (which I hate, especially when I was absolutely sweating in her home) but I drank a glass anyway and so did Billy.
And speaking of decorations… let me tell you about my dog Penny. She was the most beautiful, craziest, sweetest English Setter ever. We had adopted her from a local shelter and a week later we had her in the emergency vet. She had gotten into the the basement, found our fake Christmas garland full of thick wire, and eaten it. Which we only discovered when she threw it up. She had also eaten part of a magazine which actually probably saved her as it wrapped around the wire. Anyway, they did emergency surgery and she was ok, but we didn’t want to take the chance of it ever happening again and so for the 13 years we had her we never put up anything other than a tabletop ceramic tree. Not a real tree, not a fake one. Just the ceramic one for years.
The year of Wyatt was actually our first year with a tree again. Penny had passed away a few months after Wyatt was born, but we didn’t think for a while we were going to have a tree at all. Things were tight that year financially, very tight. We were surprised when out of the blue we received a card in the mail from a family friend, a woman who had known me since I was born, who had a giant generous heart, and that card had $300 in it. We used it to buy an artificial tree and to make Wyatt’s first Christmas a good one. Faye is gone now, and I get teary every single year when we put the tree up. We have discussed getting a different tree, or a real tree, but I will never not put that one up somewhere in our house.
A photo of Wyatt from his second Christmas, with our favorite Santa.
Ok halfway through!
I have another dog story. We always had the craziest dogs! This was over twenty years ago, before I was married to Billy. It was Christmas Eve, and the church my family went to was right down the street from our house so after church services that night, my whole family, aunts and uncles and cousins came over as they always did. This time though, my dog Molly was waiting. Waiting to spring! We opened the door and she took off like a shot, racing down the snowy icy sidewalks and streets on a mission to find adventure. I was distraught, upset, crying, freaking out. Everyone in my family who was able to took off, all of us in our nice church clothes, running after her, looking for her, yelling down alleys in the cold night and darkness. We eventually found her about fifteen minutes later sniffing around someone’s yard and were able to grab her collar and bring her home. I was so grateful, but now we all laugh at the craziness of that night!
I have never been a New Year’s Eve person. It always makes me sad and morose, about another year gone. I rally pretty quickly and get excited about the hope of a new year, but that night, the passing of time weighs pretty heavy on me. One of the two best New Year Eve’s I have had, that were not as a child and when staying up late was exciting, or after Wyatt was born when things were totally different, were the New Years Eves’ I spent with my college friends. I have a friend from university who moved to Australia when he married a delightful Australian woman – Dan and Irma. They are so much fun! I actually missed visiting with them over the summer because Wyatt and I got COVID when they were in town! But, they have spent two NYE in Michigan since moving and both have been full of everything happy. And more than likely many drinks.
Now our NYE’s are much more sedate. Dinner with Devin and Chrissy and Mermaid Girl, music, the kids playing, a glass of wine or two, an earlyish night. They are perfection.
One of my very favorite holiday memories is the year Wyatt was born, my niece was born, and my best friend Kelly had a daughter that year too. Boom boom boom. Babies. One in March, one in August, one in September. That year Chrissy, Kelly, and I got together to make Christmas cookies. Our husbands stayed in the living room with our babies, while we baked. Kelly and I did an abysmal job while Chrissy’s we’re as always professional, but we had such a blast. And these babies!! Left to right is my friend Kelly’s daughter Eloise, then my niece Mermaid Girl, then big time Wyatt. These are some of my favorite photos of them ever.
And I don’t think I can top these three cuties so I am ending here.
Do you have any memories of holidays you would like to share? I’d love to hear them.