“Christmas is the keeping-place for memories of our innocence.”

The sun is among the missing again. It is a bit colder than it has been, down to 34˚. I guess the big chill is headed this way so we need to brace ourselves. I can already feel the breeze from the dog door so the back door will have to stay shut. Gracie won’t mind as she doesn’t like being out in the cold too long. She hasn’t a lot of fur. She prefers lying on the couch on her afghan while the heat blasts keeping all of us warm. Nothing dumb about dogs!

I am slow to start this year. Usually my house is already beginning to look a lot like Christmas. My sisters have their trees up and one sister is just about done decorating while the other is well along. I’ll start this week and do a bit each day. My back better hold up for the duration. I love when the house is filled with Christmas.

When I was a kid, our decorations were a bit worse for wear. Many of them were cardboard Santas and snowmen we always put on the windows near the stenciled white snowflakes. Many ornaments were plastic though the best of them was glass. I have several of the small glass ornaments as my mother gave each of us a bag of them for our trees. They take the longest to hang as I hold each one for a while and let the memories of those long ago Christmas seasons wash over me.

Our trees were never showcases. There were bare spots where there should have been more branches. We used to put Christmas cards inside near the trunk in the spaces. I also remember a Coca-Cola Santa who had a prime spot in the middle. The tinsel was silver and my mother always put it on the tree. She was into draping it from branch to branch. The icicles were the old lead ones which hung so well from their own weight. They never stuck to our clothes the way the new ones do. My mother was right. The icicles always looked better hung individually than flung on in piles, our method for putting them on the tree.

I think we always had the prettiest, most colorful trees. Bare spots went unnoticed. We just saw the lights, the ornaments and the icicles hanging off branches and shimmering with reflective colors. My mother would put a few wrapped presents under the tree. We aways knew they were the pajamas.

We could hardly wait until it got dark. We’d run and turn the bulbs on in the orange window candle lights, and one of us would turn on the outside lights then we’d plug in the tree. Every night we were in awe when the lights came on because the tree was magnificent.

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32 Comments on ““Christmas is the keeping-place for memories of our innocence.””

  1. Bob Says:

    Memory is a wonderful human trait. Our mind’s eye excludes all the bad stuff and only emphasize the good and the fun stuff. I read once that our memories get changed slightly every time we recall them. I like to think that they get improved with each remembrance.

    Because of Christmas Chanukah has been elevated from a very minor Jewish holiday to a major event in the kid calendar. My sister and I would decorate our house with blue and white cardboard stars of David and menorahs. We would light a candle nightly from the helper candle in the real menorah and screw in the bulbs on the electric one that we put in our window. My parents would never allow us to have a Chanukah bush but we did hang up our stockings on Christmas Eve so that Santa could bring us a small treat for Christmas morning. We were Conservative Jews not Reformed 🙂

    Enjoy your weather because the system that turned us into an icicle is coming your way. Only 2,000 people are still stranded at the DFW airport and thousands of homes are without power since Friday. I count my lucky stars that we have both power and gas heat. We have been below freezing for over 55 hours and the prognosticators are only expecting the temperature to go above freezing this afternoon for a couple of hours. The main roads are somewhat clear but the side streets and parking lots are still ice rinks. It’s times like this that I appreciate a 101 degree August day.

    • katry Says:

      Bob,
      My memories of Christmas are just so vivid. It was always a big thing in our house. My mother had the Christmas gene which we all inherited.

      I love the idea of decorating for Chanukah. The blue and white must have been really pretty. You got a great part of Christmas morning-the stockings. We loved ours.

      I knew it was on its way here. That was the start of the late news last night; that and what the rest of the country was going through. The electric companies here all are all geared up. They were fined for bad performances in the last two storms. I remember my house got down to 37˚ as it took so long before the electricity came back on.

      I’m not happy about that weather coming!

  2. Caryn Says:

    Hi Kat,
    I have a fond spot in my heart for lead tinsel. Making lead tinsel was my second teenage job. It was nice being the only person in the family who knew how to take the tinsel out of those stupid boxes without snangling it all up or crushing it into a lead ball.

    I also fondly remember decorations that had been stenciled on the porch windows with Glass Wax. I remember them as being white but Glass Wax was pink so I don’t know how that worked.

    My Christmas decorating is haphazard. I tend to leave my favorites out all year because I like them too much to put them away. Thus I have a wind-up Christmas rocking horse on the piano and La Bamba-singing, Santa hat wearing toy Chihuahua with maracas on the piano bench.

    I found battery operated window candles that come on and shut off automatically. They remind me of the orange light candles that my mother used to put on the window sills. They always fell off because the cords were heavier than the candles and pulled them down. My mother used to tape them to the window sill but that really didn’t work for very long. The tape would fail. Eventually they all broke and never got replaced. Until now. 🙂 The make the house seem warmer.

    It’s cold and damp and dreary. Rocky has gone to day care to run off his excess energy with his dog buddies. I’m doing groceries and trying to decide what food to bring to a party next Saturday.

    Enjoy the day.

    • katry Says:

      Hi Caryn,
      I loved that tinsel too and loved that pieces could become lead balls you could throw at your siblings. It never made my mother too happy!

      I don’t remember the pink part. I guess I think they were white because they came out looking that way.

      I leave window lights on all year long. My street is so dark that they give a bit of a glow. They are brass so the light is heavy and doesn’t fall over like those plastic ones did. Ours were all taped to the sill too. You had to hold the candle when turning the bulb on so it wouldn’t fall over.

      I Have to pay bills today so it is dismal all around!

    • Hedley Says:

      Caryn and Kat, you are really getting me upset on this whole tinsel issue. It’s the annual debate over the issue of a parental expectation of individual strands versus “clumping”. And once I’m through this one I move on the paper chains criss crossing the ceiling. 🙂

      • katry Says:

        MDH,
        I have to admit the individual strands look more like icicles than the clumped ones do. It was purely boredom on our parts when we were kids as a kid should be expected to hang a limited number of icicles then be set free.

        Paper chains on the ceiling?

      • Hedley Says:

        Kat, yea, we would link together paper in seemingly endless chains that relied on small amounts of glue to create each circle. When ready they would go across the corners of the room sort of joining with some symettry in the middle. Pins, tape and glue usually were insufficient to prevent decorative failure.

        Heck, thinking about it, what happened to hanging mistletoe in the hallway – other than it was an open invitation to the milkman.

      • katry Says:

        MDH,
        When I first bought my house, I had very little money every month, december most of all with Christmas presents. To decorate my tree I made all those paper chairs and had them across the branches around the tree. I used them for many years until I was sitting in the living room and could hear little paper sounds from the tree. The loops were giving way and that’s what I heard.

  3. Hedley Says:

    Oh oh oh, the 2nd Sunday of Advent (and we all know what happens on Gaudete Sunday) and Kat is firing up the Christmas carols.
    Here in Sparty country we are exhausted after MSU whacked OSU last night and secured their position in the 100th Rose Bowl. The KTCC football team had travelled to Sunderland earlier in the day to secure a win. Tottenham up to 6th
    Now the house is filling up again for the Detroit Lions in the snow in Phili. The Prince is here, we are talking Christmas , it is such a special time of year.

    • katry Says:

      My Dear Hedley,
      I figured I’d start slowly with weather songs, winter weather of course.

      I was watching the Pats but changed to listen to a boy’s choir sing Christmas carols. There is no lovelier sound.

      It is the most special time of year. My sister in Colorado calls all the time to give me updates especially on her break when making cookies. Her house is the one already decorated, and she has help I envy.

      Glad to know out football team is still winning!

      • Hedley Says:

        Mrs MDH and my daughter are constructing cookies, The Prince is drawing something for my office and I am watching the snow bowl with our oldest.

        KTCC FC had a good week with wins at Fulham and Sunderland. Next league match is on GAUDETE Sunday, at The Lane against Liverpool. Should be a cracker while I am listening to……

      • katry Says:

        MDH,
        I know exactly what you’ll be listening to!

        I paid my bills and am about to do a laundry. I have been totally idle because of my back so today I am determined to do something.

        I love Christmas cookies.

  4. olof1 Says:

    This day has been horrible with snow and strong winds all day. My body have ached like crazy all day and I now know it isn’t the flu, it’s my rheumatism. It’s been so long since it hit so hard that I had forgotten how bad it was. Well it will pass sooner or later.

    My mother was very picky when it came to christmastrees¨, there wasn’t allowed to be a bare spot anywhere and she could go all over town to find the one she wanted. Her dream was a Disney tree, perfect in shape and perfect dressed. Wel she usually got the shape right but never really managed to get it perfectly dressed 🙂 We kids ¨put all our favorite stuff in it too 🙂

    I have the few of those old glass ornaments that survived a man that accidentally tripped the tree and then blamed the cat 🙂 but I haven’t used them in a long time since my trees have been so small. One day I’ll have a big tree again and then all those old ornaments will be used again.

    Have a great day!
    Christer.

    • katry Says:

      Christer,
      Nothing worse than rheumatism-no cure just relief for a while if you’re lucky. My sister has had rheumatoid arthritis since her early 20’s, and she sometimes can’t even move her fingers.

      When we were older and my parents had more money, my mother always found the best trees. She’d not tell my dad the exact cost as he would have had a fit. He was content with what she told him.

      I am goiNg to have a smaller tree this year so I don’t know which ornaments will go on it. I was thinking all the homemade ones.

      Have a great evening!

  5. im6 Says:

    It’s never too early for Christmas music. And the weirder, the better. But I guess you knew that about me, Kat. If you know anyone who might appreciate my yearly compilations, please feel free to email them the links (I don’t think Hedley’s interested). But that’s not why I’m writing today. I’m writing to say that for the first time in my entire life, I have my very own Christmas tree in my very own place. Took long enough, but I finally did it. Only 6 feet tall and it’s artificial, but it’s mine all mine. And with the help of Dollar Tree and the 99¢ Store, it looks darn near perfect at an unbeatable price! Ornaments galore, but no tinsel, lead or otherwise. It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

    Thought the KTCC might enjoy one of this year’s selections from my holiday music collection…

    • katry Says:

      im6,
      I am so happy, even merry, for your having a tree. I bet it is so beautiful. It never matters what you put on the tree or where you got the decorations. It is in the presentation- all those colorful ornaments hanging on the tree bringing the tree alive. It is the oat wonderful part of Christmas.

      I so love this song. It’s like my Angel on the Christmas Tree, also from the 20’s. I just love it and now this one!

    • Birgit Says:

      im6, 🙂 I’d love to listen to your new mix!
      Kat, could you please share the link? Thanks

      • im6 Says:

        Birgit, I was thinking of you specifically when I mentioned it. I hope you’re able to access the links. If not, let Kat know and I’ll try another linking solution. This is about the 7th year I’ve done this. They are met with delight by some — while others are completely perplexed by them. Let me know which camp you fall into!

      • Birgit Says:

        im6, last year’s mix was a delight! I’ll let you know, but I probably won’t be able to listen before Friday.

      • Hedley Says:

        Very cool, im6 . We have an SD card loaded up with Christmas songs primarily conventional.
        I have retreated to the front room to blast Reflektor through ear buds. These Arcade Fire folks are awfully good. You might want to put it under your tree….and…..turn it UP

      • katry Says:

        Birgit,
        I would only be too happy to pass them along, but I don’t have them and couldn’t find them on Facebook.

      • katry Says:

        im6,
        I can’t find the link!

    • Bob Says:

      OK, Christmas Cracker, it’s a joke, right?

  6. Beto Says:

    The most comical thing I’ve seen in a long time happened this morning. I took the pup out and we set some sunflower seed in some empty lawn chairs since my feeders were frozen over. It’s been frozen for three days and the birds were getting desperate. Desperate for some water too, pecking at my bird baths angrily. I took the hint and filled up a small wash tub with water and took it out. A band of Blue Jays comes flying in after pup and I are back inside and set upon the seed and out of habit, the biggest bird bath. One of the Jays notices the water in the tub and gets a drink, then flies up to the frozen bath and tries to get a drink. They were all incredulous that the tub which was new and untrusted had water and the bird bath was frozen hard. There was much bird consternation over that conundrum.

    • katry Says:

      Beto,
      I love watching birds, and it was good of pup and you to provide water and seed. I can imagine those blue jays. They are often indignant birds and quite bossy to their smaller brethren so i can only imagine what was going through their heads wight he water.

  7. Jay Bird Says:

    Our Christmas trees looked like the one in “Christmas Story”, lots of, ah… character! Actually, I think my dad was the model for Ralphie’s father in that movie, in many ways… low-budget tree; 30 plugs in one outlet, blowing fuses, etc. We used those thin aluminum icicles to hide the gaps. But the ornaments and lights disguised the tree beautifully. But I never got my Red Ryder bb rifle! Still have both eyes.

    • katry Says:

      Jay,
      I love that word, character. What a great way to describe our trees. Some of those ornaments were a bit worse for wear, but we loved them and couldn’t wait until they were in their usual spots.

      Once the lights were on-the tree was magnificent.

      Glad you have both your eyes!


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