I've been listening to some wonderful Christmas music, the latest is some of James Galways wonderful offerings. I especially love the song, "Angels We Have Heard on High" and "Silent Night" in German. There are so many. But I don't like hearing them 6 gazillian times in every store I go into, especially since the recordings are often bad. The two I mentioned bring back warm memories of Christmas pagents and my grandfather singing that old hymn in the language of his youth, just so my grandmother could hear it again. The flute music brings to mind my son who is now in Florida and the " Little Drummer Boy" has 2 attached to it. One is from when I was singing tenor in high school and our only words in that song were "pa rum pum pum". The other is my older son who loves drums.
When I was a child, we always opened presents at home with one set of grandparents and then went to my mother's parents for dinner. We never had stockings there, we always had a Christmas Plate. Often the best thing was a huge orange that was purchased at the Orange Store that opened just after Thanksgiving and had what was then very exotic - pink grapefruit and kumquats. I don't remember the meals but I do remember the books. I always got books for Christmas and the afternoon found me lost in them. When I
was a child, horses, dogs and Nancy Drew were my favorites. Mysteries are still my favorite books.
Oh Christmas Tree - my father always waited as long as possible before giving in to mymother and I, pleading for a tree and he always came home with the most pathetic trees, scrawny, scraggly and hard to see which side was the absolute worst. Even if I was along he picked the worst! But with my mother putting tinsel on one strand at a time, they usually looked at least ok and it was always a thrill to get out the remembered ornaments. There were even a few tiny tea pots. When my parents decided to get an artificial tree, my mother let my father pick it out. You guessed it - another Charlie Brown tree. But I gave her a small chubby tabletop tree as well. We lived on a farm, I don't know why we didn't just go out in the woods and cut one.
There are other wonderful memories of making cookies and sending them off, shopping in department stores with wonderful animated scenes in their windows, buying nuts at the nut store with a revolving Mr. Peanut, going to the fire house for a party and getting a book from Santa, playing an angel in the Christmas pagent, sitting in the church balcony and watching the light from a hundred candles spread through the building, finding just the right present for everyone, especially "Evening in Paris" sets for my mother. i never did know if she liked them or was just kind.
When we had our own kids I remember the year they picked out the tree from a friend's farm. It was huge! and our living room was tiny! We had to move almost all the furniture out and could only see someone else in the room from one or 2 spots. It was glorious! Then there was the year we had a new kitten who climbed the tree, so no antique ornaments and she chewed wires, so no lights and tinsel is bad for animals so we used a couple dozen candy canes. The kids were scathing about how bad it was, and well, it did look peculiar. But they loved the kitty, so it didn't really matter.
Wheerever you are have a Merry Christmas.