Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Whimsy At Christmas

I love Christmas for many reasons but one is that people bring whimsy into their lives. I drive down the country roads and many of the farm places are modest and functional most of the year but at Christmas the places are decorated with whimsy and it is delightful to see. Just seeing the lights and decorations brings a smile and is a way to share the spirit with neighbors.

We've decorated our home.  It is the first time in 11 years that we have a Christmas tree. Last year we weren't home so we didn't decorate at all. This year we are celebrating the holiday at home with family coming to share the season. So we got a real tree --- I love it, needles in the carpet and all!

When we lived in California, we had a very small living room so we didn't have a tree. Instead I decorated the top of the buffet with a snowman village. It started small and over the 10 years grew into a full fledged village. Check it out....

Here is the village; closeups to follow

Ice skating on the village pond
Wedding at City Hall

snowmen reunion

Every village has a 'big fancy house' and this is it

The Holly Shop Downtown

Waiting for a friend

Mice are skating on the barrel

Our little corner of the village memorializing our December 26th anniversary

Our parents made Christmas magical for the five of us kids. Mom always put up whimsical decorations and I can see some of her vignettes in my mind today.  Our Dad bought the tree close to Christmas so it was always a little 'Charlie Brownish' but beautiful in my young eyes. We all helped decorate the tree with favorite ornaments and silver tinsel after Daddy put on the lights.

We opened gifts on Christmas Eve. We didn't have a fireplace with a chimney so the five kids were sent to the basement after supper about the time Santa was expected. We'd go downstairs straining to hear what was happening upstairs.  We'd hear the doorbell, Mom opening it and a big 'HO HO HO'. The floors would creak as Santa would move through the house to the room where the tree was located. We'd hear low talking and laughter but nothing clearly. Marcine, our big sister, would encourage us to keep quiet. Finally, after an eternity, the basement door would open and we'd be invited upstairs to see what Santa brought. It was almost too much excitement for a kid to handle.

We would then attend midnight services at church which brought the true meaning of Christmas to the holiday. It was a big deal to stay up late and attend church at this late hour and it added to the magic of the day. The nativity scene and singing Christmas carols were the best.

I remember asking my Dad one year whether Santa was real. He took me outside and showed me the sleigh tracks and the reindeer hoof tracks. OMG! They were really there in the snow. I was so relieved and excited.  Years later I asked him about the tracks in the snow and he told me he pulled a sled over rabbit tracks. He said he was prepared to answer if I asked him about the shoe tracks --- of course, they would have been Santa's.

One year when our Dad was in the hospital recovering from surgery, our maternal grandparents, Grandy and Grandma Hattie, came for Christmas to help Mom with us kids.  We were all in the kitchen after supper doing dishes or messing around when the older kids were doing dishes and suddenly there was Santa looking in the kitchen window and waving. Our gifts from Santa were outside the door that year and we didn't go to the basement. That was the most exciting Christmas ever as a child.

Unlike today, our Christmas gift giving was modest. We'd get some practical things like socks, an outfit or new pajamas and slippers, and maybe 2 significant toys including a doll for the girls. The year the older three kids got bicycles for Christmas was such a big deal that even I was excited. Every Christmas Grandy and Grandma Hattie gave us a shoebox of mixed nuts in the shell and an orange. I loved their gift and looked forward to it.  Boy, have times changed.

One year and only one year, I got something I really wanted and asked for which were ice skates. I had sprained my ankle that year and it was weak so the doctor recommended swimming and ice skating to strengthen it. I got the skates for Christmas and swimming lessons the next summer. But I remember never being disappointed and feeling like the luckiest girl in the world on Christmas Eve.

Christmas day was always spent with aunts, uncles and cousins so it was a very full house of great food and fun.

There is a deeper spiritual meaning to Christmas that we each celebrate in our own way--- but I hope you have whimsy in your home this year --- after all, it is a part of Christmas.

1 comment:

Katie Cameron said...

Oh, I have such great Christmas memories too. We weren't very well off and my parents were kind of modest with gift-giving anyway, so my biggest deal presents were an Eagles album I wanted SO much, a hair dryer my Grandparents bought me (I felt all grown up with that one) and make-up - which signaled that my parents finally saw me for the young adult I was (I was 13). But, yeah, I know what you mean. My kids, thanks to Chris, fondly refer to me as the Christmas Nazi because I have so much tradition and rules about Christmas morning. Still, I know they wouldn't trade it for the world. So have a MERRY CHRISTMAS Delores!! Have a wonderful time.