Thursday, December 17, 2009

A few favorite Christmas memories

We didn't have very many Christmas traditions in my family when I was a child, but we had a few that have made lasting impressions on me. One tradition that I always loved was that we would always decorate our house for Christmas the day after Thanksgiving. We'd set out early in the morning and we would go to a tree farm and cut down a Christmas tree. I loved that we always had a real tree, and it was a lot of fun trying to pick out the best one. When we would get the tree home it was time to put the tree in the tree stand. We all crossed our fingers and hoped that the tree trunk wouldn't be too big for the tree stand and also that the tree would stand up straight and not lean to one side or the other once it was securely in the tree stand. My dad was always the one who put the lights on the tree. He was very good at this and he made sure that all of the lights pointed towards the ceiling. I loved decorating the tree and it was always so fun to see the finished product -- especially when all of the lights were turned off!

Our trees always turned out well, but the tree that I remember looking the best was in 1998 -- my dad's last Christmas. The tree was so big and the perfect proportion for our home. I have such fond memories of that Christmas and how beautiful our tree was.

We continued getting a real tree for several Christmases after my dad died, and I remember several of those Christmases where I was the one who took on the task of putting the lights on the tree (This was always a painstaking process and took a long time since there was a clip on each light so that it could attach to a branch of the tree.)

We stopped getting a real tree after I had my accident because we didn't have as much room anymore since our living room had been converted into my bedroom. Nowadays we just have a small, 4 foot fiber optic Christmas tree that we put in our family room. It's nice, but I definitely miss the old days when my family and I would spend the day after Thanksgiving cutting down a tree and decorating our house for Christmas.

Here are a few of my favorite Christmas gifts I received when I was a child:
-- A Bugs Bunny guitar that I got for Christmas when I was three years old. I was completely infatuated with guitars as a young child, so I was very excited to get my first guitar.
-- A Cabbage Patch Crimp and Curl Doll that I got when I was about eight years old. This doll had special hair with a wire in each strand. The doll came with a curling iron and a crimper and you could do different things to her hair and it would stay. The doll came with a birth certificate and her name was Frieda Tamra. I always thought it was such a weird name!
-- A porcelain doll that I got when I was about 10. I really wanted a porcelain doll and the one I got was so pretty. She had short brown hair and she was wearing a schoolgirl type outfit. I named her Susan.
-- 13 Dead End Drive. I wanted this game so badly when I was about 13 years old. It was a boardgame and it was similar to the game Mouse Trap in that you had to spend a lot of time setting the game up before you could actually play the game. I loved playing this game and I think it's still in my basement!
-- A 3-D puzzle that I got when I was around 13 as well. I've already written about my love of puzzles, so the thought of a 3-D puzzle was especially intriguing. These puzzles were very popular when they debuted in the 90's and so many kinds were available. My puzzle was a castle. It was pretty difficult and I don't think I would've been able to finish it without the help of my dad and my older sister Kristin. This might still be in my basement too, but I'm not sure. I wish I had a picture of my dad, Kristin and me with the finished puzzle.

I'm sure there are more presents that I really liked, but these are the ones that came to my mind. Even though I'm an adult and I physically can't play with toys anymore, I really love toys and I have a lot of fun picking out toys that I think my nieces and nephews will like.


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