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Dusting off Christmas memories

I love getting out ornaments, little figurines that sparkle, stockings that have been tacked over and over above fireplaces, and decorations I’ve inherited over time.

Each piece holds memories. Memories of a small curly headed baby’s first Christmas, of a young couple’s first home near train tracks painted every shade of blue, of a little boy who loves decorating his own little bright blue tree each year.

Some memories fade even further back in time, like an old Polaroid in my hand. I can close my eyes and see the scene of Christmases past, warm homes, filled with family. Food filling tables and cousins running around in Sunday best waiting for presents and guessing what this year might bring.

I can see her stirring food in pots on the stove, in a matching pant and sweater set, nails done in an iridescent pink. I can hear the radio under the kitchen cabinet playing Christmas music from the local radio station. I can hear the back door opening, coats taken and dishes placed on the big dining room table.

I can hear her asking someone to “bless the food” and the prayer said over the table with the anticipation of little eyes looking at the desserts stacked near the end. I can see the women and children lining up first to fill their plates as the men joke about not having any left for them.

I can see the mounds of turkey and ham, side dishes and a small crystal dish of sweet gherkin pickles with a small fork to pick them up. They seemed so dainty next to the olives.

I can smell the cigarette and sweet, vanilla pipe smoke as the grownups settled and talked after dinner. Aunts, uncles and older cousins talking about work and life, catching up on a year of life gone by. I can hear his deep laugh and see her smiling up at him. I can see the piano and my dad playing a quick tune, others waiting in line for their Christmas debut.

I can see the stairs leading up to the two bedrooms that we would play in after dinner. I can see the small closet connecting these two rooms where we would hide. I can see the floral print comforter covering the bed in one room and a small couch and chair in another. This space was our space, our little “house” to play and be together if only once a year.

I can hear the grownups talking each other, “Come see me! Stop by any time.” Making promises to see each other soon. As they made their way outside into the cold winter night, kids in tow, ready for bed because they know Santa is on the way. I can hear them saying goodbye to everyone, waving near the back door as everyone filtered out of their home.

I can see the ceramic Christmas tree on the table as you opened the back door, welcoming you to Christmas at grandma and grandpa’s. It was sparkly and full of colorful lights. It stood on a stand and stood on a stand, plugged up with a small light beneath.

That ceramic tree is now mine. After my grandma had passed away, several small items made their way to me. I unwrap that tree yearly, it no longer has a stand or a light and this year I replaced a few of the colorful, plastic decorations. It is my absolute favorite.

I can transport myself into memories as I unwrap each piece of Christmas. One memory no more sacred than another, just trapped in a different time, a different place ready each year for me to unwrap like a special gift.

My Grandma Basham’s ceramic Christmas tree

One thought on “Dusting off Christmas memories

  1. Precious. I too remember those days as you and your sister played upstairs with your cousins ❤️Wish we could sometimes go back in time for just one more hug, one more kiss on the cheek, one more I love you, and just one more evening with the family. Remember and hang onto them as long as you can. I love you sweet daughters of mine. Mommy

    Liked by 1 person

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