I miss the Christmas holidays I had as a child. It was so innocent and so much fun, even if I did not get exactly what I had chosen. I still experienced the joy of Christmas that all children should experience. I have many fond memories of Christmas Day and the weeks leading up to the excitement.
My dad would get frustrated as we put up the tree. It was taking too long to make it look just right (that would cause an argument). Mom would bake chocolate chip and sugar cookies. My german shepherd, Sheba, would devour any dropped cookies before they hit the floor. (Who knew chocolate was deadly for dogs. She lived to be 14.) I loved taking cookies from the cake can hoping my mom would not notice.
My parents would play the soulful carols of Nat King Cole, the Jackson Five, and Gladys Knight and the Pips. I remember hearing them on the record player in our apartment and eventually in the CD player of the basement in our first house. I have the Jackson 5 Christmas CD, unopened because it is also attached to memories of my father.
I miss waking up to see if Santa Claus delivered the toys I circled in the Sears Holiday book. I had visions of the latest strollers, clothes, and cribs for my dolls.
However, one of my earliest memories involved our aluminum Christmas tree, our fake fireplace, and my color wheel.
My Christmas Color Wheel
I was in love with my color wheel (it was ours, but I felt like it belonged to me)! I can remember helping my parents put up our aluminum tree. I remember taking each branch out of its brown paper sleeve. The wooden pole was a bluish gray. I loved searching for the holes making sure the branches were secure. We had red bulbs (my nana had blue bulbs on her aluminum tree), and a little red girl ornament that was the angel at the top (mom still has that ornament).
At night, my parents would put on the color wheel. I lay in front of the tree staring as it changed our tree from red to green to orange, and finally to blue. I was mesmerized! I was always surprised by the color that would come up next (this was before my school days). Each color glistened as it bounced off the aluminum “needles” of our tree.
We also had a fake fireplace that plugged into the wall. I would go from watching the color wheel to looking at my “crackling fire.” My parents would put our Christmas cards on the mantle like a real fireplace.
When we moved into our house when I was 10, that fake fireplace was replaced by a real one. By that time, realistic “fake” Christmas trees were in vogue. We also had the string of Christmas lights instead of a color wheel. My parents did put up our aluminum tree in our finished basement until it wore out.
My color wheel, along with our tree and fireplace, was a huge part of my Christmas magic. As a kid, you can enjoy everything about the holiday. Once you become an adult, the stress of recreating that magic replaces the feeling that Christmas is “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year.”
What is your earliest Christmas memory?
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