by Maria Schulz
There are only 3 days left to shop, wrap, bake, clean, and cook for Christmas day. In some ways, I’m way ahead of myself when compared to years gone by, and in other ways…well, let’s just say I don’t stand a snowball’s chance in hell of getting finished.
However, I have vowed not to FREAK OUT over any of it. Instead, I’m sitting here remembering the many Christmas Pasts that I’ve enjoyed and gleefully anticipating this Christmas day. Here are some of the memories that are putting a smile on my face today.
- Christmas, 1969: we celebrated in our old row house that would have comfortably fit a family of 4; we were a family of 9. We lived on top of each other, but we still had another 30 people come over to celebrate with us. My grandparents were there, and so were my aunts, uncles, and cousins. A rumor was going around that Grandpa had met Santa and the scoop was we were all on the good list. I got my Malibu Barbies! It was a very good year.
- Christmas, 1972: At 4 a.m. that morning, my older brothers woke Paul, Joe, Chris and me up and led us out to what looked like a room filled with toys and said: Santa came! Paul tore open his gift (a GI Joe commander RV) and flashed the giant flood light on the top of it around the room while everyone laughed and enjoyed their treasures. My father must have had a very good year, because on this first Christmas in our new home, we each got 2 gifts. I got a Drowsy doll and a Busy Hands Barbie and remarked to my mother that Santa had the same handwriting as her. I was not yet old enough to see the connection or be snarky about it. Good times.
- Christmas, 1974: my grandmother and grandfather gave Chris and me our gifts: Chris got a bobble-head dog and I got a small pink doll dresser. We looked at each other and said: these are the GREATEST GIFTS EVER! My grandparents were delighted. I can still see them laughing and smiling now.
- Christmas, 1978: I went Christmas caroling with the Folk Group to a local children’s hospital. While we sang “Sleigh Bells Ring, Are You Listening?” we heard a loud thud and all turned in unison as we sang, watching as Ms. McGrath dragged our fellow caroler, Kim, off the stage. The sight of so many sick kids had gotten her so upset that she went down like a felled Christmas tree. We just kept singing.
- Christmas 1979: my older brothers declared that this would be the year they spent Christmas with their girlfriends, so Paul, Joe, Chris and I were left behind with two parents who were sad to lose their eldest children to adulthood. My parents weren’t happy that Christmas, but I got my very first Blondie record from Jude, so how could I be unhappy?
- Christmas 1982: my favorite English teacher and his wife gave me a poinsettia plant and I gave them a cookie platter. But the best gift of all was that they came over to exchange gifts, since he was on sabbatical that year.
- Christmas 1987: Gary and I are together! He gave me a ruby ring and I gave him a new-fangled CD player. He was the first kid on the block to have one!
- Christmas 1989: Gary gave me a package to open on Christmas Eve and my Uncle Sal and Grandmother got so excited: they thought we were about to get engaged. They were disappointed, but I loved my ankle bracelet.
- Christmas 1992: our first Christmas as a married couple. Our apartment was decorated with care, in hopes that Saint Nicholas soon would be there.
- Christmas 1997: Our first daughter joins the party! We get to buy dolls and toys again. Whooo-hooo!
- Christmas 2000: Our second daughter is in the house! More toys! More dolls! Barbie rules.
- Christmas 2006: the great Cher doll hunt is on! Where can I find that Bratz computer? Will Santa know how to find us in our new house?
- Christmas 2009: no one believes in Santa anymore. Oh well. I was tired of eating carrots and cookies late at night anyway
- Christmas 2013: two teenagers. No Barbies. We had fun anyway
- Christmas 2015: our baby is home from college. Our other baby isn’t at volleyball. We are all home and together. It’s starting to feel a lot like Christmas!
Here’s to good old Santa! This drink looks easy to make, and the reviewers said it was delicious. One reviewer substituted Amaretto with Peppermint Schnapps and used crushed candy canes to rim the glasses. Use non-alcoholic eggnog if you so desire. However you choose to make it, enjoy!
So, Hungry Lifers: what are your favorite Christmas years and memories? Please leave a comment and let us all know. Thanks, and Merry Christmas!