Childhood Memories Friday: Christmas

Childhood Memories Friday: Christmas!  The big holiday, and as such, it holds so many memories. As a preschooler, I used to say, “Christmas is over, but there’ll be another one!”

I remember our family driving through town looking at the Christmas lights. We looked at the lights hung downtown (which my dad often was instrumental in hanging), but also at various houses decorated with lights. One year my grandparents’ house won a prize for the best lighted display (although they didn’t live in our town).

Many years, we would get home from that drive and then wait a few minutes in the car while Mom would hurry in and get our gifts ready. We never were taught about Santa, a tradition I’ve continued with my own kids. I was always okay with this; honestly, the idea of a large man making toys for every kid in the world and then zipping through the air in a sleigh pulled by flying reindeer, delivering them all in one night? If you can believe that, I guess you can believe anything.

Anyway. We would go excitedly into the house to our piles of gifts (our gifts were never wrapped; just set in piles).

We often spent Christmas Day at my grandparents’. I well remember the year when I was 7. We were at my grandparents’, and my sister had just opened a fabulous Fisher Price Three Bears House.

Fisher Price Three Bears House

It was so cool – one side of the roof lifted up to reveal an awesomely-detailed kitchen where all the little bears could sit at a table. There were shaped holes to fit the bears through the roof! There was a Goldilocks! I was so intrigued I asked my sister if I could play with it, only to be promptly rebuffed.

So I opened my gift, which was … a dress. A dress with a tie. A tie was something boys wore!  I was crushed. I suppose I had been hoping for a Little Red Riding Hood House or something similar to the bears’ house, but it was not to be. Although I knew it was bad etiquette, I couldn’t help tears flowing down my cheeks. Sure enough, my mom was intensely embarrassed and counseled me through clenched teeth to dry it up!

But the harder I tried, the worse it got. I opened a nativity flannel graph set, which my mom hustled me off to the kitchen with:  “You can play with that!”

nativity flannel graph Readers, you just knew I still had it, didn’t  you?

So I spent awhile in the kitchen, trying to find that Three Bears House thrill with the flannel figures. Remembering that day, a tear rolls down my cheek.  I wish I could give that little 7-year-old a hug.

Another year, my grandpa came up to me privately before gifts were opened and confided, “Somebody told me you wanted a black baby doll!” He said this in a wink-wink, nod-nod sort of way. I looked at him, totally flummoxed … I couldn’t recall ever having wished for, much less expressed a wish for, a black baby doll.

Nevertheless, I did get one that Christmas, and she was named Julia. She did have the redeeming quality of being hollow inside, enabling her to “pee” when she was given a bottle. To this day, I am stumped as to why he thought I wanted a black doll, but I suppose it did give me a measure of diversity before that was even PC 🙂 .


“If you would not be forgotten, as soon as you are dead and rotten, either write things worth reading, or do things worth the writing.” ~ B. Franklin

2 thoughts on “Childhood Memories Friday: Christmas

  1. Well, this one makes me sad! I wish I could do something to make it up to that 7-year-old girl whose heart was crushed because of the gifts she got.

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