I love this picture of Dad holding our little sister Gigi while my brothers and I have fun decorating the Christmas Tree with ornaments, lights and tinsel. (I also remember how not fun it was to pick the tinsel off before packing away the tree in the attic after Epiphany) Our Christmas tree always looked so jazzy!
Christmas decorations, music and traditions trigger so many Christmases past: Christmases from our childhoods, raising our own children, spent with sweethearts, celebrating away from home, and those Christmases spent with loved ones who are no longer with us. The pandemic has put a hold on many of our Christmas travel plans, but looking at this photo took me back in time to some happy childhood Christmas memories.
On Christmas Eve we would go to Candlelight church service before opening our gifts. The music was so beautiful, and it was extra exciting to get to hold a burning candle. One year, Gigi stared so intently at her candle that her bangs caught on fire! Mom baked goodies for us to eat after church and Dad would read the King James version of the Christmas story from the Bible. I eyed the stack of presents under the tree and wondered which ones contained the necessary, but not so exciting, socks-n-underwear and which ones contained toys. After opening our gifts, we carefully saved the ribbons, tissue, boxes and paper and then hung our Christmas stockings on the electric fireplace heater with logs that flickered with faux fire.
On Christmas morning I loved finding the paperbacks and candy Santa slipped in my stocking, but I still wished he could bring me a real horse. (I was such a horse-crazy little girl!) The stubborn hopeful part of me struggled with reality. I knew it was really Mom getting up early to fill our stockings….and that Santa had no chimney to crawl down to get into our fake fireplace…and our backyard wasn’t big enough for a pony….but maybe this year? Finally, one Christmas my big brothers built me a sweet wooden horse named “Saucy the Sawhorse.” Saucy and I galloped on many imaginary adventures and it remains one of favorite Christmas gifts ever.
I put some favorite jazz arrangements of Christmas songs into a Spotify playlist for you – TLC’s Christmas 2020 Playlist. Hopefully it will stir some happy Christmas memories for you. Happy listening!