Writing is like being able to put life into a snow globe. It takes the things that are too big and scary and reduces them into a form that I can put away when I want and look at from a distance. It also takes all that’s good in life and captures it into something I can take out when I want and look at close up and keep forever. It makes the bad things into something I can hold…and the good things into something I can hold onto. Both help so much that I need that little souvenir of life.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas Memories: The Gifts We Give Ourselves

Some of my favorites:

My son, aged three, excitedly pointing to a nativity scene: “Wook! The Baby Cheese-It!!!

Riding through a Christmas light display with the children when one of them gasped with reverent wonder, “OOOH! It’s the Taco Bell sign!!!”

My children, trying to recite the names of Santa’s reindeer: “…and Comet and Cupid and Cancer and Dander….”

When I was a kid, the thing that made me wonder about Santa was the oranges. Santa used to leave a big old orange in the toe of our stockings. Worse, none of my friends got oranges. I was a late-in-life baby, and I think this tradition came from having much older parents than those of my friends. No one (except possibly my dad) ever ate the stupid orange—it just went right back into the fruit bowl. But the worst thing was that our fruit bowl in the kitchen was always filled with oranges, except on Christmas morning. On Christmas morning, that bowl was conspicuously emptied. That was when I figured it out. Not only was Santa sort of cheap for wasting valuable stocking space on worthless oranges, HE HADN’T EVEN BROUGHT HIS OWN ORANGES! HE’D JUST USED OURS!

Have a very merry Christmas, and make some wonderful memories!!!

At Christmas play and make good cheer,
For Christmas comes but once a year. ~Thomas Tusser


  1. Tammy, that's way too funny! That brings back dear memories of Christmas past. Like wondering how Santa's handwriting could look exactly like my dad's. ...and we wondered where Santa got those charcoal briquets that were in our stockings (okay, so we weren't always good), but there was no way to do the math; dad kept a 50 lb bag of them in the garage.

    Cancer and Dander! LOL!

  2. Hello Tammy! Beautiful, funny, and sweet memories! Merry Christmas, my wonderful friend!

  3. Hi Tammy,
    Ha, I thought I was the only one who received oranges and an apple in my stocking...which was actually one of my dad's oversized socks. Love your memories. I have some posted on my blog too. Merry Christmas.

  4. HaHa! Too funny! I love the "Cheese-It" and will have to repeat that multiple times to friends and family over the next day or so. (I promise to give you credit.) Great memories, told lovely and with humor. Merry Christmas!

  5. I got oranges, too, along with walnuts in my stocking. You're right---I never ate the orange, either.

    The baby Cheese-It is too funny. When I was a kid, we had a train that went on a track around the Christmas tree, and the baby Jesus would often take a spin on the train.

    Tammy--Have a great Christmas.

  6. Fran, my grandfather used to joke about the charcoal, but I'm impressed that your family actually went through with it!! :-o Now I'm sure your coal days are over as you are one of the nicest families ever--Merry Christmas!!

    Thanks, Becky, and Merry Christmas to you and your family, too!!!

    Linda, your blog post is so moving. http://lindaoconnell.blogspot.com/2010/12/christmas-past-present-and-future.html Merry Christmas to you, too!

    Lisa, I will tell my son (now freshly 21--urk!) that he is being quoted. I think he'll get a kick out of it. Merry Christmas to you and your family!

    Sioux, it's sort of good to hear Santa wasn't just picking on US. And I'd forgotten about the walnuts, but we got those, too! Still giggling about Jesus's train ride!

    Merry Christmas to all!!!

  7. Thanks, Pearl! Merry Christmas, and hope you survive!

  8. That was a great and funny Christmas memory. May your Christmas be all you wish it to be! Roland

  9. We also always got an enormous orange in our stocking. I think it hearkened back to our Grandmother's story of receiving only an orange as a Christmas gift. They were poor, and oranges were quite an indulgence.

    How the times have changed!


  10. Thanks, Roland, it was!!!

    Pat, am sure you're right. I seem to remember a scene in Little Women where all Amy wants is a lime to exchange with her friends. We are lucky without a doubt!!!


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