Saturday, December 11, 2010

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories - Dec. 10 Gifts

What were your favorite gifts, both to receive and to give?
Are there specific gift-giving traditions among your family or ancestors?

I firmly believe the topic of Christmas traditions is something soon-to-be newlyweds need to discuss before they say I do. Christmas traditions is something my husband and I failed to discuss until we had celebrated our second wedding anniversary. We would have discovered how different our Christmas traditions were much sooner had it not been for the fact Uncle Sam decided our first Christmas as husband and wife would be spent with Al in sunny South Vietnam.

Al's family opened their gifts on Christmas Eve, my family on Christmas morning. Al, the youngest of six children was a 'late in life' child with his siblings living away from home during his childhood. I am the oldest of four girls therefore had siblings to feed into the Christmas frenzy. There couldn't have been a more different Christmas gifting experience.

Al's family opened gifts after church on Christmas Eve leaving him to get up Christmas morning and enjoy his train set in peace. Meanwhile at my house, by the time Christmas morning arrived we were seriously sleep deprived . The first Christmas Al and I spent with my family he experienced severe sensory overload. Frank Sinatra on the stereo, coffee and egg nog with a plate of cookies and breads while the decibel levels gradually increased the closer we got to gift unwrapping. I vividly recall my youngest sister jumping up and down on the couch singing to Sinatra. Throughout the years, memories of Al helping my Dad assemble a doll crib (which included having to drill  new holes for the railings) and a refrigerator with 'ice cube' maker that had to be assembled in the middle of night have become the wonderful laugh till you cry stories we never get tired of telling.

Bride dolls, ice skates, guitars and record albums (Glen Campbell and Jimi Hendrix are the two that immediately come to mind) are a few of the gifts I recall receiving but the one gift that stands out in my memory is my first 'real' Mom gift.

Long before anyone considered the implications and effects Styrofoam meat  trays would have on our environment, the boys youth group at our church used them to make a Christmas tree for Mom. Somewhere along the way a few of the glass decorations were broken and the tree topper is missing but I can still recall the look on Chris's face when he presented me with his gift and recall it was wrapped in green tissue paper decorated with gold and red star stickers.

But Mary treasured all [these words] and pondered them in her heart. Luke 2:19


Cher' Shots said...

OMG Cindy, how cute is that tree?!! What a treasure. I have some of my kids school art projects displayed throughout the house - copper hammered birds, driftwood paintings etc.
And as for family traditions ~ wait until you toss in the 'in-laws' and timing Christmas events. But all in all it seems to work out.

Carol said...

Darling tree. Well kept too, even with a few blemishes, shows it is well loved.


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