It’s the first day of December and as I write this to you, it’s not feeling very “Christmas” yet here in Florida. Thankfully the temperatures have cooled off a bit, with the highs in the past week staying in the mid 70’s and the lows dipping slightly into the 50’s but like most days, it continues to be bright and sunny. No threats of snow here! So to help get more into the holiday spirit, I thought it would be fun to talk about Christmas time as a kid.
For me, Christmas and winter have always been a favorite times of year for me. I remember growing up my dad would begin working on the outside of our house, setting up the Christmas decorations at the beginning of November so they would be ready to turn on the day after Thanksgiving. We never turned them on before Thanksgiving but we always started getting things ready.
Christmas was always a big deal in our house and there were a ton of decorations to get put out so it really did take a full month to prepare. And since my grandmother lived directly next door to me, on the same property, we had two houses to get ready not just one.
I always loved helping my dad pull down the big red and green boxes from the rafter labeled “Christmas” and helping getting everything separated out. Large boxes filled with brightly colored lights, animatronic characters like our candy cane painting Mickey Mouse or Mr. and Mrs. Claus, and unwrapping all of those cute little trinkets and ornaments we’ve collected over the years
We would separate the inside boxes from the outside boxes and try everything out, replace what wasn’t working, and mend what may have been broken or torn the previous year. It really was an event in and of itself.
Once everything was ready that’s when the work began. Over the next couple of weeks he would work hard stringing the lights over the houses and connecting the reindeer and Santa display that ran between mine and my grandmother houses. Oh man, those reindeer and that Santa always gave us a problem. It was always funny watching that go up. He would climb on the roof and place more decoration on there. Once my brother got older, he would help to scale the ladder and place decorations in the trees. There was always music going as they worked and I just remember the whole thing being a lot of fun.
While my brother and my dad worked outside, my mother and I worked inside the house stringing more lights and beads all over. We decorated from the front of the house to the back. We set out a Christmas village that grew bigger and bigger with each passing year in front of our stone fireplace. There was a post office, diner, a skating rink, little villagers that looked like they were walking around and enjoying their little Christmas life. Houses and bridges and frozen over lakes. Fake snow made of cotton, and working lights to light up the streets. Little cars that looked like they fell out of the 1950’s and horse drawn carriages. Moving ice skaters on the ponds, a working carousel that went up in the back and the biggest house located in the center that belonged to none other than the big man himself…Santa! His little mailbox proudly proclaiming Claus on the side.
We would set up the nativity that my great grandmother gave to use so many years ago, gently dusting off each little ornament and placing them carefully inside the real wood and straw barn. The worn porcelain of the clothes and faces I remember being browned from age and how fragile each piece felt. We would set out the different red and green and gold decorations, the candles, the white Christmas table cloth, and the place mats.
The tree would be beautifully decorated each year using as many ornaments and pretty twinkling lights as we could find in our stash. We would hang our 4 stockings on the mantel over our fireplace and always place the star on the Christmas tree last. When the star went up, it was time to turn on the lights and enjoy Christmas.
Sadly I don’t have any of the pictures of the house from back then, 20 plus years ago we didn’t have a cloud to keep everything on and access easily from anywhere, but I’ll never forget being that little kids that was always so excited for Christmas and the decorations. They were almost as fun as opening the actual presents on Christmas morning. Almost…
So welcome to Blogmas guys! I hope that you enjoy and have a fun filled Christmas season with you’re family and friends.