David's Reformed Church Congregation

David's Reformed Church Congregation
Congregation of David's Reformed Church, Montgomery Co, Ohio, Circa, 1900

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories ~ December 6 ~ Santa Claus

 
 
Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories
~ December 6~
Santa Claus 
 
I don't remember ever going to see Santa Claus.  I do remember "hearing" him walking around in the toy department of whatever store I was in and feeling very scared that he might come see me and want to talk to him. Thankfully, he didn't notice me and he went on his "merry" way to greet some other child who was going to be happy with the attention.
When I had my own children I wanted to make sure they had the opportunity to share in the joy of Santa. When my oldest son was born, he was only two months old at his first Christmas, but I was determined that he was going to have his picture taken with Santa. My reasoning was that if he had pictures of himself with Santa, it would be easier to get him to go visit him when he was older. So, off the three of us went to the Dayton Mall for a Santa picture.  Daniel was an angel for the entire time we had to stand in line. He slept. We handed him over to Santa. He slept. He never even opened one eye during his entire visit with Santa.  It made for very cute pictures though!
 
 
The mall was okay for the first couple of years, but I wanted a richer "Santa" experience for my boys.
Thankfully, at the time one of Dayton's department stores held breakfast with Santa every year and on the Saturday after Thanksgiving it became our family tradition to be there. The store's restaurant was small and reservations had to be made, so it was a nice, intimate feeling occasion. Each family was seated at their own table and the breakfast was served by friendly waitresses. After breakfast, some of Santa's helpers arrived and we all did a "countdown" for Santa's arrival. In he would walk with jingle bells ringing and he would visit each and every child!  After his visit, he would head for the "big Santa chair" where he would sit while all the children gathered round and one of his elves would read "Twas the Night Before Christmas".  The best thing about this Santa was that he would also share the true meaning of Christmas with the children. What a joy!
 
Then, the breakfast over, Santa would head downstairs to his "SantaLand" where he would listen to the children's Christmas lists and have pictures taken. I wouldn't trade those years for anything and I will be forever grateful to Elder Beerman's for hosting those precious breakfasts. They no longer hold those events; the store where we went has even been torn down.  I feel very blessed that we were among those families who were able to meet Santa in such a personal way.
 
“The Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories (ACCM) allows you to share your family’s holiday history twenty-four different ways during December! Learn more at http://adventcalendar.geneabloggers.com.”


Thursday, December 5, 2013

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories ~ December 5 ~ Christmas Recipes

 
Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories
~December 5~
Christmas Recipes
 
 This particular post is a "Repost" of my Christmas Food story from the 2010 Advent Calendar. Thought it would be nice to share it again.
There is nothing quite like holiday foods. My earliest memories of holiday food at Christmas revolve around Christmas Eve at my uncle's home.  Of course, the main thing on my mind was presents and how soon we would get to open those presents. And, we wouldn't get to open the presents until after dinner. So, let's get this dinner thing over with as soon as possible.  All of the kids would eat dinner at the kitchen table, while the adults would eat downstairs.  Our parents would fix our plates and give us each our own bottle of Coca-Cola.  After we ate the "nutritious" stuff, we could have those wonderful cookies that were sitting on the table in the dining room.  My mother's side of the family was very large and we had literally "tons" of food to choose from.  I don't remember specific dishes here, but I do remember how much we all loved having our own bottles of Coke. No wonder we couldn't go to sleep that night!
Christmas Day was spent with my father's side of the family.  All the food was wonderful, but there were several items that became staples in our holiday traditions.  My aunt made a delicious dessert called Cherry Delight.  It consists of a graham cracker crust, cream cheese, Dream Whipp, and cherry pie filling.  I think my brother could have lived on Cherry Delight alone!  She also made Divinity Fudge like I have never tasted before.  My mother started making buckeyes every year and she continues to do so.  We also have a cheese ball each Christmas that even my kids look forward to.  We usually don't make any of these things at other times of the year, because they are so associated with Christmas that it wouldn't seem right.  It may not be politically correct or even medically sound, but I think at Christmas there is nothing wrong with eating something just because it tastes so good!
 
“The Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories (ACCM) allows you to share your family’s holiday history twenty-four different ways during December! Learn more at http://adventcalendar.geneabloggers.com.”
 
 

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories ~ December 4~ Christmas Lights

 

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories ~ December 4 ~

Christmas Lights

One of the things I look forward to during the Christmas season is turning off all the lights and watching television by Christmas tree lights.  So much do I enjoy this that I have tried to think of some way that I can keep Christmas lights on in my living room all year long. There is something very peaceful and cozy about those tiny, twinkling lights. My childhood memories are of the old, big colored lights that hung on our tree and in our windows. You can see them in the picture above, hanging merrily on our Christmas tree.  My brother and I would close the white living room curtains and the colored lights shining through them made a perfect backdrop as we co-hosted our Christmas "variety" shows to an audience of one thoroughly entertained border collie! We never had outside lights, but we certainly enjoyed those that hung outside our neighbor's homes.
It seems each year we see fewer homes decorated for the season. I'm not sure if it is because of the cost of the lights, the electricity they use, or maybe the fact that everyone is so busy now that it is hard to find the time to build the displays.  I am very grateful for those people who believe it's worth the effort they put into it to make the season even more festive! Thank you, neighbors!
Merry Christmas!
 
 
“The Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories (ACCM) allows you to share your family’s holiday history twenty-four different ways during December! Learn more at http://adventcalendar.geneabloggers.com.”


Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories ~ December 3 ~ Christmas Music

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories ~ December 3

~Christmas Music~

I usually start listening to Christmas music in September. I haven't this year, but my standard policy is that it is never too early for a good Christmas carol.
I can remember the days when it was hard to find Christmas music on the radio except for on Christmas Eve itself. But, thankfully, I think just about every city has a commercial radio station that is playing carols from before Thanksgiving to Christmas Day. (and sometimes the day after!)
Even though there are a few really good new Christmas songs, I prefer those recorded by my favorites; Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Barbra Streisand. The recordings made from the 1940's through the 1960's are my preference, even though I enjoy new performers like Kelly Clarkson and Michael Buble' there is just something missing from today's music.  Maybe it's because memories attach themselves to the music that surrounded them and they are always there when you hear that music again. All I know for sure is that at this time of the year, hearing the mellow tones of Crosby and Sinatra gives me that "Christmas Feeling".
 
 
 
“The Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories (ACCM) allows you to share your family’s holiday history twenty-four different ways during December! Learn more at http://adventcalendar.geneabloggers.com.”
 



Monday, December 2, 2013

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories ~ December 2 ~ Christmas Cards

Our first Christmas card, 1981

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories ~ December 2

Christmas Cards

I will admit it. I love Christmas cards! It matters not whether I am sending or receiving!
 I loved getting to the mailbox first when I was growing up, hoping that mom would let me open the cards first. (Usually, she didn't!)   I especially liked the ones that were sparkling with glitter or personalized in some way. By the time all of us in the family combined the cards we received, we had quite a collection of festive scenes hanging around the house.
When I was in high school, for a small fee that went to charity, we could have Christmas cards sent to our friends in their "home rooms".  It was fun anticipating if I would be one of those people who received cards that morning!
 
Once I had a family of my own, we started a tradition of including photographs in our cards. When I look through them now, the memories of those years come flooding back. How glad I am that we took the time to take those pictures, even when the kids didn't really have the patience for it!
 
1991
1995
 
When my oldest son was little, I began a Christmas scrapbook into which I placed Christmas stories from magazines, photos, cartoons, and Christmas cards sent to us from friends and loved ones. It begins with cards and letters we received from the first year we were married, 1981 through the late 1990's.  Stuffed inside the covers are letters and cards that still need to be mounted inside from more recent Christmases.  It is bittersweet to read letters from loved ones who are no longer sharing the holidays with us, but I am very grateful to have the opportunity to remember special times.
In this "internet" world, we are sent "cyber cards", which are nice enough. But, somehow, nothing can touch the fun of going to the mailbox and finding a bunch of colorful envelopes filled with Christmas greetings!  (Confidentially, I even turn the envelopes upside down so I can't see the return address. That way, I can be surprised when I open the card and see the name inside!)
So, get those pens and address books ready!
It's Christmas Card Time!
 
 
“The Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories (ACCM) allows you to share your family’s holiday history twenty-four different ways during December! Learn more at http://adventcalendar.geneabloggers.com.”
 
 



Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories - December 1 ~ Christmas Trees



Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories - December 1 ~ Christmas Trees

How appropriate that we start the Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories with "Christmas Trees".
The picture above is from 1962 or 1963.  I was too little to be up at the crack of dawn with my brothers, who are obviously waiting to dig into the presents on this Christmas morning.  When I was young, prior to 1971, we always had live Christmas trees.  I don't remember a lot about them, except for the fact that we always had tinsel and those lights that once one burned out, they all stopped working! There weren't a lot of "fancy" ornaments on our trees, but they were always beautiful and magical to me and they were always the focal point of our celebrations; the perfect spot for those "Christmas Portraits".
Mom, Christmas Portrait, 1962
(note the tinsel on the floor!)
 
One year my father came home with a new-fangled "shiny, aluminum" Christmas tree. Instead of tinsel and Christmas ornaments on the end of each branch appeared a "star burst" pom-pom in alternating colors of red and green.  To top it off, we it included a color wheel that noisily spun around while reflecting it's red's, blue's, yellow's, and green's against the silvery tree.  While it was beautiful and it eliminated the "pine tree" allergies of my brother and myself, somehow, we missed that green tree with it's shiny bulbs. 
The year we moved into our new home in 1972, my father bought a new artificial green Christmas tree. It was the one I was to have until the year I got married and had a little tree of my own.  It was a beautiful tree, although nobody could have mistaken it for a live tree.
It never really mattered whether the tree was live, fake, silver, or green. What mattered was the joy that came every year when we gathered underneath it's branches on Christmas morning. I carry those memories with me today and I hope I gave my children some of those same special memories to carry with them throughout the Christmases of their future.
Merry Christmas! Let's get the season started!
 
Me with my brother's, posing in front of one of our last live Christmas Trees
 
 
 
 
“The Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories (ACCM) allows you to share your family’s holiday history twenty-four different ways during December! Learn more at http://adventcalendar.geneabloggers.com.”