Monday, December 22, 2008

Christmas Memories

This time of year is always a great time to reflect on favorite holiday memories, and I thought it might be fun to share one or two of mine.

I spent the first two years of college at North Texas State University (now know as University of North Texas). I was six hours from home, and when I wasn't in class, I was working at the TG&Y near campus.

It was the end of 1981, and Neil Diamond was coming to Reunion Arena in Dallas. I had a date to the concert, so I figured I'd spend the money I'd have used for tickets on a tree. Before I had a chance to get the tree, my date informed me he had to work the night of the concert and had sold his tickets to recoup his costs. (We were college kids; what do you expect?)

My roommate, Nickita, liked Neil Diamond as much as I did, so we managed to purchase a couple of tickets, but I had to spend my "tree" money to get them. It was worth the trade-off, but as Christmas approached, the desire for a tree grew stronger.

I was due to drive back home on Christmas Eve, but on December 23rd, TG&Y put all their Christmas decorations on clearance. An artificial 6' tree was just $13.88. Even a poor college student could afford that. Unfortunately, there weren't many ornaments available, so I went next door to Rite-Aid to purchase a few boxes of simple Christmas balls. A few strands of silver tinsel and stringy, silver icicles helped fill out the tree.

I've upgraded to bigger and better trees and ornaments, but I have such fond memories of that simple tree, which was erected every Christmas for at least 15 years. And I may still have a box of ornaments with a Rite-Aid sticker on it.

Another favorite Christmas memory was shortly after my husband and I moved to Tulsa. It was 1985, and Christmas fell in the middle of the week. I had the whole week off, but Chris only had a couple of days off -- not enough time to get back to Texas to visit family. The weekend before Christmas, I flew to San Antonio, where my parents had moved while I was in college, and my flight back to Tulsa was late Christmas afternoon.

One of the gifts my parents gave us was a blue Playmate cooler in the box. Now, our family eats Christmas dinner around 1:00 in the afternoon, so after we ate, my mother packaged up leftovers and put them in the cooler, along with one of those frozen thingies to keep the food cold. Then we re-boxed the cooler, taped it up, and I checked it as baggage on the flight home.

That evening, Chris and I had a lovely Christmas dinner, just the two of us, courtesy of my sweet mother and that Playmate cooler.

What are some of your favorite holiday memories?


Linda at Lime in the Coconut! said...

Awww. great memories. I have sooo many. We were married on Christmas eve 20 years ago this year. It was a beautiful ceremony, snow fell, candles lit. poinsettias all around. The day after Christmas we left our family and friends to go live in a chalet in the swiss alps. It was all so heavenly. Christmas to us is everything. Love and family, spirituality and warmth... All rolled up into one.

PAT said...

Sandra, I loved reading your Christmas memories! I have so many great ones, it's hard to pick a favorite.

Linda's words of what Christmas is to her family are true for our family as well.

Merry Christmas!

Rhoda @ Southern Hospitality said...

Sweet stories, Sandra! Hope you and your family have a wonderful Christmas this year. And I'm so glad you are blogging now. Fun to catch up with you!

mary said...

Thank you for your stories.....

My mother and Grandmother (who lived with us) had a hat shop and always were working - so everything was "last minute". Every Christmas morning there would be a red velvet dress for me hanging on the tree. Where she found time to do that - I'll never know. My recent favorite is on my blog.

Cote de Texas said...

such cute stories!
have a great Christmas and a wonderful new years!


Lisa said...

Seeing that photo of icicles made me smile. I saw some of those at Hobby Lobby and came so close to buying them; not necessarily because I particularly wanted icicles on my tree, but because it was such a reminder of Christmases past.

And btw, I love visualizing you working at the TG&Y for some reason. :-)

Merry Christmas!

Primitiques 'n Poetry said...

What great memories! Thanks so much for sharing a little bit of you. TG&Y is enough of a flashback. I went to TWU in Denton. And the icebox Christmas? Gotta love that sweet memory. A Merry Christmas to you and yours. ~Mindy

Amber said...

GREAT stories, Sandra! I especially love the cooler story.

The first Christmas I remember wasn't on Christmas! My dad was in Vietnam and was due to come home in February. My mother put up the tree and decorations, and Santa visited me on Christmas Day. But she left the rest of the gifts wrapped under the tree until February, and we celebrated our "Family Christmas" when my dad came home from the war.

Many Shades of Shabby by Devonia said...

Aww Sandra, I melted at the sweet story of the Christmas Care Package your mom arranged for you. Such a "mom" thing to do and clever too!

This year we overcooked and ended up with way too many leftovers. Each year we say we will cut back; unfortunately, we are still preparing quantity for the Christmas dinners of the past when my dad and my hubby's parents joined us. We miss them and I guess that, in our hearts, we will always set a place for them at our holiday tables.

Hope your holidays are e'thing you all want them to be. Cherish one another.