Seasonal memories

Christmas is less than two weeks away and like many people I’ve been at several of the events celebrating the holidays. Among those occasions have been some crafting sessions, either making of ornaments, making gingerbread houses or decorating Christmas cookies.

A few have stirred up memories from my childhood of crafts that I made. One year I made ornaments out of popsicle sticks, the types you can buy in bulk, and old Christmas cards. Basically I had the picture from the card framed by the sticks, which made a simple Christmas tree outline. It’s been years since I’ve thought of that, but that’s the “magic” of the season, it causes memories to come out.

There’s other memories, some include toys, others are gatherings with family and our own traditions. For toys there were the times my brothers and I would get Hot Wheels tracks and cars as presents. We would build tracks down the basement steps, put a loop or jump at the bottom step and then send the cars down. There were times the cars jumped the track at the loop or go so far after hitting the jump that we spent several minutes trying to find it. Every once in a while we found it, by stepping on it with a bare foot. A family tradition we had for a few years was that a foster grandfather would give us a small tree. We would put it in a corner of the main floor of the house or in the basement. Some years it was decorated with garlands made from strings of popcorn and cranberries that the kids in my family made. When the tree was put out we thought the birds could have a meal from the popcorn and cranberries. There were some years when making the garland was a family activity. I remember my mom would help us get the string through the needle and then my siblings and I would get to work on the garland. Sometimes it was one long piece of garland that we each took turns at, putting on a piece of popcorn, then a cranberry and then eating some of the popcorn from the bowl. Other years the tree was decorated with ornaments that my siblings and I had made in past years at Sunday school or in our elementary classes.

There was a few years when we had an artificial tree. It was, for lack of a better word, funky, in that it was colored silver, from its stand to the fake fir branches. It also came with this bright light with a wheel of several colors that would rotate. I guess it was so you could have a tree of many colors. Sort of like those light systems today where a person can flash candy canes or snowflakes across their house.

Family gatherings would start on Christmas Eve with both sides of the family. Both sets of grandparents lived in Thief River Falls so part of the evening was spent with each of them. It made for long nights and more than once the kids would start to droop and nod off before the adults were done visiting.

Whether you spend this Christmas season visiting with family, or those you consider family or friends, may it be a good one and may it create special memories that you can share in the years to come.