It is the day after Thanksgiving. Which means it is time to put away the fall decorations and get ready for Christmas. We’ll be spending the next few days putting up trees, lights, and various decorative items to make our home and our business more festive. It got me wondering about how people celebrated this holiday back in the day.
Then it hit me… I’m now old enough to have actually been there “back in the day”. Here’s what I remember:
- Writing out a Christmas list to Santa using as my sole reference the toy catalogues that magically appeared in our house in early December.
- Watching my dad hang a single string of multi-colored lights (each about the size of a cigar butt) in a straight line across the front of our ranch style home.
- Watching the same movies every year: White Christmas, It’s a Wonderful Life, Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol, and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Not necessarily in that order.
- Stringing popcorn to be part of the tree decorations.
- Deciding that popcorn should never be part of tree decorations.
- Carefully laying one strand of tinsel at a time upon the tree until boredom took hold. Then flinging commenced.
- Piling into the family car with my parents and sisters to drive around the neighborhood at night just to look at all the Christmas lights.
- Decorating Christmas cookies with sprinkles.
- Answering a knock at the door to find 20 people on our lawn to sing us Christmas carols.
- My mother having hot chocolate ready to hand out to any carolers that came by.
- Gathering together on Christmas Eve to hear my mom or dad read “Twas the Night Before Christmas.”
- Deciding to go to bed at 7pm on Christmas Eve thinking that the morning would come more quickly. It didn’t.
- Waking up Christmas morning to find a sheet hanging ceiling to floor just outside our bedrooms with a note attached forbidding us kids to go beyond it until our parents woke up.
- Once allowed, we pulled the bedsheets aside ready to dash to our stockings only to be blinded by the force of a hundred suns as my father powered up the light bar attached to his 8mm camera.
- After opening the last of umpteen presents while sitting amidst a pile of torn wrappings taller than I was, I actually uttered the words: “Is that all?”
Michael Ondrasik and Home Video Studio specialize in the preservation of family memories. When they are done, those memories will have been digitalized, packaged in a gift bag and ready to be placed under the tree. They can be reached at 352-735-8550. www.homevideostudio.com/mtd
Photo courtesy of Esandra Hollman