The Ghosts of Christmas Past…

My 1st Christmas!

My 1st Christmas!

Ahhhh…What is it about this time of year that makes you want to forget you are an adult and makes you long for Christmases past?

For me, two recent events caused me to head down memory lane a bit unexpectedly.

First one last week was overhearing a co-worker talking about her Christmas budget for her two kids. $1000.00 piece. Yeah. You read that right. These are young kids too.

I kept my mouth shut of course. For it’s certainly not my business how much someone chooses to spend on their kid. But it DID send me down a road of remembrance.

I can’t speak for the rest of you, but when I think back to my Christmases past, its rare that I actually remember WHAT I got, or how many gifts I got. I mean, I can recall a handful of items that I just HAD to have…Kind of like my own version of the coveted Red Ryder BB Gun. I think we all had at least ONE of those Christmases. (For the record, mine was a Fievel doll from the movie An American Tail. I just HAD to have it. And my mother, bless her heart, made sure I did.

Fievel Circa 1986

I am 41 years old and I STILL have that stuffed doll.

But when I think back it’s the actual memories of the day that stand out. The family. The traditions. I don’t remember much about the toys. Just the feeling of being surrounded by love, warmth and tradition.

The second event that jolted me was driving by my grandparents house yesterday. It hasn’t been my grandparents house in over 20 years. But they spent 50 plus years there and raised 5 kids in it, so to me, it will ALWAYS be my grandparents house.

It made me want to sit down and share some of my memories with the universe. For fear that they may one day just disappear.

While going through pics this morning I found this:

Christmas memoriesAnyone else remember the Sit N Spin? Man, I must have loved that thing! There is a whole lotta retro going on in this pic. The yellow Cosco Stool in the back. The vintage Christmas table cloth. The ashtray on a stand. Back when smoking was acceptable.

Christmas memories5

This is my sister. Not sure what doll this is, but she looks absolutely ecstatic to have her! Again, some retro going on. A barrel foot stool where mom stored blankets.

And then there is this lovely. I think EVERY home in the 60’s and 70’s had one:

Christmas tree 2I now own this lovely. Given to me by my mother. It has a music box in its base that plays Silent Night. It was made by my Aunt Judy for my parents sometime in the mid 60’s. I LOVED playing with the music box when I was a kid. This thing is well over 40 years old as evidenced by this pic I found this morning:

Christmas TreeThat’s me in the red and my less than enthused older sister looking on. This is the year I arrived and usurped her position of the only child. I don’t think she has ever forgiven me. LOL. (And I am DIGGING the tv!)

As I was reminiscing this morning I was also touched by the strength and grace of my mother. See, my parents were divorced when I was four. It was a nasty divorce and my parents held tightly to equal amounts of bitterness for the rest of their lives. However, at Christmas time they always managed to be civil and even after the divorce my father spent many Christmas mornings with us.

As a single mom living in low income housing, we NEVER had a room full of gifts. But it rarely seemed to matter. I loved every Christmas we had and my mom always did a great job of making sure we had enough gifts to open.

But again, it is the traditions I remember most. Christmas morning with my maternal grandparents with a simple but delicious breakfast with my mom’s world famous scrambled eggs. Okay. Maybe not world famous, and actually, nothing special about them, except that my mom made them.

And then Christmas night split between my maternal and my paternal grandparents house. Who despite being from the same generation were as different as night and day.

Maternal grandparents were more “Country” and paternal were more “City”. I loved them both.

Christmas memories7Me and my maternal Grandpa. The Wilson’s. (Dig the W on the screen door)

Christmas memories6And me and my paternal Grandpa, The Bininger’s. (Will always remember the hat!)

And then there is this guy:

Christmas memories4This is me and my dad on my first Christmas eve. And yes, I am noshing away even then. Why they gave a 7 month old a popcorn ball is beyond me but that was way back in the day before we had lawsuits and warnings about EVERYTHING. I apparently survived!

I miss this guy. Perhaps one of the most misunderstood men I have ever known. My dad left this world far too soon in 2003. And although our relationship was fraught with fights and misunderstandings, I choose to remember him this way. Handsome. Happy.

As I looked through pics this morning I couldn’t help be a little sad. Somewhere around the age of 18 or 19 the traditions changed. We lost loved ones. I got married. My sister moved away. I started my own traditions and had to combine them with my in-laws. In essence, I grew up. I became an adult.

And sometimes, being an adult really sucks.

I miss the old days. Things seemed simpler then. I sound like my grandparents did back then! But it’s true.

So this Christmas as you sit down and celebrate with your family, I hope that you will remember it’s NOT how much you spent. It’s the feeling that you provide to your kids. It’s the traditions and the moments they will remember. The people that came and went.

So many of my family have passed on. And while I am incredibly sad about that I remain grateful that my mother and father had the foresight to document my childhood Christmases via photos:

Christmas memories3Me and my daddy…He is wrapped up in my sisters Raggedy Anne sleeping bag!

Christmas memories10Me and my mommy, my cousin Heather and my Aunt Carol. Again in Grandma B’s basement!

Christmas memories12Circa 1980. Not sure what this is I have opened, but I look pretty darn happy!!!

Christmas memories2Last pic I could find. Christmas 1981. This is my sister, my step brother Todd, my step dad Yogi, myself and my mom. The start of changing traditions.

Yep. Sometimes being an adult sucks. Especially when 20 years ago seems like just last year.

Have a very retro Christmas everyone!!!!

 

 

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About drbininger

Early 40- something gal (VERY EARLY!!), living in Ohio, exploring the world of Craft Beer, Delicious Food, Travels, Animals and fighting the Weight Loss battle of her life...And now...Renovating a 1959 Atomic Pink Stucco Ranch....
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