Thursday, December 24, 2009

The Best Christmas Gift Ever

Besides, of course, Baby Jesus… 

710 NE 18 1953-2 

In our home Christmas was always such an exciting time.  Usually a couple of weeks before Christmas out would come the decorations.  Dad would bring home a Christmas tree and all of us would help decorate not only the tree but also on the mantle and different places around the house.

Our excitement would grow with every step of the decorations and  preparations.  Mom would be in the kitchen making up her fruit cakes to be given to friends and family both near and far and the doorbell would be ringing and we would be getting deliveries from companies that dad’s company bought from and sold to… Large boxes filled with grapefruits and oranges, bushel baskets filled with the biggest apples my eyes had ever beheld.

Dad would sometimes bring home gifts that company representatives had dropped by the office… Wisconsin cheeses, Vermont maple syrup and candy samplers, and the traditional candied fruitcake that has traveled around the world at least 9 million times.

Then came Christmas eve.  All us kids would hang our stockings with care… on the back of the sofa.  Dad didn’t want nail holes in the mantle plus the risk of a fire because it was normally cold and the gas stove in the fireplace was always going.  I can remember being so excited that I could hardly go to sleep. Bennett and I usually ended up in the same bed because we tried to keep each other awake listening for Santa so we could ‘catch him in the act’. Of course we always fell asleep and missed the hooves on the roof top or the jungle of the bells on the sleigh.

At our home we always had a rule that we could come downstairs and get into our stockings, but we couldn’t wake dad before 7 a.m.  I think that rule was put in place after Ben and I woke him up about 5:30 one Christmas morning because we couldn’t open our Christmas presents until daddy was up.  He was not a happy camper that Christmas.

We would creep down the stairs being very quiet and get our stockings and look at all the boxes under the tree and look and try to figure out which ones were for us but we didn’t touch them.  Then we would sit down and go through our stockings.  There was always an apple, an orange and an assortment of  nuts.  There was ribbon candy and hard candies and the little pillow candies and a small toy or some little goody for us to play with a bit. The house would be filled with the smells of the turkey cooking in the roaster in the basement, the ham baking in the oven and pies sitting on the buffet that mom had cooked the day before.

Dad or one of the older brothers, usually Walter (Bro) because our oldest brother was in the army and sometimes didn’t get to come home for Christmas. There were always gifts of new pajamas and new clothes from mom and dad and we always had each gotten or made a gift for our sibs and for mom and dad.  Usually at our age,  me being 7 or 8 and baby Bro being 4 or 5, we would go to the Five and Dime about three blocks from the house and do our shopping there.  We would look for just the right gift and usually ended up getting a tie for daddy and a small bottle of perfume for mom.  They always acted so surprised and gave us big hugs for their  wonderful gifts.

But you want to know, if you haven’t gotten tired of reading all this by now, what was my best gift ever…

my best Christmas 

Yep, pardner, Santa Claus brought me my Roy Rogers Vest and Chaps and my two gun belt and holsters and of course my hat. I was so excited I couldn’t hardly stand it.

Christmas Dinner

I even got to wear my gear for Christmas dinner.  Baby Bro was sitting next to me on the piano bench that we brought in when we had a lot of company.  That is my mom standing next to Bennett. She seemed always to be bringing more food to the table and she always wore an apron when she cooked.  After lunch it was out the door to visit the neighbor kids and check out our Santa special gifts.  We would play for a couple of hours then it was time to come back in for pie.  Pumpkin pie with huge spoonfuls of homemade whipped cream for me.  There were pecan pies, chess pies and usually a couple or three cakes, chocolate cake or coconut cake that one or two of the aunts brought in and we always had Ambrosia because it was a favorite of dad’s. 

And when the day was over I hung my chaps, guns, vest and hat on the foot post of my bed so they’d be right handy when I got up the next morning.

And that, my friends, was my best ever Christmas gift. I can still remember the roughout feel of my chaps and vest, smell the gunpowder from the caps in my capguns when I’d be shootin’ at the bad guys or riding my bike to round up the cattle dogs.

A cowgirl’s dream come true.

Is there one gift, or two, that stand out in your mind from childhood Christmases?  If so why don’t you share them with us? Help to get all the joy going for the season.  Take a moment from your busy Christmas preparations and rest and refresh yourself and share. 

After all it is the season for sharing…

I hope each and every one of you have a peaceful and joyous Christmas and that blessings of love and contentment abound in your homes.


Tatersmama said...

Oh Helen, what a fantastic post! It's Christmas morning here right now, and I'm sitting here alone... but filled with a thousand happy memories of childhood Christmas' and memories of my kids.
But my best gift? Honestly? That Jesus was born to die for us.

Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas, my friend!

Lonicera said...

That was really moving Helen, you've left me watery eyed.

I think the most thrilling Christmases for me were when I really believed that the fat man with the beard and the red outfit actually DID squeeze down the chimney, and somehow magically knew what I wanted as a gift. (After all in Argentina it was summertime so there was no fear of him getting burnt at the grate or anything...)

And the spooky evidence the following morning when the plate with the mince pie and the glass of sherry were EMPTY. Oh how I tried to keep my eyes open so I could see him!

Have a really good day with your pets tomorrow Helen.

A big hug

darsden said...

What a wonderful Christmas memory in deed! I am jealous always wanted that outfit myself... I did have the dueling 6 shooters though :-)

Gurl you gettin snow up there? Looks like it on the map...enjoy a white Christmas have a Merry one.

hetty said...

Wonderful post, Helen! No guns allowed in our house, so I asked Santa for a microscope. And I got it! I know it sounds kind of nerdy, by that was my best Christmas present ever!

Evansmom said...

What a great post. I have 2 brothers and one sister. My sister is 9 1/2 years older. One year in home ec, she made me a dress for ChristmaS with a matching kerchief and a matching dress for my favorite doll. I was so happy and excited that my sister did all that for ME!

The rule in our house was that I couldn't get up before 4:00 am - because one year, I got everyone up at midnight (just when my parents were getting ready to go to bed!)

Merry Christmas!

Laura ~Peach~ said...

i made chess pies (buttermilk ) today... delish... and my red bike was my fav and i saw one of the pics today LOL love your outfit i would have swooned to recieve anything so cool as that!!!!
Merry Christmas to you! Love and hugs! Laura

Twisted Fencepost said...

Beautiful memories!
As a child, I think my favorite Christmas present was my radio/record/8-track player. And my brother had a large collection of music I could borrow.
Merry Christmas, Helen, to you and all that you love!

Reddirt Woman said...

Katie Jesus is the reason for the Season and while we knew that as children I don't think He got too upset with us for waiting with bated breath for Santa and a few goodies for us.

Caroline here the fires usually are going in the fireplaces at Christmas but we were convinced that Santa Claus was magic and therefore wouldn't get burned.

Dar we got about 2-3 inches here in Ft. Worth. In Okla. City they've officially had 14.1 inches. They closed the Interstates yesterday evening because of some pretty bad pile ups. Some buses got stranded and they had to send school buses out from nearby towns to pick up those folks that were stranded on the road. My Cuz said that the weather report said there were pretty steady winds in the 40's with gusts recorded at the weather center as high as 56 mph. She said it looked like a white out. She couldn't see the pecan trees that are maybe 200 yards from the house.

Hetty my brother got a microscope one year and I was jealous, so you aren't the only nerd out there.

EvansMom wasn't it so cool that your big sister would do that for you. Most big sisters think that little sisters are a pain in the rear. I can just imagine your surprise and joy with that gift.

Laura have you ever made Tennessee Boiled Custard? Mom always made that, too, because it was a real treat for dad and us kids. It was kind of like eggnog but without the whiskey or rum or whatever people put in eggnog that's liquor.

Becky you mean your brother actually let you borrow his tapes and records? Without your momma threatening to bust him if he didn't share? That's a really good brother.

Tipper said...

Oh I loved this post Helen!! I loved the old pictures too. My girls each got a cowboy hat for Christmas-I think they're your kinda girls : )

GingerJar said...

One year I got a Chatty Cathy...I wanted so bad, that I prayed every-night that I would even be nice to my little brother if Jesus would let Santa bring me a Chatty Cathy, I was 4 years old. I had that doll until after I was married and it burned up when our mobile home burned and we lost everything when my son was 6 months old. I'm still nice to my little brother though! LOL.

Rainbowloverswife said...

Helen, that was a sweet memory and picture, Billie saw the picture and just chuckled, it reminded her of her own Roy Rogers Christmas, she was you age, only she got the guns and the hat, and she was just as excited and happy as you were! You two really are a pair, lol. My favorite present from Santa was a Barbie, she came in her box, and in another box was clothes so I could dress her and play with her hair, I was so excited and happy! It was the first real Barbie I had, and Santa was real to me that Christmas, sounds goofy, huh?
Hoping you have a safe and happy New Year, and that the girls are doing okay in all this snow, lol.
Kristi & Billie