Most of us have fond childhood memories of Christmas. I remember real Christmas trees with angel hair (which can really itch), and Christmas ornaments with liquid flowing on the inside of rocket-shaped capsules. Yes, I know I am dating myself. I think of gifts like my dainty tea set or my Smokey the Bear or my sister’s Mr. Potato Head.
And then, as I continued to grow and evolve, I have enjoyed Christmas from different places. As a teenager in Chicago, I remember going to house parties which were quite popular at the time. But it was pretty much understood that all partying stopped before midnight as people made their way to Midnight Mass, whether Catholic or not. It’s a Chicago thing!
Or as a college student, I remember my mother making me this colorful floor-length dress. I still have a picture from that evening as I was getting ready to go a Christmas ball. We often dressed in formal wear and after-five clothes back then. I wish more young women today would get ‘all-dolled up’ and see how it can raise their self-esteems. Jeans and pants have a place but there is nothing like putting on evening wear.
When I went away to grad school, I really splurged one Christmas by buying a real tree and decorating it beautifully. I actually cooked a duck, a German Sweet Chocolate cake, and a lemon meringue pie along with all the sides. Cooking was not my thing so this was really a stretch for me! The food was not only eatable, but quite delicious!
I traveled to Indiana to spend time with my extended family on another Christmas. It was a reunion because we were connecting after many years of separation. My niece surprised her daughter when she went into a closet and brought out a bike. I won’t forget her daughter’s reaction. I think she did a sprint and a cart-wheel! Pure joy!
Years later, I was temping in downtown Chicago and was invited to an office party. It was held on the Mag Mile in Neiman Marcus, after the store was closed. There was a rich feast and a live band. I was all ‘gussied up’ and I wore my fur coat. Now, that was a sparkly night!
While temping for a law firm in Boston, I was invited to their Christmas party. It was held on the scenic Rowe’s Wharf. The food was good and we nibbled and mingled while the musicians played the night away. I had the perfect little red dress and it was an exquisite evening. Who said temps don’t have fun?
Another memorable Boston Christmas was celebrated at Legal Sea Foods in the heart of the city. I was with another company by that time, but I do remember that the ambience of the restaurant and the good company combined to make it a beautiful night. We enjoyed ourselves as we talked and ate heartily. It was a great way to share the joy of the season!
And lastly, there were the nine years that I spent working as a school librarian in Chicago. The details are too numerous, but the things that stand out during our Christmas celebrations are: the arts and crafts with glitter; the reading of ‘Twas the Night before Christmas; showing movies such as The Wiz, The Grinch Who Stole Christmas or The Nutcracker; giving and receiving countless gifts and most importantly, sharing oodles of hugs and love.
Those are the Christmases etched in my memory. I hope this Christmas will end up on the list of specials for all of us!
Lynn December 25, 2014