RevGals Friday Five: Christmases Past

Jan over at RevGals offers a Friday Five opportunity to reflect on Christmases past by asking us to share five Christmas memories.

1. When I was a little girl I remember falling asleep to Christmas music. My mother would send me and my three brothers to bed, then she would load up the hifi (as we called it) with records of Christmas music. We had a classic record of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, which remains one of my favorite Christmas records. She also had a record of the “classics” Burl Ives, Bobby Helms, someone singing “I saw mommy kissing Santa Claus” and someone else singing “Suzy Snowflake”…

2. While we kids were falling asleep, and with those records playing, my mother would bake cookies and fruit breads. So I also fell asleep to the fragrance of delicious food.

3. So Christmas memories for me are sensory – sounds, smells, visual – the twinkling lights from the Christmas tree reflecting into my room…I still love to sit in a room lighted only by the Christmas tree (and a fire if I have a fireplace) and sip a cup of tea while listening to Christmas music.

4. Then there’s the year my son was a baby, seven months old, and our daughter was four. Both my kids had chicken pox during the month of December. My daughter had a mild case, first, and then our son got a bad case a little later – high fevers, lots of discomfort, lots of worry. We spent the entire month indoors. Then on Dec. 23 my son was well enough to go outside so I did all of my Christmas shopping in one day, with two kids in tow (including buying their gifts – imagine how sneaky I was). We have photos of that Christmas, really cute ones of my kids sharing some Christmas treat, the baby still showing remnants of the pox. (These were the days before the chicken pox vaccine and before on-line shopping, well even before the Internet).

5. When my husband and I married I enter a family that hosted Christmas Day marathons. Lots of people, lots of kids, all gathered at “Busha’s” for a day of feasting and gifting. We were there from early afternoon until late at night. The food was always delicious, especially her homemade cookies. She made so many cookies and we all went home with a box of cookies, several fruit breads, and bag of Cheerios mix (baked with seasonings, pretzels, cheerios, and nuts…still a favorite of my son and husband).


About Terri C Pilarski

I am an Episcopal priest serving a delightfully progressive, interesting, creative congregation. I have been married more than half my life to the same man. We have two grown children, plus two dogs and two cats, although the number of four legged household members changes from time to time. I love to garden, knit, read, and play on Facebook or with my blog. I have been a practitioner of daily meditation since I was nineteen. I practice yoga five days a week and walk every where I am able too.
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14 Responses to RevGals Friday Five: Christmases Past

  1. Gannet Girl says:

    Hi-fis! Records! I learned The Holly and The Ivy from the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

  2. Great memories. I wonder what it was like growing up Mormon.Did you go on a mission amd wear funny underwear?

  3. Terri says:

    I was 14 when we left the church so I never wore the funny underwear (that was for grown-ups) – my parents did, though… and I never went on a mission. Girls rarely did when I was young, now they do, though. As a kid the church emphasized family and community and love…but also tried to teach me things about God that I just could not believe – like God would not let anyone in heaven unless they were Mormon….I just don't imagine a God that small.

  4. RevDrKate says:

    Great memories. Also just read the last post, can't believe those babies are 3! That was a wonderful memory, too.

  5. Jan says:

    I loved your memories. The chicken pox December brought back memories of the outbreak at our house with three small children; Ben, the breastfed infant, only got 9 pox, and I still worry that he will get shingles. It's funny how new Christmas songs are in vogue for awhile–like "I saw Mama Kissing Santa Claus." The new one from about ten years ago that I love is "Mary, did you know?" and I haven't heard it yet this holiday season.

  6. angela says:

    I remember loving Christmas music too–in fact a particular book with the music and the words made for children. Lots of great memories! I love those savory seasonings too and used to bake a version with raisins too.

  7. All great memories, but the one that resonated was the chicken pox — I'd almost forgotten that my son got it on Christmas Day when he was 2 1/2. By then we were in a different church and he'd spent Christmas Eve in the "cribbery" so I had to call all the other parents — who were very nice about it and I don't actually think any of their kids got the pox from him.

  8. hahaha I remember stacking records on the "hi fi" – thought that was so clever the way they would drop and you could play several records without getting up to change them. I had a goodyear compilation Christmas album – I still think the only people who should sing some songs are the artists on that album.

  9. Wendy says:

    I love your descriptions of the sensory memories of Christmas.And I'm grateful for internet shopping and chicken pox vaccines, though my daughter got them just in time for her first birthday just before she was vaccinated.

  10. river song says:

    sensory memories seems so appropriate for a Festival of Creation–and how fun to remember a hi-fi and records, too!

  11. SingingOwl says:

    My husband grew up Mormon too, leaving after he met me (I don't think my in laws ever quite forgave me, but it was not about ME, it was about thinking in new ways). Music and baked goods…oh boy!

  12. Terri says:

    I wonder if your husband and I attended the same church in Sun Prarie in the late 1960's…I was just 12 or 13 at the time…

  13. Diane says:

    I love your memories of music! now I'm thinking about Bing Crosby…and I love your sensory memories, the smells, etc.

  14. altar ego says:

    I hadn't thought about the sensory nature of this holiday, but it really is in ways that others are not. Wonderful memories, which stirred some of my own. Thank you for that!

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