Saturday, December 18, 2021

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun -- Your Most Vivid Memories of Christmas Time

 Calling all Genea-Musings Fans: 

 It's Saturday Night again - 

Time for some more Genealogy Fun!!

(Photo courtesy of footnoteMaven)

Come on, everybody, join in and accept the mission and execute it with precision. Here's your chance to sit on Genea-Santa's lap (virtually) and tell him your Christmas memories:

1) What are your most vivid memories of Christmas times past?  People, Church, Presents, Santa Claus, Shopping, whatever.

2) Tell us about them in your own blog post, in a comment on this post, or in a Facebook Status  post.  Please leave a link on this post if you write your own post.

Here's mine:

a)  My absolutely favorite memory of Christmas growing up is the anticipation of Santa Claus to come on Christmas morning.  After my grandparents built their Point Loma house, we spent Christmas Eve and Christmas Day at their house because they had a fireplace.  

Each year, from 1952 until about 1960, my brothers and I opened our gifts on Christmas morning, many of them marked "from Santa Claus."  There were the Davy Crockett hats and BB guns in 1954, the Flexible Flyers (sleds with wheels) in 1955, and the bicycles in 1956 that were the highlights of these years.  We had such fun on Christmas Day going outside and using our gifts on the sidewalks and streets (either uphill or downhill!).

The Point Loma house had a two car garage that my grandparents had filled with generations of stuff – it was a wonderful place to hide, explore and search. We found the bicycles in the garage before Christmas in 1956, but didn’t tell anybody else. Sure enough, on Christmas morning they appeared by the fireplace and Christmas tree marked “from Santa Claus.” Aha! So, now we knew, but being rather smart astronauts we didn’t tell the folks – why kill the golden goose?

b)  Along with the Santa memories are the sweet memory of singing Christmas carols with my dear grandmother in our beds on Christmas Eve.  it was a wonderful way to fall asleep, and is one of my most cherished memories of her (my eyes tear up every time I think of this! they just did again).  She was the only grandmother I had growing up, and was a wonderful Christian woman. who loved us so much.  

c)  The only relative of my father that we had in San Diego was his aunt Emily, and her daughter Dorothy, her husband Chuck, and their daughter Marcia.  Dorothy is my father's first cousin, and Marcia my second cousin.  They lived in a big two story house in Kensington with a fireplace.  The trip to their house was dreaded and anticipated – Dorothy was very non-traditional – she was an artist, a harpist, made her own tree ornaments, and cooked different dishes that we didn’t particularly like. This was also the only time we had to dress up in a shirt and tie. Emily fawned over us, and Chuck was gruff and ornery (in retrospect, a fun “uncle”).

The best part of the visit for us was playing in the backyard – they had a nice fish pond, some cats, and a big awning swing. We had great games of hide and seek there. They also subscribed to National Geographic, and I loved looking through them for pictures of naked women and to steal the maps. In retrospect, I think Chuck placed the really good issues on top where I could easily find them.  Then there was the upstairs bathroom with images of naked women on them.

d)  Another tradition that we really enjoyed during the 1950’s was the box of Christmas presents that arrived from the Seaver families in Leominster, Massachusetts. They were usually toys, board games for the boys and candy for the family, which we loved. These were sent without fail by our Grandmother Bessie (Richmond) Seaver (Emily’s sister), my father’s brother Ed (and wife Janet) Seaver and their sister Gerry Seaver.

e)  As I grew older, I realized that the true spirit of Christmas meant that I should also give presents to my family. It was easy buying toys and sports gear for my brothers but it was a struggle to find appropriate gifts for my mother and father. Sometimes Stan and I would go together to buy a gift for both of them - I remember one year we bought a new mailbox for them.

f)  During the fall and winter, we had the 'O' gauge Lionel train tracks set up through the living room and into our bedroom with many switches and crossovers. We (my dad, myself, my two brothers) would take turns trying to crash our trains into the other guy's train at high speed. The track layout was elaborate, but the decoration was nil. It was all about speed and crashes, and was competitive. For several years, our Christmas presents included new train track and boxcars and engines.

g)  After I moved out on my own in 1968, and married Linda in 1970, I now had someone else to do the hard work of shopping for the family, and she did it extremely well. We usually went to the 30th Street house for Christmas Eve dinner and gifts with Mom and Dad, brother Stan and Sheryl, brother Scott, Gram and Gramps. I usually shopped only for Linda – mainly nice clothes, fine jewelry and kitchen things. I always enjoyed this shopping – the giving part was more fun for me. Of course, once she started her angel collection, the challenge was finding new and better angels for her.


Copyright (c) 2021, Randall J. Seaver

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ByAPearl said...

Here is my Christmas memory.

Lisa S. Gorrell said...

Here is my memory of Christmas trees:

Kelly said...

"Christmas Expectations | Wheaton Wood"

Linda Stufflebean said...

Here's mine. I'm really, really late posting this, but have just about finished up my one-place study.