Saturday, December 24, 2022

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)  I wrote about my Santa Claus memories last week in Saturday Night Genealogy Fun -- Your Santa Claus Memories, so I won't repeat them here.

b)  We always had a Christmas tree in the living room of our apartment on 30th Street.  It was either in front of the southwest facing window or in the "cubbyhole" above the front stairs so that the lighted tree could be seen by passersby.  The tree was usually flocked in white.  My mother, being an artist, decorated it beautifully with a variety of ornaments, including angels and nativity scenes.  

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 both 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 the walls.

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 clothes, toys or 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 my father's 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 (hey, they needed one!).

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 of the house 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 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,  bigger and better angels for her.  

Then our daughters came along in 1974 and 1976, and we had more fun putting gifts together (the garage is cold in December!).  We had a cut Douglas fir Christmas tree and Linda and the girls excelled at decorating it; my job was to put the lights on and make them work.  

We took turns each year staying home (and seeing my parents and brothers, usually at my parents house) or visiting Linda's parents and her brother Paul in the Bay area at Christmas.  We usually drove to San Francisco and back over the holidays, often doing some sightseeing in San Francisco, Monterey or Yosemite on the way home.  I remember that we had a great snowball fight one year at Glacier Point.  We also had a snowball fight in King City on Highway 101 in about 1988.  We took some photos on film, but I think they are still in a big box in the garage.  

h)  After our girls moved out of the house in the 1990s, got married, and grandchildren came along in the 2003-2014 time frame, we took turns visiting them in their homes or they visited us in our home.  This was even more fun for us, and Linda loved buying gifts for the grandkids.  We have many digital photos over the years.


Copyright (c) 2022, Randall J. Seaver

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Lisa S. Gorrell said...

I started to write about getting Christmas trees and realized we had the same theme last year and guess what I wrote about?

Linda Stufflebean said...

Here's mine, a day late, but done: