Good morning

At the risk of being pedestrian. Or maybe a little ‘Tuesday’…




Though for the animals down here on the farm.


Christmas Day is like any other day.

And any other day is All About the Food.

pigs and cabbages

I wanted to say something deep and meaningful about Christmas. But when I look deeply I really have not so much to say.  Christmas like the Tooth Fairy and The Easter Rabbit is for children and their people. And bless their shiny faced smiles I want them to have wonderful christmas’ses.  But then we, as adults, grown up and without the children anymore spend so much time trying to recapture that innocent child-like delight.  And though we are all grown up – it is still there: that child-like delight at a wonderful surprise. Or simply a gentle day without the bother of having to keep anyone else happy but yourself.  I love those kinds of days.

I hope you have a lovely and delightful day.  Alone or with others. (Personally I prefer alone no-one bothers you on Christmas day).

And thank you. Honestly,  you are good and kind.  Thank you.  Thank you for allowing my animals and I to be a part of your Christmas Day.

As a special treat I am wondering if you would like to share with me/us -any  Members of the Fellowship, who like me are not swamped in family and would love the distraction – an early Christmas memory.  Maybe even your first precious Christmas memory. I will add mine into the Lounge of Comments after some thinking –  (around FIFTY – SIXTY words? is that enough?).

Like many of our posts – the real reading is in the Lounge of Comments.

Love, love,





76 Comments on “Good morning

  1. Today is my Birthday. Christmas is the pits for a Birthday, ask Jesus! I was born into a wonderful family. I had two older sisters, who watched out for their little “demon” brother. My first memory was our family going to Dayton’s in down town Minneapolis to visit Santa. After I sat on Santa’s lap, his helpers gave me a waxed bottle of some sort of sweet juice inside. Well, how was I to know that one was not to bite off both ends? My Mother tried to get the stain out of my Christmas clothes, so we could continue our Christmas shopping. Thank you for letting us share our first memories. Kiss Sheila for me. I absolutely love pigs.

  2. I remember being taken to a church service when I was very little. There was a knocking on the door. All the children were hushed, and in came St. Nicholas.

    I was brought up with the tradition of St. Nicholas on December 6th and Mother Christmas on Christmas Eve night — Santa didn’t feature in my childhood Christmases.

    Merry Christmas!

  3. It’s all about the food for me – I love cooking the goose and flash frying the (chef’s perk) liver.
    We has a ginger cat, not surprisingly called Ginger, when I was little. He used to knock the glass baubles (and they were real glass back then) off the tree and eat them. He never suffered any ill effects, though we did take them away from him if caught in time. …and of course he was banned from the room with the tree 😉
    Merry Christmas Cecilia 🙂

  4. I hope your Christmas Day was all you wanted it to be. My favourite memory of Christmas was the year, I must have been about 10, when we received coolite surfboards for Christmas. We all rushed off to the beach and stayed there most of the day. We came home with board rash all over our tummies, but were back the next day to do it all again.

  5. Long ago my dad and I had a horse each. I used to cut up christmas wrapping paper into streamers and weave into mane and tail. We then set off for a good gallop. Now Christmas is one long slog – we try to ignore it!

  6. We had our quiet Christmas alone, just he and me. And a little while before sunset we drove to Honeymoon Gap and I took lovely photos of trees. May you and our John and the animals have a peaceful day. xx

    • I used to love going out to Honeymoon Gap when I lived in Alice….a group of us would go on full moon nights and boil tea in a billy and chant and sing. A wonderful way to spend Christmas.

  7. And a very good morning to you!
    Our Christmas stockings, when I was a child, were filled with fruits and nuts with just a couple of small treasures. There was always always always a fabulously red BCDelicious apple in the toe and a real tangerine in the heel. In those days these special treats were only available at Christmastime and they were treasures of a different sort. My earliest memories of Christmas are always of the excitement of the stocking… even though we knew ahead of time what the bulk was going to be… lol And the candy, of course, ribbon candy and spiced hard candies… the sort of thing you only get at Christmastime.
    These days I am closer to your way of thinking… Christmas is just so darned much work! Putting up the tree takes a couple of hours… and then, just a couple of weeks later, all the *stuff* (an acceptable word in print) has to be taken down and gently wrapped so it stays unbroken… and the clean-up seems never-ending. I just don’t do it anymore; I let my kids do that chore and enjoy their tree, and all the other seasonal decor. I do have a belief in the spiritual meaning of Christmas, though, and so I take heart in that.
    I do hope you have a lovely day, Miss C., and that, in your phone calls, you find your family all well and happy and looking forward to your visit that is quickly approaching! ~ Mame 🙂

  8. My English childhood Christmases were a bit different from most; Christmas Eve was for the Christmas story, read by my father from the Bible, then putting the baby in the manger in our nativity scene, and then to bed for a few hours before our parents got us up for Midnight Mass. We’d had the ‘proper’ presents for St Nicholas on 6th (because my mother was Dutch, and that’s how she was brought up), but we got a little something else because all the other children did. I can remember going with my parents as a very small child to deliver presents to all their friends on Christmas Eve, and seeing deer and rabbits in the headlights of the car, the dark and frosty landscape, and then the bright, welcoming doorways of our friends’ houses, the good smells of Christmas pouring out, the sound of carols on the radio. Now, I live a very different Christmas in tropical north Australia, but Christmas Eve is still my favourite part of the season. Dear Celi, may you have the Christmas you wish for, even if that is a non-celebration of the day. We each have the Christmases we need. I still need Midnight Mass, visiting friends, and the sound of carols on the radio…

  9. When my boys were probably 7 and 10, they decided to sleep in the living room so they could see Santa come down the chimney. My husband and I took turns wrapping in the bedroom (one had to be the lookout.) When they fell asleep, we tiptoed in with some presents. One of the boys moved and my husband dove behind the couch and I dove behind the chair. We didn’t get caught, but seeing our cat-like reflexes started one of those silent laughing moments. Hubby would peek around the couch to see if the coast was clear and seeing his face would start my laughing fits which would start his laughing fits. We finally got all the gifts under the tree but I don’t remember ever laughing that hard since.

  10. My Grandfather always got up very early in the morning when he and my grandmother stayed over at our farm. When I was around 5 or 6 I begged to sleep with him on Christmas Eve. After he went to sleep ( or so I thought) I tied a string from his toe to mine thinking he would wake me up early and I could peek at what Santa had brought (before my 2 older sisters). You all know how this story ends. Lol. The string was untied and I slept way past dawn. I was mad at my Grandpa all Christmas day! 😊

  11. Hey, hey, it started raining during the night 🙂 I had my shower outside this morning. The two (ginger) cats have been taking all telephonic complaints – denying any knowledge or relationship with me, the dog is in her kennel with a menstrual migraine, paws over her eyes 🙂 My childhood christmasses were wonderful with all the trimmings and too much food and lots of surprises opened early on Christmas morning. I agree it takes a child or two to make the day special. I have just made a large pot of coffee and have opened a packet of Woollies mince pies, my only concession, alone in my Christmas free zone. Laura

  12. Now that we’re empty-nesters Christmas morning is quiet and mellow. I slept in an extra hour this morning (my gift to myself). Even though the animals aren’t aware that it’s a holiday, I give them treats. Because, why not?
    Wishing you a pleasant Christmas day!

  13. Oops! I think my ‘story’ comment is in the spam bucket… I hope the pigs do not eat it. I put a link in it to a p-ost on my blog.

  14. Today is about survival. My son is deployed to the middle east and is greatly missed. But he is alive and safe and that is the best gift of all. One year when he was almost 7 he started crying because he felt we had too many gifts under the tree. He said, “We have too much”. When I asked him how we should fix this he said he wanted to be Santa for kids who didn’t have as much as we did. It was profound and humbling. We went shopping the next day and both my kids picked out toys to be dropped off for Toys for Tots. He has a deep soul, that boy of mine.

  15. I was 6 the year I began to believe in Santa Claus. We had no money for a tree, in another new state (military family) and just the 4 of us set off in the dark to see if we could find a tree small enough for dad to cut down himself in the woods. He gave it his all but no trees could be cut down with a pocket knife. As mom carried my baby sister into the dark porch then into front door with dad leading the way, I saw a shadow. Scared me at first. Then I asked my parents if they saw it. Finally turning on a light, we all discovered a lovely small tree standing there. I knew Santa had left if for us. I even had a gift that year that was under the tree on Christmas morning. There were no ornaments as the neighbors brought us a nice fat chicken for Christmas dinner. I learned the true meaning of Christmas that year. That there is goodness in a hard world.

  16. Two favorite Christmas memories, both involving my two grandmothers. One always baked and although she would not often visit on Christmas, she would send cookies. It wasn’t the holiday season until Grandma’s tin arrived with the crunchy noodle/chocolate drops, the chocolate chip cookies, and the pinwheels…my favorite. My other Grandma, who almost always spent Christmas with us, would save her pennies all year and then present them to me for Christmas. I seriously believed I was the richest 6-7-8 year old on this earth, getting so much money each year.

  17. So pleased to hear from you. We have been hearing dreadful tales about the tornados and after you writing about your neighbours barn i was so worried…so i assume you are ok? To me christmas is not the glitter and lights ,presents or turkeys its about the the love which each of us should show to others. Its the. anniversary of Jesus birth. He shows love and care all over the world to the sick and homeless,the depressed and lonely. Love thy neighbour is what i am told so i do..with all my heart.

    Stay safe Miss C….stay safe xxxx On 25 Dec 2015 13:08, “thekitchensgarden” wrote: > > Cecilia Mary Gunther posted: “At the risk of being pedestrian. Or maybe a little ‘Tuesday’… MERRY CHRISTMAS. Though for the animals down here on the farm. Christmas Day is like any other day. And any other day is All About the Food. I wanted to say som” >

  18. My wish is for Daisy deer to show up this morning so I can run off to the woods with her. I woke up with a black cloud hanging over me and a pair of horns on my head. But, as I read all of these wonderful memories – thoughtful, funny and humbling, I know that there is goodness in all of our stories. I am thankful for the Fellowship and this cup of coffee. It is my favorite place to sit for a while and feel the love. 🙂

  19. Blessings on you Celi. Merry Christmas to you and all of yours ; ) Each morning with coffee I look forward to the farmy post. All the funny antics of your ‘children’ . I love Boo.
    Christmas is about so much more than Santa for me. It’s. A time for reflection on all that God has done. I gather with family and together we celebrate His faithfulness. We will be 16 people around the table today. Two new grand babes joined our family this year.
    My earliest memories are of the stockings. Digging down and feeling around for the treats. My adult children still love their stockings and this year I filled 14 of them. Each one contains something handmade as well as the usual candies etc. I better get going. Christmas is here.
    Blessings on you Celi. Hugs from Canada

  20. We are the luckiest I think… You and I. To have The Fellowship of the Farmy. I am now off to see my Christmas movie (my own tradition that John has joined me in) and when I come back I shall read more of these fantastic stories and add mine.. The Fellowship is a wonderful place to be! Merry Christmas.. c

  21. I remember the excitement of the Christmas stocking. The tangerine and Brazil nuts and the little toy that was hidden in there. Sometimes there was foil wrapped chocolate! I remember tobogganing in the moonlight and having hot chocolate out of a thermos. The snow glistened and our family hooted and hollered in the cold crisp air. Then coming inside and Mom hanging your mittens by the stove to dry.

  22. I wish I knew how to send Garrison Keillor’s recent essay on his Christmas memories. It was in the .chicago Tribune this past week. A both hilarious and touching account of his childhood Christmases.

  23. In Germany Christmas Eve is the big event. When we came home from church our tree was lit with real candles and we got to open our presents after we ate dinner. We sang Christmas carols and told stories.

  24. When I was 7 my Dad had been stationed in Germany and we were in NJ waiting for our transport. By the time we (my Mom, my sister and myself) were able to join him, we had been separated 3 months and it was just days before Christmas. We were very excited to have Christmas together in this new place but by the time we got to the PX (post exchange is a general store on base) the only decorations were all pink and the only trees were heavily flocked. It was a truly ugly little tree but the best tree I have ever had and our best Christmas ever. We were together!

  25. I have tried for years to block Christmas memories, hoping instead to plant new ones based on the old faith that perhaps inspired all these family rituals–but instead I keep waking up, like another guest, with a dark cloud and horns on my head. And that is why I feel blessed to be able to visit, Miss C. There is a freshness, gentle humor, and warmth in your words along with an openness about your experiences of life. Everything here blows to smithereens–just like the wind did that old barn– my tendency towards a darker view of the world and a focus on my own struggles with faith and hope. Love is clearly present here in your posts and in the lounge. I am grateful, and wish I could meet everyone of your international farmy family for a cheery afternoon meal with toasts and stories while the animals listen and smile.

  26. We moved to this farm from the city when I was 8. That first Christmas, my Mum and I decorated every stall in the barn – the two little calves, the two horses (we were boarding for others), the 2 pigs, the six steers, and also the chicken house. Fir boughs, holly and red ribbon swags on every door. The barn was and is decripit and dusty but it looked beautiful that night. We went to church after supper, and then us kids went to bed. Later my parents woke us up and took us to the barn. With flashlights we tiptoed in, speakign in gentle voices so that the animals knew we were there but wouldn’t be disturbed. We sat on a couple of hay bales and my Dad retold us the Nativity story, which had special meaning as we imagined Mary and Joseph and their baby in just such a place as this. Dad also told us that there was a legend that said that the animals could speak at midnight, a special gift because they had been the first to bend their knees to Jesus. We were still as mice, straining our ears to hear what we could not imagine. I only heard rustling and a bit of munching, the breathing and snuffling of the pigs who were closest to where we sat. No speech that I understood. But who knows?

  27. I have many happy memories from childhood Christmases, too many to know where to start. So I’ll just share that once I grew up, my Mother told me that she would slip a little bit of Valium into our post-midnight cocoa after the Christmas Eve service at Duke Chapel, to ensure that we slept. I still usually woke up around 6 and peeked through the keyhole into the living room to see the tree glowing with joy. Merry Christmas, miss c, our John, farmy residents, and fellowship.

  28. I was born into big families on both my mother’s and father’s sides. They grew up in a small village in northern Ontario. At Christmas we would gather at one or the other grandparents’ homes … and then spend the entire day running and playing with cousins from both families. My mom’s childhood home had a narrow staircase with very well worn steps painted with slippery grey paint. We would come single file down those stairs to find what was under the Christmas tree. There was a tale in those days that Santa left potatoes for children who were on the naughty list… The first thing I noticed was a label peeking out of my stocking with the word ‘Potato’ on it. I was mortified – likely KNEW I SHOULD be on that naughty list … and hid on the stairway for a long time before some kind aunt showed me it was a ‘Mr. Potato Head’ toy!

  29. I remember that I was often sick at Christmas. There are pictures, year after year, of me by the tree in my pjs, looking pale and red-eyed. I had asthma and it seemed to like holidays to make appearances. The Christmas I remember most was the year my parents were low on money. It must have been in the late 60s after they’d bought our new house. Money was tight and we were pulling ourselves along on two professors’ salaries. We were told not to expect much. And so we didn’t. But when we got up at 4 a.m. and went to the tree, there were many more presents than usual. It was a bounty. As an adult, remembering those gifts, including a plastic crossbow with “suction”-tipped arrows that we shot all over the house, I realize that they were all cheap gifts, but that my parents had wanted it to feel Christmassy. We didn’t want iPhones and iPads, so for us all those cheap plastic toys were heaven. I think of that Christmas often. It was quintessential childhood.

  30. My favorite Christmas memory actually took place in July. When I was 4 1/2 we took a family camping trip to Colorado where I met the real Santa at his summer residence. He told me he was tired of all the milk and cookies and preferred popcorn and rootbeer. So in our home, Santa got a big ol’ bowl of popcorn and a bottle of rootbeer every Christmas eve.

  31. I remember edging up the narrow church basement stairs, crammed tight against friends dressed in their Christmas best. We would round the corner and ascend a few more steps into the sanctuary as we sang “Oh, Come All Ye Faithful.” Such joy. Singing Christmas hymns in church on Christmas Eve remains one of my favorite parts of Christmas. And then, after the service, we practically ran down the aisle, pausing only long enough to receive a goodie bag brimming with peanuts, an apple, an orange, ribbon candy and a Hershey bar. Oh, blessed and cherished memories.

    Merry Christmas, Miss C!

  32. Mine is about music, I can’t have been more than seven or eight. We had just moved from a small to an even smaller Dutch village, knew nothing and nobody there, had no idea about local traditions. Christmas in this part of the world is [or at least used to be] not about presents – that is St Nicholas’ job on the 5th – but all about family dinner, playing games, and quality time in general. What I remember from that night after our lovely dinner is half-waking up in the dead of night because in the half-distance voices were singing ‘Gloria in excelsis Deo’. Had I died and gone to heaven? No, I was warm and comfy in my bed – it was part of the local church choir, who after Night Mass had a long-standing tradition of going round the village singing a few carols on every street corner. So beautiful and unreal in the silence of that night.
    Happy Christmas from a long-standing (but usually silent) reader, everybody two- and four-legged.

  33. I guess one of my “stuck in the memory bank memories” is how I spent the first hour of Christmas as a child. I am the oldest of six and I always would wake up before anyone else-
    I got into the habit of tip toeing down the stairs and would turn on the Christmas tree lights and just sit and look at the tree and all the wrapped gifts that lord knows where my parents hid them! After a bit I would turn out the lights tip toe back up to my room and wait. I still do that – it is my moment of reflection and anticipation. Different now of course as all our kids are scattered across the country along with my siblings. Have a lovely day! Give Boo a big hug and pat for me!

  34. Happy Boxing Day Miss, I’m surprised because I had a great day yesterday and I usually am a Grinch about Christmas. I spent each meal of the day with good friends, old and new and my boy, skyped with my daughter, and sat on the river bank backyard of what will become my new home with a couple of friends and for anyone who wanted to go for a sunset walk and join us eating pavlova……quite a few turned up and we watched the full rise. It was magical. My first memory of Christmas I was about 3, and woke to hear my mum and grandma talking quietly and the rustling of paper… I got out of bed to peek. I saw my grandmother holding the beautiful walking doll I had dreamed of having ready to wrap her. I snuck back to bed feeling excited and happy that the doll was to be mine, but aware I’d spoilt my surprise. I called her Joanne. I passed that doll to my daughter and then my granddaughters played with her, I think she’s still good enough to now go to my g-grandaughter.

  35. I have so many favorite Christmas memories. Today is the day I trot them all out like a long parade of magic. When I was three, I was supposed to be sleeping, but I could never sleep on Christmas eve. I was too excited. I was just about to drift off. It was very late, maybe two in the morning. Or 9pm. I was three. Anything after 8 seemed like the middle of the night. Anyway, I was slowly falling asleep when BOOM! I heard and felt a thump on the roof. To this day, there is no explanation for the jarring thud. I tried my best to go to sleep after that because Santa KNOWS when you’re sleeping AND when you’re awake. But it was futile. He did leave me lovely presents. That was the year of the Baby That-a-way. Batteries included. Santa was always thoughtful enough to remember the batteries.

  36. Me earliest Christmas memory is when I was 3 and my sister was 1. We were at Grandma’s house wearing matching fluffy Christmas dresses. I snatched a jack-in-the-box from my adorable baby sister and made her cry. Somewhere on this planet is a picture of me playing with the jack-in-the-box without a care in the world next to my sister’s wide-mouthed, red-faced sob. My favorite memories, though, are Christmas Eves at my Oma’s house:

  37. In Prague, we celebrated on the 24th evening. We children would help my grandmother in the kitchen because we were not allowed into the living room. Then, when supper was ready, the living room doors were opened to reveal a shining, glass ornament filled Christmas tree with real candles illuminating it. I don’t think there was a more magical sight ever. 😀

  38. My Christmas memories are all about family and food. I am an only child of older parents, so spending Christmas and Thanksgiving in Brooklyn at a home where a number of my father’s sisters lived, was magical (he came from a big Italian family). All the cousins and the aunties and a few uncles (although not so many by then), everyone pitching in and cooking on multiple floors. They always sent a few of us kids down the block to the bakery shop to buy the pastries and bread. We stood in long lines and ogled everyone and everything around us. The food and laughter never ended. Most of us kids slept on the floor in one aunt’s apartment, and we whispered and giggled until late. We still enjoy the holiday with our boys and our grandchildren, but that was something special back in the early to mid ’60s!

  39. Hi! I’m Sunny – long time reader, but new to the lounge – Hubby Bill just had a triple bypass, so our Christmas is very quiet – usually is – except for phone calls as the rest of our family is out of state and/or busy with their own families. Fine by us! We live on a small acreage with about 10 chickens and 2 kitties. My fondest recollection of Christmas was the year mom had dad throw the breaker switch – dinner had already been cooked, it was twilight, the huge fireplace going great guns, mom lit the kerosene lamps a (‘power outage due to the weather’) and after supper, she lit the candles on the tree (a no-no now) played carols on the piano while we sang in various off-key kid’s voices. and had a truly old-fashioned Christmas in 1952!

  40. Hi! Sunny here…long-time reader, but new to the Lounge. Wrote a paragraph on our family’s old fashioned Christmas (1800’s style celebrated in 1952). Guess I did things backwards, as it didn’t show up. Anyway, my hubby and I are celebrating quietly on our small farm in the mountains just south of Yosemite Nat;l Park. Merry Christmas to you al!

  41. I have so many Christmas memories from when I was growing up, but with 6 kids in the family, what I remember most is the piles and piles of wrapping paper and we’d put it all in one big pile then leap into it and throw it around and make an even bigger mess! My recent funniest memory is when my mother bought my boyfriend (now my hubby) a tie for Christmas about 20 years ago. Back then we had a woodstove in our house, and burned up all the wrapping paper in it. After all was said and done, we discovered my husband accidentally burned up the tie! We still laugh about it this day. I don’t think I ever did tell my mother about that.

  42. Second time here today, but I have to say that this was the best way to spend a quiet Christmas day – reading all of the fellowship stories and memories. Thank you MIss C, for the suggestion. Once more you seem to have a mysterious way of knowing what will touch even the grouchiest – or most cantankerous of us in the farmy collective. Best wishes to everyone.

  43. I have had innumerable lovely Christmases in my life, from quiet spousal-partners-only days of walking in the park, cooking midday dinner together, and drowsing happily at home like today to the full-on extravaganzas that went on for days and weeks when I was young. I loved the chaos and sparkle of those times, too: the reconnection with friends and loved ones, the beautifully decorated world around me exciting a sense of the exotic and magical, and the spectacular meals and treats, made by all of the grownups and some of the kids in our extended family of 40-ish members and eaten with great relish and no pause from about my birthday on the 12th of December to sometime just after the New Year had begun.

    But, then and now, I know that what I loved most and will always love is the revisited awareness of how rich I am in good company and in a happy, contented, peaceful life. And I can wish nothing greater for others, however that can be devised and enjoyed.

    So I wish it with all of my heart to all of the Fellowship, to the darling Miss C who brings us all together, and to the world at large, no matter whether they name it Christmas or not.

  44. Having been born in Northern Europe our family celebrations also took place on Christmas Eve . . Christmas Day lunch was for ‘important’ guests and Boxing Day called ‘Second Christmas Day’ was for ‘less important invitations’ – one knew where one was on anyone’s scale. Methinks I was about four when I committed a cardinal sin! Dad traditionally bought Mom a white blooming lilac in a pot reaching half-way up to the ceiling: quite something in the middle of a cold and dark winter . . . . I would sit on the floor admiring it for hours I think. Well, one of my parents’ very good friends decided on an impromptu Xmas Day lunch party that year to celebrate the lady’s birthday . . . children invited also. Mom and Dad wondered what on earth to take along as a present it being a holiday and quite amicably decided to make a ‘splash’ . . . called a horse-drawn carriage and had Mom’s tree taken to the lady. Except it WAS Mom’s tree to my way of thinking and it was SO unfair . . . so as we walked into this large gathering and the lady hugged and kissed both parents for the wonderful present. guess who piped up loud and clear ‘You have no right to that tree. It belongs to my Mom. It was Daddy’s present to her and you are a nasty, nasty lady to accept it . . . .’ Oops’a’daisy! Red faces all around and a very red spanked bottom on a little girl when we got home . . .

  45. When I was a child we lived in a big, old Victorian house with two stair cases, front and back. On Christmas day my mother’s sister and brother and their families would come over and sometimes my father’s brother and his family would too. My maternal grandmother lived with us and her sister would come as well. There was the insanity of the cousins all about nine months apart spread amongst three families, opening gifts, running up one set of stairs and down the other until the adults had enough and told us to go run around outside. The big dinner, with everyone around the table in the dining room, tabel laden with food, ahd the babble of all the voices. Then after everyone left and things had been cleaned up, food put away and my supposedly put to bed. I’d very quietly slip down the back stairs, through the kitchen and into the living room to just sit with the tree after my parents and grandmother were asleep. The last few embers in the fireplace, the bricks still warm, the tinsel gently waving on the tree, the quiet and peace after all the hubbub of the day. Then I’d slip back up to my bed and sleep.

  46. Am loving reading all these memories. When I was little but old enough to stay up late, we’d go to Midnight Mass with my parents and grandparents and my godmother and her daughters who lived next door. The service started with the Baby Jesus being placed into the manger which I found so magical and important. We’d walk home and have mince pies and panettone with hot milky drinks (I think the grown ups had something stronger!) and put our own Baby Jesus into the crib then off to bed. Then waking up in the morning with the weight of a stocking on our feet and savouring it for a few moments before carefully taking each little item out (it was never anything expensive) but it was so exciting and there was always a tangerine and some nuts at the bottom. Happy memories!

  47. I’m having a hard time remembering much from my childhood days. I have vague recollections of stockings and running down the stairs with my younger brother to tear through gifts. I think my dad would make breakfast afterwards. But now that my brother and I are adults, and my dad has passed away, gift opening is a much quieter affair. My little family – mom, my brother and his wife, and me – opened gifts on Christmas Eve, and now we take turns. One by one, we go in a circle. Quite civilized. Then today, I joined a friend’s family for a large supper, accented by an 18 month old and a 4 year old, who orbited us, exhibiting gifts, asking us to “come see,” and were generally cherubic. Somehow I almost prefer now.

  48. Merry Christmas Celi!! I agree with your thoughts on Christmas!! I miss the old days when my children were young but enjoy the peacefulness of the holiday now. xo

  49. One year, we had let the pet parakeets out of their cage to fly about a bit. My parents weren’t too happy, but my brother and I argued that the birds needed exercise. They made us catch the birds and put them back. Rainbow was easy enough to find and catch, but we looked everywhere for Meaty with no luck. Finally, it was time for dinner so we gave up the hunt and sat down to eat. Within the first few bites, there went the cat, Navy, straight up the Christmas tree to get Meaty (who had been doing her best impression of a Christmas ornament.) No one was injured (not even the tree.)

  50. Wonderful reading everyone’s Christmas stories. Each year on Christmas Eve I play carols and sing along -badly- while I prepare festive food and replay my family Christmas memories. For the past few years our Christmases have been about making sure our older family members have Christmas Day but next year we’re looking forward to spending it with my family and our new niece, a new generation of memories 🙂

  51. Ok, I gave it a try too now to pass you my story. It’s not a spectacular one. As a kid we had Christmas quite the way like Kate and Gerlinde described it: Main part on 24th of December with a beautiful decorated tree lit with real candles and the nativity scene in front of the tree, singing christmas carols, unpacking gifts and playing peacefully with our new toys and later, being older, having a long way through deep fresh fallen snow to get to our midnight mass. Beautiful. I must admit my parents having not that much money did their very best to please their five little children on christmas eve. I’m deeply grateful for that. They must have loved us so much. –
    My first Christmas I remember having been about three or four, my youngest sister had not been born yet. Our flat was small, there was no living room yet and the Christmas tree was built up in my parents’ bedroom, where the youngest – still a baby – slept too. We were not allowed to enter that room yet. Though my father went in for a while and came back out again quickly trying to close the door again – and me in that minimal time slot, curious as I was, caught a glance through the door: And there I saw my first and only wonder in my life: A tree sparkling over and over with lights so bright and beautiful that I felt it must be heaven. At the very same time I noticed a move at the open bedroom window – there was an Angel just leaving through that window! I was crying out loud! I saw the Angel! His beautiful dress, his wings. That very Angel must have lit up the tree to change it into magic. Flying out of the window like a bird. I was totally excited about that. For a long long time I firmly believed that there has been an Angel in that special night that only I had noticed. Today I know it was the opened door that in turn had caused an airflow that moved the open bedroom window mirrowing the sparkling tree in it. That must have been my Angel…

  52. A note I sent to my cousins a few years ago – It’s of my memories of my Mother’s family. Mom is fighting cancer now – and she and one Aunt remain of their generation….. Enjoy.

    My Christmas Memories – a random collection of Arnold family memories
    My earliest memories of Christmas begin at my Nannie’s house in Commerce Texas.
    The home had two side -> one was a bed room and the closed in back porch that had two beds. It was where my grandmother slept. She liked being able to lay in the bed and see out the window through the iron bed frame each morning. The other side of the house was the living room in the front and a big kitchen in the back. The KITCHEN was where all the FUN happened. There was a HUGE table in the middle. Very few cabinets, a stove, sink, refrigerator and water cooler A/C in the corner for the hot summer. Nannie LOVED the color Yellow so it was bright and cheerful. One light hung from the center of the ceiling – not much light at night, but the warmth of the laughter and food made it the brightest memory of my youth.

    We all gathered in this small home each Christmas Eve. Mom, Dad and I would head down to Commerce when Dad got off work. I couldn’t wait to get there. My Aunt Bet would always be there waiting with Nannie. Uncle Fred and the boys (Bobby Tom and Larry) would come down after we arrived. They lived in the little pink house up on the corner of Hickory. The hugs from Aunt Bet and Nannie were the best. Almost suffocating, but they were the best ever. Uncle Fred would always ask how school was going and what I had learned since we were last there.

    Nannie’s tree was always fascinating! It would be an old cedar tree that Aunt Bet, Uncle Fred, the boys and Nannie would go cut down out in the country. She had the BIG lights on it (we call them C-9’s now and fear they will burn our house down if we use them or bankrupt us from the electricity bill) but they were multi-colored and so beautiful. She had fancy birds with red or yellow or white feathers. Little lanterns that had aluminum pieces that when got warm would spin. These ornaments were hung right above the one of the C-9’s and would reflect the light. I remember them so vividly! There were also the traditional balls and tear drop shapes. All glass and all purchased at the five-and-dime probably. But to a young girl, they could have come from Tiffany’s they were so special.

    As Christmas Eve grew late, we would all go into the kitchen. The adults were always drinking coffee and telling stories. For me, I was anxiously waiting on the Shepherd family to arrive because Nan Shepherd had her Christmas gathering on Christmas Eve too. So all the ‘kissing’ cousins that were the children of Uncle Jack and Aunt Helen and Uncle Tommy and Aunt Mille got to enjoy not one but TWO gatherings each Christmas Eve. But once Uncle Tommy, Aunt Millie, Tammie, Davey, Les, Chris, Shana, Kurt, Jackie, Anna Beth, Barry and Stevie all arrive – now that was when all the fun started.
    Uncle Tommy was always so sweet and asked how my dog/cat or pet of the time was. He also inquired about school or my doll. Aunt Millie would give me one of her wonderful hugs and call me “Baby” or “Sweetie”. I will forever remember how good she would always smell.

    Jackie and Les – the pranksters and noisy ones of the bunch – would always get Aunt Bet to laughing and might call Nannie “Opossum” -> then they would hug my mom and then Dad would give them handshakes…. And it was always “who can” shake hands the hardest contest with these three…. The kitchen would be SO loud for the rest of the evening.

    Tammie, Anna Beth, and Chris would find a place to lean – for there were NEVER enough chairs for everyone in the kitchen. I would end up in the living room with Barry, Shana, Kurt and Davey, all of us “EYEING” the HUGE pile of gifts that took up ½ the living room floor.
    It was magical! Every minute!

    In later years, after Aunt Bet and Uncle Fred moved next door to Nannie’s house -> our Christmas party moved to their home. We were blessed to have a few more additions. Larry and Anne had Corey. Bob married Mary – who gave us Amy and Beth. Then Larry married Tina. And while the cast of characters ebbed and flowed, they were all family and loved dearly. Now so many of the kids of the grand kids are married with children of their own, we are now a much larger family that would make Nannie so happy.

    That was many years ago…. But yet the images in my mind are as clear as they happened this morning.

  53. Here’s a post I’ll have to bookmark and come back to read the memories shared.

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