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My Childhood Christmas

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Posted 01-09-2010 at 07:09 PM by Sapsorrow

[I]I know that I'm posting a lot, and now that I know that means I'm automatically reposted on the Blogs board, I feel a bit self-conscious, but this is the Christmas of all Christmases to me and the pattern I'm working towards in my planning. That, after all, is the whole point of this blog, so I'd like it upfront and center to light my way!

[/I]While I don't remember what year it was, one Christmas we all went North to spend Christmas in my grandparents' big Victorian in a little village. It was a classic little village with a town green across the street from their house, a quaint main street and a fancy old restaurant (with a ghost of a lady who firmly believed in temperance) a few buildings down. There was deep snow on the ground and you could walk across the brook in the green (though not by the bridge where there was a waterfall, and consequently thin ice). When we walked in the front door, actually I was carried since we arrived in the evening, the house smelled of cinnamon coffee cake that was baking, pine, and a woodfire. We sat up late to talk, eat cake, and joke, before I was finally led dozing to the office where I would share the floor with an aunt. I still remember the stories she told me and the glow of the nightlight on the dark wood footboard.

The days we were there before Christmas were a whirl. I was ushered outside to play in the snow as soon as I'd had breakfast each morning, and consequently always had plenty of appetite for all the old fashioned food. As I recall, they were very forgiving of my mischief, like filling the fountain with water to create an ice skating rink. Every night there were baked goods, fires in the grate, and card or board games. I don't remember any formal caroling, but everyone seemed to be singing or humming a carol at all times.

Always there were the filmy curtains over the locked glass doors into the parlor. Sheer curtains covered the windows, too, so that all I could see from the porch was the sparkling outline of a Christmas tree. The adults, acting secretive, could come ad go freely, but my questions were answered with only a wink and a vague comment about Santa Claus.

I remember the night my Grandpop came home late, with all the other adults, from church. He was dressed as Santa and he peeked in on me since I was "sleeping." That may have been Christmas Eve, but I don't remember. What I do remember is tiptoeing past all the bedrooms late one night, sneaking down the front stairs and peeking into the forbidden parlor while the adults were watching something on TV in the living room on the other side of the curtained doors.

Christmas Day was bright and clear. I opened my stocking on the piano bench and Grandmom snuck me a cinnamon bun before breakfast was formally announced. I remember those doors opening on a glittering tinseled tree with piles of bright presents underneath, though the only gift I remember getting was a quilted blue flannel robe that I wouldn't take off all day, even though I was soon hairy with tinsel.

There may have been unpleasant things that happened that Christmas, but I don't recall any. I guess childhood whitewashes, or maybe there simply were a few days where people didn't bicker and children were free to be children. At any rate, I know that it wasn't movies, things, fancy foods, or eating out that made these memories, but good cheer, a sense of humor, love, affection, a healthy respect for a child's imagination and wonder, a respect for an adult's freedom to be a child again, a love of mystery, and just pulling together.

Some things I can't recreate. The Victorian house and the town are out of our lives for good. But I don't see why the rest shouldn't be easy.
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