Each Christmas, flashes of childhood memories transport me back to the innocent days of my youth. Sights, sounds, and even the scents of the season captivate my thoughts in a rush of nostalgia.
My reverie may last a moment or two—sometimes just seconds—before I’m reeled back to present day reality. I treasure each precious image that dances in my head like visions of sugarplums.
Life goes on. For me, it has done so for close to sixty years.
Where did the time go?
How quickly the years have flown—from my parents making Christmas wondrous for me, to me making it magical for my children, and now, watching my children light the eyes of my grandchildren with the same simple Christmas joys untarnished by the passing of decades.
Each year I grow more nostalgic during the holiday season. Family traditions and the anticipation for celebrations and surprises made a deep impact on my inner child.
I have never lost that tender little gal, and hope I never do.
Some twenty years ago, at the height of my childrearing years, I penned a series of poems recalling my own Spirit of Christmas Past in free verse, a homemade gift for my parents.
In salute to the child in all of us and the gilded glories of long-ago Christmases, published here for the first time are some of the poems I wrote for them—a keepsake of moments once lived and much beloved.
As you read through them, I wish you well in your own holiday recollections with a thankful heart.
May you take great joy in the Child Who has given us cause to celebrate each Christmas these 2000 years, and continue adding to your memory bank of riches for many years to come.
Of the 1960’s
In sheets of white
And the trees glistened
Encased in ice
And the tires on the car
Crunched through the streets
Wrapped in chains.
Daddy made us a box seat attached to a sled
Pulling us around the block
The winter stillness warming me
And Mommy making hot chocolate
Upon our return.
Having to wear leggings with my coat and hat
The work it was to pull them on and tug them off
But I needed them to keep warm in the sled
And to see the Christmas parade on Landis Avenue
When Santa climbed the ladder
To tap a string of alternate red and green lights
Strung across four lanes the entire length of downtown
They magically light up
For the holidays
The Nativity on the mantle
My very favorite thing
How beautiful those ceramic figures
Were to me
As I soaked in
Every nuance of their serene features
Never knowing how important
What they represented
Would become to me.
Mommy making trays and tins of cookies and treats
That she kept stored on a table in the middle room
And how I would sneak a sweet
Now and then.
Stringing yarn from door to wall in my bedroom
Where I hung Christmas cards and candy canes
While listening to A Mickey Mouse Christmas on the record player.
Watching Rudolph, Charlie Brown, and the Grinch
For the first time
Enjoying every moment of their Christmas stories.
Even now they transport me
Back to our old living room
With the avocado green rug and cozy couch corner
Whenever I watch them
Again, and again—I am there.
Stringing large Christmas bulbs around the front windows and door
The same-sized multi-colored lights wrapped
round the tree
Daddy brought home strapped to the roof of the car.
As he set it up in the house
And together—as a family
Placing the glass ball ornaments
And silver tinsel just right
And the angel star at the top.
Oh! The anticipation of Christmas Eve as I slumbered off
To a fitful sleep
How hard it seemed for Mommy to wake Daddy
So early in the morning
When the only light in the living room
Were the lights on the tree
And the dancing fires in the eager eyes
Of my sisters and me.
The festive decorations lit by the fireplace
Our house on Christmas morning.
Grandma’s sugar bread heating in the oven for breakfast
The orange in the toe of my red velvet stocking
And under the tree
New slippers. New crafts to make. New dollies.
The year I was five Suzy Smart came to stay
On Christmas Day
With her blackboard and school desk
Prophetic of my future teaching vocation.
How did Santa know?
Presents in the morning
Family and more presents in the afternoon
A perfect turkey and dining room set for dinner
The comforting familiar voices
Of kith and kin
Talking about grown-up things
Cleaning up afterwards
Praising Mommy for a banquet beautiful
While the kids played.
Hating to go to bed on Christmas night
For want of more play
Just a little longer.
One more activity set.
One more paint-by-number color.
Christmas day in the idealized innocent world
Of a 1960’s childhood—
I never wanted it to end!
Visit Miss Kathy for more stories via her blog and audio recordings at www.thewritersreverie.com. Click on Podcasts and scroll down for family-friendly listening. Learn how you can develop a Family Literacy Lifestyle through the writing and speaking ministry of Kathryn Ross—plus book shepherding services for Christian writers—at www.pageantwagonpublishing.com