While I have been on the subject of Christmas presents, I tried to think back on my favorite present from my childhood. I hate to admit this, but I can only remember one specific present I ever received. How bad is that, after all the money we spend on our children, will they ever remember the gifts we searched so long and hard to make their Christmas exactly what we thought they wanted?
So what was my present? I had tried to let it be known that I would like a small radio I could plug in. I loved my small transistor radio, but the cost of batteries was adding up. My grandmother had given me her transistor radio when I was only 4 years old, I eventually gave it to my oldest son when he was little. Yes, music was my second love, after books.
I should say first, that while I have told you about growing up with my grandparents, there were a few years in which I lived with my mother, it wasn’t a good situation and I returned to live with my grandparents until after high school. The one present I remember came from the short time I lived with my mother.
I was 12 years old when I asked for that radio. I was so shocked to get not only a radio that wouldn’t need batteries, but it was a clock radio. Not fancy by today’s standards, it was a simply alarm clock with AM channels, this being before FM was available, or at least not known by me.
I also remember the moment I hated my present. Right after I opened my present, I know I had a huge smile, my mother turned to me and informed me that she was glad I asked for the radio because now that I had an alarm I could be responsible for waking my siblings for school and she could sleep in. A present with a responsibility, thanks can I give it back?
I didn’t care for the added responsibility that came with my present, but I loved the present. Now I could listen to music whenever I wanted, as long as I wanted without worrying about how much life was left in the radio. I had that radio for many years. I still had it when I was a young mother. I finally traded up when AM channels were disappearing and all the good channels were on the FM band.
My grandmother always gifted me with clothes and books. She knew I loved to read and she also knew my mother didn’t buy me much to wear or read. I don’t have any concrete memories of a favorite book or piece of clothing but what I do remember is that she tried to give me gifts that I could use and need, and they were always appreciated.
Once I was out on my own, my grandmother knowing my love for horses would gift me with an inexpensive horse ornament for my tree each year. These I lovingly care for and remember even now that I no longer have them.
So what do I remember from my childhood Christmases?
- I remember my aunts wilted salad she made every year (oh how I begged her to make it each year),
- my grandfather’s homemade coleslaw (he made this for every holiday),
- my grandmother insisting no one could make gravy like her, so she would take over the kitchen to make the gravy.
- my grandfather controlling the mashed potatoes to keep my grandmother from over salting them.
- My grandmother’s best friend who delivered us huge boxes of her homemade cookies
- My grandmother’s fruitcake which filled our fridge every year
The other things:
- And I remember my grandmother complaining that my grandfather refused to put up the outside lights until Christmas eve, he said it was to keep her from running up their electric bill.
- Having company stay over because their cars were completely buried in a snow storm
None of my memories really ever centered on the gifts, it was the traditions that revolved around the food or when the tree would go up, who took what job in the decorating or cooking.
What presents do you remember from your childhood?