I have a lot of memories of a lot of Christmases (like you do, at 62). The things that stick in my mind are moments here and there.
There's nothing lonelier than sending your kids off to their dad's for Christmas and waking up in an empty house. I got up, made coffee, adjusted a couple of ornaments on the tree and stepped outside. The air sparkled with frost. The sky was an impossible blue...and a bright cardinal sat perched in the bare branches of the tree outside my door. The image remains forever.
The Poor Christmas, when I got The Doll (see here), was anothr such. We had moved to Canada that summer, and things had not gone as planned. My dad couldn't find a real job, and took one picking holly, at minimum wage (75 cents an hour). We were living in the Hundred Acre Wood, a piece of property owned by a couple in Los Angeles. We had free rent and $50/month. The house had been lived in for seventeen years by a family that was sort of neglectful. There was no electricity, so the whole house was caked with candle wax. The stovepipe had fallen out of the ceiling in the master bedroom, but that hadn't stopped them from using the stove, a wood-burner. You know...things like that. Mom was determined we would be living in it by Christmas. We had moved our trailer in there in October. She scrubbed and sang and, a few days before Christmas, we were officially In. Mom and I made candles, coloured and scented with her lipsticks. Dad went out in the woods and cut a tree. We made paper chains. We found some old ornaments in a shed, and made some out of scraps of this and that. That tree dominated the living room, reaching all the way to its thirteen-foot ceiling. Everything twinkled in the firelight, for we still had no electricity. Dinner was done Old School, cooked on a woodstove, and everything from scratch. We had practically lived on bread and water so that as much money as could be, would be spent on Christmas dinner. Grown, I realized what really happened there, and I wish I had seen it at the time. That took a lot of love and determination.
Then there was the year I left Brian for a bass player called Wayne. On Dec 22nd, Wayne packed up his gear and left in the middle of the night to visit his parents in Prince George. Everyone else in the house had somewhere to go, so I got talked into feeding their critters while they were gone. That was the year I cooked my first turkey, with decidedly mixed results. For a start, I forgot the stuffing. Still, it gave me something to do and time to think about what a jackass I was...
The second Christmas SSS and I were together was interesting. I had this awesome long black dress that I knew was perfect. My mom had sent me a beautiful long silk scarf in jewel tones and I had a lovely brooch. I draped the scarf loosely around my neck and pinned it, letting the ends hang down in front and back. SSS wanted me to tie it around my waist. I tried it, to show him that my way was better, but we had quite a fight about it, culminating in his saying something like, "Fine! Don't ever ask me how you look again!" Dearly Beloved, nobody tells Mama what to wear! Scott was there, and he was astounded that we were fighting over something so trivial, and on Christmas, besides. Still, I always felt like I was going into hostile territory when visiting his family, so I wanted to look my best. That was the year his mother insisted on getting everyone a coat. That was because I had this awesome sheepskin coat that she hated. It was rough and raw and smelled like a sheep when it was wet. There wasn't a shred of polyester in it. I refused to give it up. Everyone else was choosing coats in stores, and she was going in and paying for them. I was adamant. She was NOT going to outstubborn me. She was kind of at a loss, at that point. She put a $100 limit on each gift (1972), so she had to find something that cost that much. She ended up giving me one of the best gifts ever...a Singer sewing machine. I used the heck out of that thing for twelve years!
There's a lot more, but Christmas calls, and I must go.
Happy Yo Yo everyone!