Christmas Memories, the Good and the Not-So-Good

As Christmas fast approaches, and the holiday decorations come out of their boxes, do you find yourself reminiscing about your holiday traditions or past experiences?

When I decorate the house or hang a particular ornament on the tree or get out my Christmas dishes, I often get a memory flash of doing the same thing before. A Deja Vu moment.  A comment that had been made when I did the same thing before, the Christmas music that had been playing, that sort of thing. It’s nice to have those memories come unbidden, but this week I sat down and intentionally tried to remember things that don’t normally drift into my head, Christmas memories that I had to seek out in the recesses of my mind.

Like when I was about 7 years old and my sister was 11.  We found my parent’s stash of Christmas gifts hidden in the bow of our boat, which was parked in the garage.  They were not wrapped, so of course we inspected what was inside every bag, and of course, we didn’t tell anyone what we had done. That was The Worst Christmas Ever. Nothing was a surprise as we opened it.  I never peeked at Christmas gifts again.

I remember the year that we had a white plastic Christmas tree. We placed a rotating color wheel under the tree to give it some color. I went searching on Pinterest to see if I could find a picture of what we had, and couldn’t.  I guess that’s not a surprise. It’s not really something you would want to remember.

Although we did usually have real trees, I guess my Mom went through a phase where she was trying to go with artificial trees. My best guess as to why is because of the mess of the dead pine needles on the carpet and how hard they were to vacuum up.  So after the white plastic tree was a flop, we had a silver artificial tree the next year. The color wheel made it’s appearance again. I found a similar image of this setup on Pinterest.  

Thank goodness the searching-for-an-alternative-to-the-real-tree only lasted those two years.


Some of my best Christmas memories are of being at my grandparents house in Kansas. Since I was California girl, being in the snow for Christmas was beyond amazing. AND my grandmother always had the best Christmas candy in a shiny metal tin.  It looked just like this!!! (Image from the Internet: 

As an adult, now, I look back and imagine most families had candies like this. But we didn’t at our house, so getting it at my grandparent’s house was a very special treat.  I smile now, just looking at this image and remembering how long I would sit and look at all of the pretty colors and shapes before making my choice.


That’s me on the left, in the little car; and on the right in the snow.  I’ll bet you anything I had some of this candy in my pocket. Probably with little furry pocket strings on it too!These memories of mine make me wonder what our children’s Good and Not-So-Good Christmas memories are.  I think when we are together this Christmas I’ll ask that question.

Do you have any Good or Not-So-Good memories you would like to share?


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Comments (13)

  1. Wow Karen. Thanks for the memories! Yes, we the tree, color wheel, and the candy going up in Illinois.

    December 16, 2017 at 8:23 am
  2. Lynne

    What I remember most about my early Christmas’ was that I was sick. Usually with pneumonia. Most of the time it was the walking kind, but other times was the sick in bed kind. Everybody looked forward to Christmas except me! When I was in my early 20s it was discovered that I was allergic to Christmas trees, the dust, the mites, the mold, oils or whatever was in them. Artificial trees made all the difference in the world. I’m forever grateful to who ever thought them up. I love trees, but for me they need to be left outside.

    December 16, 2017 at 10:13 am
  3. My grandmother always had this candy also! Had forgotten about that until I saw this. Lots of wonderful memories of holidays at my grandma’s!

    December 17, 2017 at 6:24 am
    • Karen

      Oh, me too, Carol! Wasn’t it fun to look at all of the pretty colors and try to make The Best Choice?

      December 17, 2017 at 5:26 pm
  4. Diana

    OMGoodness! I had to laugh at the color wheel. 😉 I think one of the most memorable Christmas memories I have is when I was in the sixth grade. We lived in the country in an old, huge, ranch house. Anyway, one morning our family dog – a golden retriever – decided he had to pee really bad. He walked over to our (real) Christmas tree, lifted his leg, and proceeded to pee – on my little brother’s gift. We laughed so hard.

    December 17, 2017 at 10:55 am
    • Karen

      Oh, no! I’m sure as a child it was hysterical. As a parent, I probably would have been hysterical for another reason! 😉 Thanks for sharing!

      December 17, 2017 at 5:25 pm
  5. After my parents died, I was in foster care. Home to home. Then I ended up at my mother’s sisters home in Kentucky. It was with my Aunt Ree (Marie) & Uncle Phillip. My 1st Christmas there, Uncle Phillip and I climbed up the mountains and cut down our own tree and brought it home and decorated it. My Aunt Ree & I made Gingerbread Men as ornaments. She took Choc Sprinkles and put them in the arm pits and crotch of the Gingerbread men. I was shocked and we both laughed so hard putting them on the tree. No one noticed! It was always our private joke! That was my best Christmas ever. I did not know how a real family was until I went to live with them. I was 16 and loved beyond measure!

    December 17, 2017 at 4:03 pm
    • Karen

      I’m sorry you have had that life experience (foster care) but so glad that you finally found a home and love. What a wonderful memory for you of that special Christmas. Thanks for sharing.

      December 17, 2017 at 5:24 pm
  6. Steph

    Interesting how many Christmas memories are tied to food, in one way or another. My Mom went overboard with sweet treats at Christmas time. Being one of the younger daughters, I was at home to help make batches of cookies, divinity, popcorn balls, fudge, peanut brittle and bars. I don’t think I remember any cooking disasters but divinity is finicky and dependent on humidity so every year it turned out a little different.

    December 18, 2017 at 2:44 pm
  7. sherry pennington

    My sister was always very crafty…….one year we decided to make our own Xmas tree ( her household had recently acquired two kittens). We did it !!! It was made from a wrapping paper roll and strips of varying lengths of slightly curled tin foil . We hung it from the ceiling and had two mini spot lights aimed at it….red and green of course. I thought it turned out pretty good but our mother was of a different opinion LOL. This is a 40 year old memory but I can still picture it and smile.

    December 21, 2017 at 7:43 am
  8. Sheryl Hardin

    I have some of the same memories you do. Parents out…I found my first album wrapped under the tree. I unwrapped it, played it and wrapped it back up. Made of a disappointing Christmas morning. We also had the same white tree with colored wheel. Thank goodness it was a fad that didn’t last.

    January 1, 2018 at 1:50 pm
    • Karen

      Oh, yes. I definitely relate to this!

      January 3, 2018 at 7:29 am
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