Memories of Christmas Past For Comfort and Joy

The city in winter.
The city in winter. | Source

All Senses On Alert - Christmas Is Approaching

What comfort and warmth memories of northern Christmases past can bring! Scents and sounds like no other season fill us with wonder as the cold freezes our nostrils shut. Fluffy snow muffles the ground and rounds the sharp corners of everyday frenzied conversations. Expectations of gingerbread and mincemeat make our mouths water. Christmas is a time for the senses!

One of my favorite sets of scenes from the film Dr. Zhivago picture winter at the cottage at Varykino Estate. The exterior shots of untouched, snow covered land leading to an isolated white-muffled house are peaceful, yet stunning. Interior scenes of the hideaway blanketed outside with snow - cold, yet illuminated with bright sunshine streaming in through the windows, are indelible. The poetry and relationship created there in the summer cottage during winter are magical. This is a Christmas house out of season.

These are the types of memories and awaited treats that create Christmas for me on Earth, while I commemorate my Gift from Heaven. I may not be able to see God's face, or to be able to reach out and touch it as did the young RCAF pilot and poet John Gillespee Magee, Jr. in High Flight, but I can feel God's Gift around me. Even though I have lost family and friends in death, I can take Christmas memories into the future.

As a child, I once had a set of Christmas angel figurines for each day of the week.
As a child, I once had a set of Christmas angel figurines for each day of the week. | Source

Memories

I've a good memory, being able to recall my first birthday; but, my first Christmas occurred when I was just 4 months old, so I've no memory of that. Christmas memories began for me in the autumn after my first birthday, when I learned to read and write by watching news programs.

One of the newsmen on television used a large chalkboard and wrote the news as he spoke, so I learned some of my first words from him, about Christmas -- Or so I am told, because even though I can see the chalkboard in my mind, I cannot recall the text. From family stories oft repeated around me in my youth, I watched a news special at age one about Christmas at all the shopping centers, with a Santa Claus appearing at each one simultaneously.

The program went on to sell cardboard cutout sets of Santa, a sleigh, and reindeer for rooftop decor during the Holiday Season. The newsman and some visitors demonstrated how to assemble the large cutouts and get them to the roof. My parents must not have been watching me closely as I took in this commercial, for soon after, they put me in the front seat of the car to drive around town to see the lights and decorations. My mother pointed and encouraged me to look at a particular rooftop that displayed Santa - "Look! Santa Claus!"

I shouted, "CARDBOARD!"

Reasonable Voices

Not believing in Santa, I still enjoyed watching a show about a toy shop every afternoon. Annually, the proprietress, Lucy, took us on a journey every day in December. It was like an early transporter effect and probably my first experience with the concept of other dimensions. In her shop, she pivoted in a slow continuing circle as we saw big snowflakes fall. The picture changed and she was standing at the North Pole, where she took us to Santa's Toy Shop and we had a nice daily visit and a cartoon until Christmas. I remember that particular Santa's energetic and friendly Ho! Ho! Ho! and it's a good memory.

Lucy and Santa told us kids how the shopping center Santas were his helpers and that some toys were even made by toymakers at big companies in our own city, rather than all made at the North Pole. This was a note of honesty I appreciated.

At home, my father taught that Santa represented the Spirit of Christmas and that the spirit was real. I can believe that, so that's what Santa is to me. He is the icon of giving with good humor to edify the recipient. In the film The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, Santa is the harbinger that proclaims the coming of the infant Jesus - the Greatest Gift of the faith-based part of the holiday - and I like that as well. That's the other part of Christmas for me to which I can add good memories..

A Piccolo Trumpet. Christmas tree ornamets are available as a number of musical instruments and are some of my favorites.
A Piccolo Trumpet. Christmas tree ornamets are available as a number of musical instruments and are some of my favorites. | Source

Gifts

Presents are fun to select for people that I know. I match them to reflect not only friends' preferences, but also their dreams. This is Christmas gift giving to me. For friends no longer on Earth, I often make a donation in their remembrance to a charity.

As friends begin to pass away, fewer opportunities for gift giving are available until I make additional friends. However, at Christmas, I bring out ornaments and other small gifts all my friends have given me and place them in a display in my bedroom on a bureau. These are good memories.

Other good memories are DVDs of movies friends and I have enjoyed together, especially at Christmastime. I pull them out and enjoy them again during visits with current friends over the holidays. Some of these films include

  • A Christmas Carol with Jim Carey - The 3D effects are fantastic in this film.
  • A Charlie Brown Christmas
  • The Santa Clause with Tim Allen
  • A Christmas Story - The film with the leg lamp.
  • A Nightmare Before Christmas - Animated and hilarious.
  • Kung Fu Hustle - Not Christmas, but it's hilarious - especially to some of us martial artists.

One of dozens of departments at Bronner's CHRISTmas Store in Frankenmuth, Michigan.
One of dozens of departments at Bronner's CHRISTmas Store in Frankenmuth, Michigan. | Source
Source
The Animals' Christmas Eve (Little Golden Book)
The Animals' Christmas Eve (Little Golden Book)

On Christmas Eve Night, the animals can talk and they celebrate the coming of the Messiah. This is one of my favorite legends, offered here as a childrens' book.

 

Lights

Bubble lights are my favorite holiday lighting option and I look for American Made lights for Christmas and other holidays (Chinese made Christmas lights are made by enslaved people there). The bubble lights are available in a range of colors, including red for Valentine's Day and even orange and black.

I used to spend the week between Christmas and New Year's with good friends for several years and one of the things we did was to decorate with bubble lights. We'd also read our favorite Christmas stories, watch films, go to our favorite cafes and leave big tips, and visit a chapel. Then we would drive through one of the large drive-thru Christmas Light Displays in the area and spend time at winter street fairs.

Even though some of my friends are no longer here, I can continue to enjoy these traditions and share them with old and new friends. Our own Columbus Zoo has a wonderful Wild Lights show for several weeks annually, with more activities added each Christmas Season and a great drive-thru light show nearby.

Christmas should be full of light and hope and friendship appreciated now, but good memories of the past can be part of that, too, and make better Christmases for us all.

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Comments 43 comments

jloeding profile image

jloeding 4 years ago from Lafayette, LA

Enjoyed your hub. I share some of those same memories, and I enjoy rehearsing them in my mind. I'm still looking forward to creating more beautiful memories.


FloraBreenRobison profile image

FloraBreenRobison 4 years ago

I found out at school who Santa was when I was around eight. Helpful friends. Now when I hear about Santa and think of waht Santa was meant to be/should be I think about the origin of his other name St. Nicholas and how there was once a rich man who lost his family in a natural tragedy (somewhere in Europe, I can't remember where. Norway?). Afterwards he would leave gifts/donations year round on people's doorstops. T anonymously. But since finding out the secret I have hated the song "Here Comes Santa Claus" because "he doesn't care if you're rich or poor for he loves you just the same.." Well, actually, money has a lot to do with how many toys you get.


Dim Flaxenwick profile image

Dim Flaxenwick 4 years ago from Great Britain

Beautiful hub. l especially loved your description of the scenes from Dr. Zhivago. l adored then too.

Thank you for sharing these lovely thoughts.


tirelesstraveler profile image

tirelesstraveler 4 years ago from California

Lovely positive hub. Thanks for helping get the season started


Goonoo Munawwar profile image

Goonoo Munawwar 4 years ago from Triolet, Mauritius

This Christmas hub is simply great, awesome and interesting! Yo! I'm the first commenter on this hub! Keep posting these types of hubs Patty Inglish MS and keep getting comments.


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 4 years ago from North America Author

jloeding - I think it's important to build a memory bank of good ones. Thanks for sharing your memories too.

FloraBreenRobison - St. Nicholas is a good example. Another is my other favorite, Grandfather Snow from Russia.

Dim Flaxenwick - Next time I watch Dr. Zhivago, I can add you to my thoughts. Thanks for visitng!

tirelesstraveler - Have the best holiday season of your life this year!

Goonoo - I like your name. Merry Christmas!


femmeflashpoint 4 years ago

Patty -

I wish I could have clicked the AWESOME button FOUR or FIVE times!!

This is a beatiful piece! It's also inspiring for some folks (like your's truly) who will be far from home during Christmas and missing friends and family a great deal. However, God always provides, doesn't He? Even when it's in celebration of Christ's birthday. :) His special day, and we still get presents, lol.

I can't be home, but I have some wonderful friends and neighbors here in Texas who will go out of their way to keep the Christmas cheer ring-ring-ringing in my heart.

I loved your idea of making a Christmas donation to a charity in memory of a friend who's passed. My favorite "give" area has been the Adopt A Soldier program for quite some time. And, this hub is a great reminder of why I think it's such an important cause.

Everyone should know they're loved and cared for during Christmas. :)

High-five and a big gold star! You did a superb job on this hub. :)


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 4 years ago from North America Author

Thank you many times, femmeflashpoint - I like the Adopt A Soldier program you suggest very much, because you are right about loneliness in the field and the lives of Veterans. I'm also aware of some newly widowed people this year that could use a smile. Adopting animals at the zoo is a favorite of mine, as are organizations against child abuse and domestic violence. And health causes are good to support.

Merry Christmas to you wherever you may be that day! I'll be thinking about you :)


femmeflashpoint 4 years ago

Thank you Patty, and I think your list of favored programs to give to are excellent as well!

Also, I forgot to tell you in the earlier comment ... the opening pic is breath taking!

Stunningly beautiful shot!


Simone Smith profile image

Simone Smith 4 years ago from San Francisco

LOVE this! I'll never look at Santa again without wanting to yell "CARDBOARD!!"

Also, your practice of giving donations as gifts to loved ones who have moved on has inspired me to do the same thing myself. Thank you!! Your Hub has made Christmas more meaningful to me than it ever was before.


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 4 years ago from Nashville Tn.

Patty - The last few Christmases have been nothing but sad. Todd, the son I lost to cancer, loved Christmas so much! I always spent the holidays with Todd and the children. Then, it occurred to me that I was not honoring my son, a giver and supporter for the elderly in rest homes. Every Christmas he took his children with him to the rest homes and visited anyone who would be alone, with no family to visit them. He took Christmas trees, decorated, gifts and lots of hugs to these dear, lonely people.

So I began to do the same. I also volunteer at shelters, abused children, animal shelters and at thanksgiving spend the day feeding and serving others. I share this with you, not to boast, but because my holidays are now filled with a peace and joy I have never known.

I have learned the value of giving of oneself, especially whenever we feel sorry for our situation. I love your hub and you, for writing it. It is a treasure filled with beauty and inspiration. Your message is powerful and filled with what Christmas is really all about. Thank you, Patty.

vocalcoach~


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 4 years ago from North America Author

femmeflashpoint - I love that photo too. This Christmas, I'll get myself a new digital camera!

Simone - If you shout the word, you have a story to go with it!

I recall that one departed friend lived with chronic pain and found some relief in giving to others, especially holidays. Glad you like the idea of donations.

vocalcoach - You've found an awesome way to honor your son and fill your life with people and pets. I'll think of you during the holidays!


hailei profile image

hailei 4 years ago from Romania

Awwww... now I can't wait for it to be Christmas. What do I do for the next ~40 days? :P Such a warm, touching hub. Congrats, loved it :)


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 4 years ago from North America Author

Well, think about your loved ones and favorite things and remember the departed among all this excitment. Thanks, hailei!


auspicious12day profile image

auspicious12day 4 years ago

Ah, Christmas memories. I find the music of Christmas a cherished memory. "Handel's Messiah" is a favorite of mine and always uplifts me.


htodd profile image

htodd 4 years ago from United States

Collections of your pics are really great ..Thanks for that


ellen8 profile image

ellen8 4 years ago

I enjoyed celebrating Christmas out on the farm with my sister and parents. It was a simple life. We went to church every Sunday. Christmas time was centered around our church. There was decorating of the Christmas tree in the church sanctuary. The young people along with adult supervision would take the money they had saved and buy items for those less fortunate.Church choirs would practice their special music. We would have lessons about Christs birth. It was a time when we all put aside our bitter feelings, forgave others and would make the remark that we wished that every day could be like Christmas Day and is there a any reason as to why it cannot be that way? It is our choice.


anonymous 4 years ago

A good expressionist can make an often overly treated subject fresh again, bringing back the magic of the season and gratitude of the moment.


yols-a profile image

yols-a 4 years ago from Trinidad and Tobago

hi what hubpages elite means but very iformative piece


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 4 years ago from North America Author

anonymous - Thank you very much for your comment!

yols-a -- This means I am a volunteer for HubPages Programs. I help run the HubNuggets Program.


yols-a profile image

yols-a 4 years ago from Trinidad and Tobago

What's I might ask I encountering alot of problems on my earnings page to complete the final stage of the paypal did that so many times nothing seems to be going right.It not about the money to a point but i really want to give it a shot. There really some interesting work being do, all the best .Thanks for any information you can share


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 4 years ago from North America Author

Check the HubPages Forums for answers to your questions. Search the forums for "Paypal."


ravenlt04 profile image

ravenlt04 4 years ago from Atlanta, GA

Thanks for sharing! You share while still offering interesting facts, like that Christmas lights made in China are made by slaves. I would've never guessed that. Thank you for the great pictures and the holiday cheer!


starstream profile image

starstream 4 years ago from Northern California

I love your photos.. esp. the snow scene and angels


Phoebe Pike 4 years ago

Beautifully written hub.


littlesunshine profile image

littlesunshine 4 years ago from Southern California

LOve this!!!


cyoung35 profile image

cyoung35 4 years ago from Corona, CA

I love the idea that each family has their own traditions and it was great reading your hub and all the comments. Christmas in my family starts as soon as the lights on the house goes up. It seems to lift the spirits of everyone and the holiday spirit is alive and well.


cannapro profile image

cannapro 4 years ago from London

I don't tend to enjoy christmas when my mother died, it just wasnt the same. It become a very sad couple of days as if we were still missing her presence at the table.


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 4 years ago from North America Author

Cannapro - Please accept my condolences about the loss of your mother. I lost two friends recently and it will not be the same, but I am making changes to enjoy Christmas.


texasgirlfw profile image

texasgirlfw 4 years ago

Sometimes Christman is very difficult. My sister lost her 18 year son to cancer this year. She is having a lot of trouble with Christmas and is going away for this holiday. I really don't blame her. You have a very nice hub here.


andreivan profile image

andreivan 4 years ago from New York, USA

This is really interesting. I can truly feel the Christmas spirit!


The Stages Of ME profile image

The Stages Of ME 4 years ago

Thank you for posting about the Joys of Christmas ~ the memories and honoring this special time of Christ birth is what it is all about for me. thanks for sharing


Rain Defence profile image

Rain Defence 4 years ago from UK

This is a pretty sad blog really. I've not lost anyone close to me for a long time. Not looking forward to that happening although as my family and friends get older, that will start happening again.

Merry christmas.


Eiddwen profile image

Eiddwen 4 years ago from Wales

What a brilliant hub and thank you for sharing.

Take care and enjoy your day.

Eddy.


Abrushing1968 profile image

Abrushing1968 4 years ago from USA- Florida

Beautiful Hub. Thanks for sharing

ABR


Rusticliving profile image

Rusticliving 4 years ago from California

Patti, I learned to share Christmas without any family a long time ago. But I never stopped decorating the tree or singing in the local choir. I learned to share the spirit of Christmas with those who needed it just a bit more than I did. My favorite thing to do is to bake bake bake. Then head on over to the Assisted Living Care Centers and pass out my treats and sing a few carols for them. I may be by myself during the holidays, but I'm never "alone". Thank you for your Hubs. So glad I found you!

Merry Christmas

Lisa~Rustic Living


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 4 years ago from North America Author

Rusticliving - I like the way you spend Christmas very much. may you have a blessed New Year in 2012.

Thanks for comments, everyone!


BlossomSB profile image

BlossomSB 4 years ago from Victoria, Australia

Thank you for sharing. Christmas is such a very special time.


girltalksshop 4 years ago

Nice, voted up and interesting. I love Christmas!! : )


mommymaya profile image

mommymaya 3 years ago from Arkansas

That was a great Hub. Thank you for sharing. I also share in a lot of your memories. It's nice to know that during this time of year, we can all share in that same magic. May you have a very Merry Christmas!


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 3 years ago from North America Author

And Merry Christmas to you, mommymaya! I hope the season gives you a lot to write about.


pstraubie48 profile image

pstraubie48 3 years ago from sunny Florida

Well said...you hit on each part of this wondrous time of year that is meaningful to so many including me. I have some sad memories associated with this holiday but they do not overshadow the loveliness the holiday brings...the bubble lights, the gifts given to those in need and to those I love, the gifts received and so much more...just as you have shared. this morning while it is still early, this Christmas morning, I am immersing myself in reading as many hubs about Christmas as I can find that are filled with the spirit of this day. I am glad I found this one.

Sending Angels to you and yours :) ps


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 3 years ago from North America Author

We have any good Hubs about Christmas here on HubPages and I also am reading them. On Christmas night we will receive about 6 inches of snow hre and in the morning, the landscape will be lovely to see. These are good things to remember.

Merry Christmas!

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