From Pipi’s Pasture: Remembering Christmas when we were kids, part II
December 18, 2015
This past week my sister Charlotte and I enjoyed sharing memories of Christmases past when we were growing up on the ranch at Morapos. We have two siblings, Darlene and Duane, who are younger than we are. Charlotte and I are only two years apart, so we have similar memories of Christmas and, sometimes, even received the same gifts.
"Anticipation — it was the best part of Christmas," Charlotte remembered.
I agree! We looked forward to Christmas from about Thanksgiving on. We didn't get to Craig much once the snow started to fall so we didn't get to explore the stores. We didn't have television until we were older so we didn't see the commercials about Christmas toys. But we did have the Sears Roebuck and Montgomery Ward Christmas catalogs.
The catalogs arrived in the mail around Thanksgiving. Charlotte and I can remember the wonderful "smell" of the catalogs — the new book smell, that is. Charlotte reminded me how we waited until we had lots of time to go through the catalogs for the first time.
Kids who are used to all of today's technology might be surprised how much enjoyment we got out of those Christmas catalogs. We wrote our initials next to things we wanted. We spent hours studying the picture of the dolls and their accessories and wondering how the board games were played.
Sometimes, we even played our own game with the catalogs. We closed our eyes, turned to a part of the catalog, and pretended we had "won" the products on those pages. Before long, the catalogs looked pretty used.
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We made out our Christmas lists for Santa, too, that we left out on Christmas Eve. We put them out for Santa with treats. That was after we had spent the afternoon delivering gifts to neighbors and to Grandma Osborn. We were pretty pooped when we sat down to out traditional supper of oyster stew.
After the dishes were cleaned up, we brought the stack of Christmas cards to the table. We never opened them until Christmas Eve. Mom started out by opening each card and reading a letter if one was included. Then each card was passed around the table.
Finally, it was time to hang our stockings, which were real socks — not the kind we buy today. Sometimes, we kids dragged out some of Mom's nylon stockings. We also put out lots of empty bowls for candy and, of course, Santa's treats and our letters.
One year, we put a grain box in the yard. The next morning, we were so excited to find an empty box and lots of footprints!
Boy, was it hard to get to sleep on Christmas Eve, but finally Christmas morning was there. We always got up before daylight — Christmas wouldn't have seemed like Christmas if we had gotten up in the light. We found our Santa gifts, unwrapped, under the tree. Then we turned our attention to our socks, which were always stuffed with a shiny apple and an orange — a real treat in those days — and other little gifts.
The bowls were filled with gummy orange slices, raspberry candies with soft filling, hard ribbon and "pillow" candies, and chocolate candies filled with some kind of white filling.
There were gifts under the tree, too, some from relatives. We received games, coloring books, paper dolls, and a lot more. Possibly most cherished were the handmade gifts such as doll cradles made by Grandpa, and filled with mattresses, blankets, and pillows, made by Grandma.
Charlotte and I still have some of our dolls. I still love my Plenty Sparkle doll, the Toni doll, and a hard rubber doll that "wets" when she's fed a bottle of water.
Christmas on the ranch holds many wonderful memories!