From Pipi’s Pasture: Highlights of Christmas past |

From Pipi’s Pasture: Highlights of Christmas past

From Pipi’s Pasture: Highlights of Christmas past

I’ve written a lot about the childhood Christmases when my siblings and I were growing up on the ranch at Morapos. This week I have been thinking about the highlights of those Christmas seasons.

My first memory of the coming holidays was the shopping trip(s) to Craig to purchase Christmas gifts. It was always a treat to go into Craig because we didn’t go all that often (certainly not like people do today), and winter shopping days were pretty “iffy” because of the weather. The trips were magical because there were lots of shopping possibilities back then. My siblings and I enjoyed shopping at the variety stores (there were at least two of them); drug stores that smelled so good because of the perfumes on display (there were about three of them); at least one gift shop; a couple of hardware stores; and Golden Rule and J.C.Penney that sold clothing and a lot more.

Mom always let us know where she wanted to shop in secret so we kids went elsewhere. I guess that our parents gave us Christmas-spending money; I don’t remember for sure. Dad spent his time purchasing ranch supplies and found time to buy Mom a gift that he hid when we got home. If time allowed, we sometimes had lunch in Craig, usually at the Midwest Café.

Second on the highlights list was the Morapos School Christmas program. We started working on it right before Thanksgiving. We set up a stage and presented a program complete with plays, musical numbers, and poems that we recited from memory. The program was attended by all people in the community, even if they didn’t have children in school. After the program there were refreshments and people visited. We kids exchanged gifts, and someone handed out treat bags of nuts and candy that the mothers had prepared ahead of time.

After school was let out for Christmas vacation, Dad cut our Christmas tree. We never put it up too far ahead of Christmas, probably because it dried out pretty fast. I remember the strings of big-bulb lights and the skinny lights that bubbled when they got warm. Some of the decorations came from our mother’s childhood. They were delicate and required care in hanging.

I also remember Rudolph and some reindeer that weren’t Santa’s reindeer—just wild reindeer. After we hung the ornaments we put tinsel on the tree, always one strand at a time.

Perhaps most memorable was Christmas morning. Dad and Mom always called us early (because we had chores to do as always). The night before we had hung up our stockings—not the purchased stockings used today but our stockings or perhaps Dad or Mom’s. We had set out treats for Santa and empty bowls for candy.

On Christmas morning we found our Santa gifts, unwrapped, under the tree and our stockings fat with little gifts, including an apple and orange each—a real treat.

Wonderful memories, indeed.

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