My December article for Lomography: Christmas Past

Christmas Past

There was a time, not too long ago, when all the Christmas Holiday memories would have been on film. I went into the family archives to remember how my Mother recorded our celebrations during the season.

home in the snow

home in the snow

The Trees

We used to go into the forest to cut our trees. As perfect as the trees looked in the woods, they weren’t always so perfect once they got into the house. Each year we would decorate them with familiar ornaments from the past and then a new one would be added that was carefully chosen from Ah Sam Florist shop in San Mateo, California. I wish we had photos from those ornament excursions. Keep that in mind: always carry a camera.

Bud finds his tree

Bud finds his tree

in search of the perfect tree

in search of the perfect tree

hauling the tree

hauling the tree

Sean, Maeve and Colleen decorating their tree

Maeve, Caroline and Colleen decorating their tree

Sean checking out the tree

Sean checking out the tree

stringing popcorn

stringing popcorn

angel hair on the tree: made of real spun glass

angel hair on the tree: made of real spun glass

Decking the Halls

The house was decked out with the manger, handmade items, old favorites and new acquisitions. Spraying the snow in the windows of our house was always fun to do, but not very nice to scrape off in the New Year. Once my family moved from Sam Mateo to the Sierras we didn’t have to use fake snow.

white holly wreath

the little manger

the little manger

spraying snow in the windows

spraying snow in the windows

Scott and Mom in the window

Scott and Mom in the window

measuring the snow

measuring the snow

Hanging the stocking on the chimney with care

My Mom made stockings for everyone in the family, including our dogs. The number of stockings that would appear on the chimney would change over the years depending on who had returned home for Christmas. My parents’ dog Bud would remember from year to year that his stocking held treats and he would refuse to leave the room until Christmas morning. Finally my Mom could no longer hang his stocking until Christmas Eve.

filling the stockings

filling the stockings

stockings

Bud's went up at the last minute

Bud’s went up at the last minute

Bud with his stocking contents

Bud with his stocking contents

Christmas morning

The presents were never put under the tree until we all went to bed, even when we became adults. We’d wake up before dawn and start opening the presents, one by one. Some years were leaner than others but we never went without something.

fire engine

trees

more presents

who is going to clean up this mess?

who is going to clean up this mess?

another great gift

another great gift

Scott and Sean

Scott and Sean

We’d eat all day and finish it off with a big turkey dinner. Sometimes relatives and friends would join us and other times it was just the five of us. We’d play games, play with the new toys, and yes, even make up skits and plays.

grandma and dad in the kitchen

grandma and dad in the kitchen

grandparents, aunt and uncle and my dad

grandparents, aunt and uncle and my dad

we always had turkey

we always had turkey

cousins

cousins

my family was small

my family was small

Christmas in the old days

Christmas in the old days

if only we had that toy now.....Ebay!

if only we had that toy now…..Ebay!

By the end of the day we were exhausted

my sister

my sister

sugar plums danced in my head

sugar plums danced in my head

The Cameras

I can remember my Mom having a new camera every few years. Most were medium format TLRs. She switched to 35mm along the way. My Mom didn’t live long enough to embrace the digital age and luckily I ended up with all her negatives from the time she started taking photos in the early 1940s until she died in 1991. All I can say is “Thanks Mom and Dad for putting a camera in my hand and for keeping the memories fresh.”

my first camera

my first camera

mom and dad

mom and dad

(all photos were scanned from my Mom’s negatives)

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About gretchen

I love living in the Pacific Northwest being close to the mountains and the ocean. My hobbies include photography, travel, reading, biking, walking and gardening. I am an Anglophile at heart and try to visit the UK often. My camera goes everywhere with me.
This entry was posted in An idea of home, California, film, lomography and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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