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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
By the end of the day we were exhausted
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.”
(all photos were scanned from my Mom’s negatives)