2. When I was 9 and my brother was 8, we woke up Christmas morning to find brand new bikes by the tree! Mine was pink and had a banana seat, a basket and a bell. The thing is both my brother and I were S-I-C-K. I seem to recall we had colds, tonsillitis and strep throat, so my mother didn’t want to let us go outside to ride them. Neither one of us said a word, but both of us just sat by the tree sobbing. She finally gave in, bundled us up to the point where we could barely move and let us go out and ride for 10 whole minutes.
3. That may have been the best Christmas ever because I also received the transistor radio I had asked for!
4. And the tree that those gifts were under? It was a fake tree made entirely of aluminum that looked like silver tinsel. There was a big color wheel that was placed strategically by it that spun around and changed the color of the tree. I hated that tree and just wanted a green one like everyone else!
5. When I was around 13 or 14, my parents decided that Christmas had gotten too secular and had moved entirely too far away from what it was supposed to be about. So they refused to get a Christmas tree.
6. That year, my mother put out her tiny nativity set on a coffee table and my father put hay all around it. We had to put our gifts around it. Because Christmas is all about the Three Kings bringing gifts to Baby Jesus. Right then and there I wished we had that stupid silver tree back! So embarrassing to have to explain every single time a friend came over.
7. Also that year, instead of the normal Christmas goodies, cookies and desserts, we had a Birthday Cake for Baby Jesus.
8. Sometimes when I think back on memories like this I wonder what stupid things I’ve done that Little Helen will be telling and blogging about one day?
9. In the early 1980s, that embarrassing nativity set, which had always been OFF LIMITS to us kids growing up, suddenly was being placed on Mama Helen’s coffee table, right where little grandchildren could touch it! Well, one little grandchild. Little Helen loved that thing and would pick the pieces up and carry them around Mama Helen’s house. One day while she was there visiting she walked into the kitchen and handed Mama Helen the Archangel Gabriel, one of his wings snapped off. Of course, I was completely mortified because that set had been made by a friend of Mama Helen’s in a ceramics class and there was no way to replace the piece. So superglue it was. To this day, one of the angels wings is a little crooked.
10. Finally, in celebration of Helen’s Holiday Extravaganza, here are some photos of that little Nativity set. I started asking for it in my twenties and Mama Helen finally gave it to me in 1992. Funny how the thing I was so embarrassed by brings back some of my fondest holiday memories.