With Christmas less than a week away (how did that happen?!?), I’m in full holiday mode, shopping for everyone on my list (which I love doing) and trying not to let the big crowds dampen my holiday spirits. Earlier this week, I heard Perry Como’s version of “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” playing in one of the stores that I was shopping in. You know how you have moments when you hear a song and you’re transported back in time? I had one of those and it made me stop and think of getting the house ready for Christmas when I was younger.
Apartment living doesn’t make getting a Christmas tree easy, but I loved going shopping for Christmas trees when I was younger, I was lucky enough to live near the base of the San Gabriel Mountains in Los Angeles, and there was a Christmas tree farm that was about 30 minutes away from my house. The whole family would pack up in the car, go pick out a tree in the Fall, and then go back up a few weeks before Christmas to cut the tree down and make our way back down the mountain. There really isn’t anything like a fresh-cut Christmas tree. I miss that smell of the tree when I walk in the door to my apartment, since I don’t have a tree this year. That’s ok! I have a new puppy instead, which more than makes up for lack of a Christmas tree! Good stuff!
Decorating the tree was a family event, with my dad hanging the lights and the rest of us putting ornaments on the tree and begging my mom to let us put icicles on the tree. My mom has had the same ornaments for decades and they’re fabulously retro and very hearty, as they’ve survived four children playing with them and countless trips in and outside their boxes. Decorating the tree would always be accompanied by the music that my parents loved, including Perry Como, the Ray Coniff Singers, and compilations that included Lena Horne, Julie Andrews and other popular 60s artists. There were also two Chipmunks albums, which my older brother and I would listen to over and over…and my mother patiently let us put those records on repeat.
I’m not sure how my parents managed to do it, but they always managed to find some of the hottest toys for us. I got a Cabbage Patch Doll when they were the hottest toy on the market and rain checks were being given out at Toys R Us; we got an Atari 2600 and a bunch of games when they were scarce; my older brother (and me to a lesser extent) had most of the Star Wars toys and figures on the market and I had more Barbies than I knew what to do with. They must have stopped at so many different stores looking for those gifts (this was waaaaay before anything could be ordered online) and this must be one reason why I take such delight in getting gifts for others. We were always so shocked, surprised and animated when we got what we wished so hard for. I’m sure it was a kick in the pants for my parents to watch our faces after all that shopping was done. I love seeing that same look on the faces of my friends and family when I give gifts now.
When I go home for Christmas every year, I always ask that the Perry Como, the Ray Coniff Singers and the Chipmunk Christmas albums be played (on an actual record player no less!) at some point during my visit. It just doesn’t seem like Christmas without them, because I have so many happy memories of my family being together, laughing and enjoying that music. It’s a nice reminder to have those memories so close to me as I continue my last-minute shopping.
Whatever your own holiday traditions and memories are, wishing you and yours a wonderful holiday season, full of happy memories that you will enjoy for years to come.
Until next week (and my next obsession)!
Layout by: Michelle
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