Friday, December 14, 2007

memories of Christmas past...

I was sent a Christmas meme the other day, and maybe I'll post it here one of these days...but it got me thinking about Christmas when I was a child. It was definitely a simpler time...everything revolved around church and family. And I mustn't forget barn chores...because those needed to be looked after whether it was Christmas or not! There were no wrapped presents under our fact, there were no presents under our tree! We had a tradition where, on Christmas Eve we would each set out a plate on the dining room table. During the night, 'der Weinachtsmann' would come and fill our plates with goodies and leave our un-wrapped gifts at our plate. 'Der Weinachtsman' (the Christmas Man) was my dad...I don't ever remember a time that I really, truly believed there was a Santa Claus. On Christmas morning, we would be up bright and early...long before the cows needed to be milked! How fun to wait at the top of the stairs until we were allowed to come see what was on our plate. There are so many gifts that I first ice-skates, a monopoly game, tinker toys, my first Bible. At our home we were big on community, and not so much on 'private property' so most toys got played with until they were played out. There was one Christmas present, however, that I was somehow able to protect from my younger sisters, and still have to this day. When I was four years old, I received a set of china dishes.

I wasn't all that big on dolls, but I sure loved having tea parties!

I found an old photo where I (far left) was using my 'finest china' would have been about 1958. Cousin Clayton seems to be enjoying the tea party.

And now, these dishes come out on occasion and I have tea parties with Emme and Spencer. And I still like having tea long as I can also have a BIG mug of coffee besides my little cup of tea. So that is one of my enduring memories of Christmas past.

As those long ago Christmases fade into the distance, I can still hear the strains of 'Stille Nacht' sung in perfect four part harmony. And Uncle Pete would always start with 'Welchen Jubel, Welche Freude'...and soon we would all join in. I somehow knew what the words of that song meant... 'What celebration, what rejoicing for us at Christmas time...for Jesus has been born in the city of David.'

As we make memories with our families, are we teaching them what Christmas is really all about?


  1. I have that same tea set that I got as a little girl and before I had any grandchildren I promised that the first grandaughter would get that set. That is really no problem now as I have only one grandaughter.
    We also set out a pan on the table the night before for our Christmas gifts and they were never wrapped, just a gift and some peanuts, candy and oranges.
    Wonderful memories!!

  2. I remember my teaset with such a fondness, and still have it, minus one cup which my hateful cousin Joe broke...on purpose! We always make Jesus's birthday cake (a tradition from my childhood) and Christmas dinner is His Birthday party...ever since everything got so "politically correct" seems God and his Family have been pushed aside. But not in our Crucifix hangs in my living room by the kitchen door inviting people to ask me why it hangs there. I often tell them whether they ask or not!

  3. Great tribute to memories. I'm learning that we need to make new memories with the newer generations and that is a challenge, but it's fun to sit and think about what will make their Christmas' memorable.

    I still love those old songs. I even have a German Christmas CD.

    China? not this girl. I spent my time in the barn playing.

    Thanks for sharing.

  4. Just loved reading about your childhood memories...quite unlike my own so I found it very interesting. It's amazing that you kept your little tea set intact. I imagine the granddaughters find it very cool!

    I don't know who the little girl is on the right front, but she looks so much like my sister at that age it isn't even funny!

    Thanks for contributing to the Santa discussion. It has been good to read what others think about it all.

  5. You may not remember believing in Santa. I think we believed in him but he didn't come to our house because we had "Der Weinachtsmann". I remember when I realized there was no Santa and Mom told me not to say anything because you believed in him. I was always so excited about Christmas that I usually got sick, but it's the church programs, carolling, and family reunions that are special to me now. I probably got sick from the stress of reciting all those German poems and Bible passages I memorized! All of it has made Christmas my favorite time of the year.

  6. Wonderful memories . ..your tea set is just precious. I never had a whole one but I had little tiny cups and saucers.

  7. That you so much for sharing such a lovely memory with us!! The tea set is precious and you're so fortunate to still have it!
    Take care!



'The ornament of a house is the friends who frequent it.'
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson