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Christmas brings back so many memories for me.  I grew up very poor.  One of five children to a single mom who worked two jobs.  I’m grateful to her for her hard work and my sister who became my mom when mom wasn’t there. I also appreciate my three brothers whose antics still bring smiles to my face and who made me tough!  In spite of growing up so poor I never remember being without.  I have such terrific memories of Christmas.  My mom started out the season painting the windows in the front of our house with tempera paints. She painted them solid by dabbing sponges.  As I grew older she trusted me to help.  I also remember licking my finger days later and clearing a tiny spot of paint away so I could watch for Santa.  I remember the wooden cutouts she painted and put in the front yard, they were huge and she played Christmas music outside for all to hear and enjoy in addition to big colored light bulbs strung along the eaves. I fell asleep looking at their glow. I so wish I had pictures.  The good news is the pictures in my mind are clear and vivid and colorful.  Who remembers hanging tinsel on your Christmas tree and learning you couldn’t rush it but had to hang one individual strand at a time! I remember the toys I got and the goodies in the stocking. The hard candy in the stocking would eventually stick together in a huge wad if you didn’t eat it quickly enough and yes, I got oranges too! On Christmas morning we always had hot chocolate in Santa mugs. I always got new bedroom slippers and pajamas and spent many an hour designing with my Spirograph!  So many memories fun to relive so get them saved! My mom probably never even thought about the Christmas traditions influencing many things her kids would do in the future.

I love the ease of keeping memories for my kids and granddkids.  Organizing in Historian has made it easy to find what few old pictures I have and keeps the current ones right where I can find them for making the annual Christmas Card.  Life is pretty easy now!  Artisan lets my creativity escape out of my head everyday and helps me keep the memories close at hand! I can only imagine what I would be looking at if my mom had had something like these to use to help her out!

In honor of traditions I’m listing some fun trivia about Christmas and encouraging you to take pictures of your holiday traditions and make a page for your album.

1. Boris Karloff’s voice had to be mechanically altered to play the Grinch in How the Grinch Stole Christmas.

2. The world’s largest gingerbread man was baked in Oslo, Norway and weighed 1,435 pounds.

3. Barnum’s animal cracker cookie box was originally designed with a string so it could hang on the Christmas tree.

4.The annual New Years ceremony in Times Square was put on hiatus in 1942/43 due to wartime dim outs.

5. Handel wrote the Messiah (259 pages) in 24 days in 1741 and the Hallelujah Chorus in 3 days.

6. Oregon, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Washington and California are America’s top Christmas tree growers.

7. In 1983, 3 million Cabbage Patch dolls were sold making it the most successful new doll introduction ever. (I know because my sister could not find one in Monroe, Louisiana for her daughter and my husband and I ran around San Antonio and finally found one.)

8. Alabama was the first state to declare Christmas a legal holiday and Oklahoma the last.

9. Egyptians, Hebrews and the Chinese used evergreens trees, wreaths and garlands as a symbol of eternal life.

10. Super Mario Bros was the best selling video game ever for 20 plus years, before being outsold by Wii Sports in 2009.

11. 1995 – The year Beanie Babies ruled under the Christmas tree.

12. Holly is a symbol of rebirth and has come to stand for peace and joy.

13. The movie Miracle on 34th Street was released in May, and not during Christmas as a marketing strategy to increase sales.

14. Each week Mattel sells over 1.5 million Barbie dolls (two dolls per second).

15. In 1822 Clement C. Moore’s gift to his children was The Night Before Christmas.

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11 Responses to Blog: Remember These?

  1. Carolyn says:

    We had that Spirograph but we never had Mouse Trap and I ALWAYS wanted it! 🙂 Is that a colorform there with the snowman? I loved those too. Paper dolls, a favorite of three girls in the family. And we STILL have oranges in our stockings. 🙂 My kids don’t understand it but they always have one, along with the story of my impoverished paternal grandparents as well. Thanks, Mary!

  2. Vicki says:

    Oh yes! I remember all of these Christmas traditions too! Thank you for sharing Mary!! Christmas memories are the best!

  3. Janice says:

    Love your traditions and memories Mary! I can definitely relate to the Spirograph, my all time favourite thing for many years!

  4. Karen says:

    Mary I found your BLOG very interesting. Many of us grew up knowing that love and family was the most important part of Christmas and that we were celebrating Christ’s birthday. Gift’s were fun to receive but we did not have the quantity that children today seem to get today but I don’t think that we were hard done by. I have three adult sons, living in two different Canadian Provinces and they do not get together very often because of the number of miles that separate us. This year, with the recent loss of my Dad, my husband and I have decided that we are not purchasing gifts, we will be together on Christmas Eve with one son and his family and once the nice weather comes we will meet half way between Guelph Ontario and Brandon Manitoba, which is Wisconsin Dells. We will be putting any monies that we would spend at Christmas into two nights at the Great Wolf Lodge for eight adults and seven children. I can’t wait.

  5. Liz Propst says:

    Oh my goodness…thank you Mary. I am leading a retreat beginning tomorrow and you just gave me little bits of trivia to share every so often. I am grateful!! Merry Christmas….your story of painting on the windows reminded me of my son who is a missionary in Madagascar….they can’t get trees there so he paints one on their window. Blessings

  6. pamela smith says:

    wow, that brought back memories! Thanks Mary!!

  7. Avril Lawson says:

    I love your blog Mary – a lot of these things ring true with me too. And I have passed some of my family traditions on to my grown up children too

  8. Linda DeLaughter says:

    Oh, Mary, thanks for the trip down memory lane! Yes, I was ecstatic when I got my Spirograph and Etch-a-Sketch! We always got new slippers for Christmas as well. I was the eldest of 5 children in a home where only my Dad worked. We did not have a lot of things, but the toys/games that Santa left were always very special to me. I remember how sick I was when I was 7 (I had the chicken pox), but I got a Shirley Temple doll and I still have the photo of me holding it up with my “dotted” pitiful face. Old memories are just the best!

  9. adakallen says:

    MEMORIES! I think I remember all of these
    I love this and I can soooo relate to so much of these statements.
    I grew up very poor also (in East Texas about 40 miles from Shreveport). I don’t remember doing without any needs (mom and dad taught me the difference in need and want).
    I love this!

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