Childhood Holiday Memories

By
Real Estate Agent with Grand Lux Realty, 914-419-0270, kat@thehousekat.com 10301213186
http://activerain.com/droplet/58MM

This is being written as an entry into ActiveRain's December Challenge where we are asked to share a favorite holiday memory. I have so many wonderful Christmas memories and continue making new ones. I thought I'd share the way the Cooney family did Christmas when I was growing up. Just thinking of those holidays makes me grin.

 

I grew up in a household of girls. My poor dad must have been overwhelmed at times with all that femaleness, but he was always involved in all our Christmas highlights. We had many family traditions that were done year after year. Here are the ones I remember...

 
Christmas Caroling

Our Christmas celebrations included not only the typical things, but also annual Christmas caroling with the girl scouts. We'd gather a bunch of people together and go throughout the neighborhood singing. The one evening I remember most vividly was a very cold night, probably somewhere in the early 1970s. We did something that would not be allowed today. All of us piled in the back of my father's pickup truck and drove around town singing Christmas carols at the top of our lungs, while freezing our butts off. We were holding song sheets with frozen fingers. To this day, many decades later, I can feel the grin plastered on my face, not only because I was having so much fun, but because it froze there. What fun!

 
Decorating the tree.

When I was very young, the live tree would magically appear on Christmas Eve after we went to bed. When we came out in the morning, it was all decorated. My parents must have stayed up until the wee hours of the morning to do all they did to make the morning! As we got older and were able to help, the tree went up earlier and we helped decorate. We made strings of berries to hang on the tree. In addition, we made all sorts of handmade ornaments. We opened the boxes of decorations and put everything on in the "right" order. Lights first, garland next, ornaments and then tinsel. We all became expert at throwing the tinsel on at the end. We were supposed to make it look messy. Haha. That would drive me nuts now!

 
Wrapping the gifts.

Cooney girls decorating the tree

We didn't just wrap gifts. You know, pull some wrapping paper around a box, throw some tape on it, and slap on a bow. No, we had to make a production out of our gift wrapping. Choosing paper and ribbon that looked great together. Using a bow maker to make our own bows. Cutting ribbons into all sorts of shapes, like making candles out of the ribbon. We used scissors to pull the ribbon into wriggly designs. The wrapping paper was cut in interesting shapes and we would write our Merry Christmas messages on that, not on the normal to/from tags. Under our tree were not just gifts, but works of art!

 
Christmas morning.

In my house, we woke up early as most children do, but we were sent back to bed until a "reasonable" time (like maybe 6am!). Then we'd all get up, and we were allowed to open our stockings. The stockings usually contained things to keep us occupied for a while like comic books or puzzles. We'd have a little something to eat, get dressed, go to church, and THEN come home to open gifts. As we opened our gifts, we had a smorgasbord of food available, so we could pick throughout the morning. It was really quite an experience. And it took us HOURS to open gifts, but not because there were necessarily that many of them, but because we opened them as follows.

 
The gift opening

Our family could spend a few hours opening our presents. We would open them one at a time. And one thing our family did, which I've never seen anyone else do, is write clues. For every single gift. So each of us would take our turn in selecting a gift from under the tree, reading the clue out loud and then taking a few minutes to guess what the item was. The clues were never simple, like a watch having a clue of "time teller." It would be some sort of tricky riddle, and the watch would be wrapped in a box that was much bigger than required.

 

So we'd make our guesses and then open the gift to see if we were correct. And then everyone would check the gift out, and the next person would open their next gift. Some things didn't have clues of course, like the year my sister got a harp (it's impossible to hide a full-sized harp), but otherwise, everything did. We'd stop every so often in the opening of gifts to refill our plates with food and then back to the gift opening.

 
The overall message

What I learned from those wonderful holidays I enjoyed as a child, was the experience was the important thing, not the stuff. I remember very few of the gifts I received over the years. What I do remember is the love, the traditions and the laughter. What more could one want?

 

Merry Christmas.

 

 

Originally published at thehousekat.com.

 

Posted by

 

Kat Palmiotti, The House Kat

Licensed Associate Broker, CBR®

Grand Lux Realty, Inc.

428 Main Street

Armonk, NY 10504 *

* still supporting Monroe NY, Orange & Rockland counties.

 

914-419-0270 (cell)

email: kat@thehousekat.com

www.thehousekat.com

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Rainmaker
792,049
Elyse Berman, PA, CRS
Best Connections Realty, Inc. - Boca Raton, FL
Pet-Friendly Realtor, 561-716-7824

Kat Palmiotti I enjoyed reading your post.  What wonderful holiday traditions and memories you have.  That is something that is truly priceless.  

Dec 19, 2017 03:37 AM #25
Rainmaker
1,396,078
Grant Schneider
Performance Development Strategies - Armonk, NY
Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes

Hi Kat - I really enjoyed reading this and relate to this.  I have mine written but not posted because I am still looking for pictures.

Dec 19, 2017 07:47 AM #26
Rainmaker
3,990,575
Gabe Sanders
Real Estate of Florida specializing in Martin County Residential Homes, Condos and Land Sales - Stuart, FL
Stuart Florida Real Estate

Good morning Kat.  Those are wonderful memories that should always be cherished.

Dec 20, 2017 05:59 AM #27
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Jeff Dowler
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude - Carlsbad

What wonderful memories you must have, Kat. I really enjoyed reading this. I can just imagine a truckload of freezing kids out caroling!

Happy Holidays!

Jeff

Dec 20, 2017 07:09 AM #28
Rainmaker
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Jan Green
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

You are so fortunate to have those memories!   What a wonderful way to celebrate Christmas and to expand on it. Your parents idea was genius! 

Dec 20, 2017 09:05 PM #29
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Paul S. Henderson, REALTOR®,CRS,
RE/MAX Professionals. - Tacoma, WA
Tacoma Washington Agent/Broker & Market Authority!

I love looking back at Christmases past Kat Palmiotti and somewhere along that line I discovered how wonderful holidays could be...

Dec 21, 2017 06:34 PM #30
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Debe Maxwell, CRS
www.AtHomesCharlotte.com | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC
Charlotte Homes for Sale - Charlotte Neighborhoods

Oh, I loved reading your memories, Kat! What's funny is that I think we grew up in the same household - we did exactly the same thing! We'd also sneak around the corner to peek into the living room and prayed we didn't get caught!

Love the picture too - oh, the good old days, huh?!

I hope you and yours have a wonderful Christmas, Kat!

Dec 22, 2017 07:01 AM #31
Rainmaker
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Gene Mundt, IL/WI Mortgage Originator - FHA/VA/Conv/Jumbo/Portfolio/Refi
NMLS #216987, IL Lic. 031.0006220, WI Licensed. APMC NMLS #175656 - New Lenox, IL
708.921.6331 - 40+ yrs experience

I'm still trying to imagine a harp appearing underneath the tree, Kat Palmiotti!  What a gift!

Enjoyed your memories and the pic.  Absolutely beautiful ...

Gene  

Dec 22, 2017 10:14 AM #32
Rainmaker
1,089,182
Kat Palmiotti
Grand Lux Realty, 914-419-0270, kat@thehousekat.com - Monroe, NY
The House Kat

Elyse - If we can look back and smile, it's all good.

Grant - Can't wait to see yours!

Gabe - Indeed, I do treasure them.

Jeff - And I hate to be cold. I don't know why I smile thinking about freezing my butt off.

 

Dec 22, 2017 10:26 AM #33
Rainmaker
1,089,182
Kat Palmiotti
Grand Lux Realty, 914-419-0270, kat@thehousekat.com - Monroe, NY
The House Kat

Jan - They really did have a great idea!

Paul - They certainly can. Even the crazy relatives sometimes make the holiday fun.

Debe - I decided to write clues on one of my sons presents this year. I did it with them growing up but stopped somewhere along the way.

Gene - Haha, the harp wasn't UNDER the tree! It was in the corner.

Dec 22, 2017 10:28 AM #34
Ambassador
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Paul S. Henderson, REALTOR®,CRS,
RE/MAX Professionals. - Tacoma, WA
Tacoma Washington Agent/Broker & Market Authority!

You have created such sweet memories for yourself and I applaud you Kat Palmiotti 

Dec 23, 2017 05:06 PM #35
Rainmaker
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Kat Palmiotti
Grand Lux Realty, 914-419-0270, kat@thehousekat.com - Monroe, NY
The House Kat

Paul - Thank you!

Dec 24, 2017 03:36 AM #36
Ambassador
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Debe Maxwell, CRS
www.AtHomesCharlotte.com | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC
Charlotte Homes for Sale - Charlotte Neighborhoods

Oh, I love that you carried on that tradition with your son this year...keep it up, Kat! Many wonderful memories are in the making...

May you and yours have a wonderful Christmas!

Merry Christmas from Charlotte NC

Dec 24, 2017 10:27 PM #37
Rainmaker
1,089,182
Kat Palmiotti
Grand Lux Realty, 914-419-0270, kat@thehousekat.com - Monroe, NY
The House Kat

Debe - They teased me and said I did too many crossword puzzles. Haha.

Merry Christmas to you as well - love that photo!

Dec 25, 2017 03:03 AM #38
Rainmaker
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Carol Williams
U.S.: I specialize in helping agents who have been in the business 2 years or less create a thriving business. - Wenatchee, WA
"Customized Mentoring & Marketing Services"

Oh Kat, what great memories.  I loved reading this post.  I have never heard of writing clues on the gift box.  What fun that must have been for everyone!  That would make giving and receiving even more fun!  Merry Christmas, Kat! 

Dec 25, 2017 06:47 AM #39
Rainmaker
1,089,182
Kat Palmiotti
Grand Lux Realty, 914-419-0270, kat@thehousekat.com - Monroe, NY
The House Kat

Carol - The clues were fun. We spent a lot of time trying to come up with something tricky but accurate!

Dec 26, 2017 03:40 AM #40
Rainmaker
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Rebecca Gaujot
Perry Wellington Realty, Adam Conrad, Broker - Lewisburg, WV
Lewisburg WV, the go to agent for all real estate

Kat, wonderful Christmas memories, and enjoyed reading this post.  Wishing you a blessed, happy and healthy new year.

Dec 30, 2017 02:07 PM #41
Rainmaker
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Patricia Feager
DFW FINE PROPERTIES - Southlake, TX
Selling Homes Changing Lives

Kat Palmiotti - Oh what fun it was to be in your house at Christmas time. With the exception of Caroling in the back of the pick-up truck, my life was similar to yours, 4 sisters, no brothers, and oh brother, even a female dog! My poor dad... 

My parents got homemade gifts we made and my mom even decorated the house with her own homemade gifts she made as a kid. I don't really know if my grandmother gave them back to her when she got married or if my grandmother decluttered. It doesn't matter. All that matters is Christmas should be fun. And you certainly had fun. I enjoyed reading it so much!

Happy New Year! I hope you get out to Montana in 2018 and get to do all those fun things you keep in your heart. 

Dec 31, 2017 07:37 AM #42
Rainmaker
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Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
New Hampshire Home Stager

You actually got to place tinsel on the tree???

Not us. Only mom could do that. She knew we would make a mess, throwing clumps. She placed it on the tree one strand at a time.

Jan 05, 2018 01:23 PM #43
Rainmaker
1,089,182
Kat Palmiotti
Grand Lux Realty, 914-419-0270, kat@thehousekat.com - Monroe, NY
The House Kat

Rebecca - Thank you! I hope you have a wonderful 2018.

Patricia - Thank you for your comments! I love the handmade stuff; especially all the fun making something for someone else. Thank you for sharing!

Sharon - We did! My parents told us to make a mess. Haha.

Jan 06, 2018 05:17 AM #44
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