Two Christmas memories stand out in my life, and one I wrote about last year, a mystery to this day.
The other is of Christmas Eves in Germany when I grew up when I was 0-10 years old. First of all, I need to explain that Christmas Eve was the "big day". None of us (except Santa and his elves, I presume) had seen the Christmas tree until that evening when the door was opened to our living room and there was the tree: all lit with REAL candles. We would stand around and admire it and sing Christmas carols for awhile. Then we would open presents. I presume my parents kept an eye on the candles and at some point they would be blown out, probably when it was time to have our Christmas dinner which was ALWAYS goose. After wards we would go back into the living room and play with our toys until it was bedtime--whenever that was, I don't remember.
The next day, Christmas Day, we would all go to church and then to my father's mother, my grandmother who lived not too far away. My grandfather had died at some point in my early youth and I don't have any memories of him there. My father had a somewhat extended family and they would all come. There we would find gifts under her tree, and it was followed by a big late lunch that was more like an early dinner. I remember having great fun with a favorite cousin who later ended up buying my grandmother's house when she was an adult and my grandmother had passed away. And that's a whole other story.
On the second Christmas Day, now often called "Boxing Day", we would troop over to my mother's mom and dad who lived quite a ways away so it seems like we spent more time there. My grandmother would always make a soup that included fruit so it was sweet. I never told anyone but I hated that soup, but ate it because I was such a well-behaved child. Ahem.
So do I remember any of the toys I received? I don't but our gifts always included practical items including underwear and some outerwear. We always had a plate of "goodies" which included nuts, candies, chocolate, dates and oranges, all quite a treat for us after the war years.
And speaking of oranges, before Christmas my mother would "tease" us a few times with Santa "visits". When we would play in the basement during inclement weather, she would raise her voice upstairs and say, "oh hi, Santa, nice of you to stop in" or some such sentence plus stomp on the floor for us to hear. She would then ROLL AN ORANGE DOWN THE STAIRS FOR EACH OF US.
Naturally, by the time we had caught on to what was happening and running up the stairs to get a glimpse of SANTA, he had taken off! Never did get a glimpse of him. But those oranges were certainly tasty. And were probably worth their weight in gold.
In fact, the first time I EVER saw an orange I must have been about 4 or so when I watched a garbage guy peel one next to his truck. It had been given to him by an occupying British family member who lived there. You certainly didn't find oranges in the stores we frequented.
Nowadays? All you need to do is go to FOODLAND, for example, and see a display like this photo. What kid would get excited about an ORANGE?