"Christmas of Orange being rolled downstairs", a Past Memory Contest

Real Estate Broker/Owner with (831) 626-4000 CA #01772851 HI #RB-21268


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?

And this is my Activerain "Christmas Memory" Contest Entry.

Posted by

Hella Mitschke Rothwell, Broker/Owner/REALTOR 


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Hella Mitschke Rothwell (R)

Real Estate Broker/Owner/Realtor®
Licensed in California #01772851 & Hawaii #RB-21268

Tel. 808-226-1095 or 831-626-4000 

Fax 1-877-822-9332




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Comments (12)

Debe Maxwell, CRS
www.iCharlotteHomes.com | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC
The right Charlotte REALTOR!

Such a wonderful story, Hella! What is funny is I remember having oranges in my stocking each and every year - there were other items and candies too but, the bulk of what was in the stocking were oranges!

I remember the 'real' candles as well and remember my grandmother agonizing over their safety. I believe she was one of the pioneers of using 'real' lights! LOL And, I remember those too - the large bulbs that were multi-colored. My, how times have changed, haven't they?

I hope you and yours have a wonderful Christmas, Hella! May your Christmas memories live in your heart forever...


Merry Christmas from Charlotte NC

Dec 24, 2017 04:41 PM
Hella Mitschke Rothwell
(831) 626-4000 - Honolulu, HI
Hawaii & California Real Estate Broker

Thank you, Debe Maxwell, CRS - To this day, I love those BIG naval oranges that come out this time of year. Their smell always remind me of those past Christmases. And a Merry Christmas to you from "young" Hella.

Dec 24, 2017 04:48 PM
Debe Maxwell, CRS
www.iCharlotteHomes.com | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC
The right Charlotte REALTOR!

Beautiful! Love that picture, Hella!

And, yes, they were the Naval oranges and I loved the fact that they were so large...and juicy!

Dec 24, 2017 04:54 PM
Kathy Streib
Cypress, TX
Retired Home Stager/Redesign

Hella- I loved reading about your childhood memories. I don't remember the oranges in our stockings but it could be because we had a grocery store!  I'm still floored by the thought of burning candles on the tree!

Dec 24, 2017 05:42 PM
Hella Mitschke Rothwell

Kathy Streib - A German girlfriend here in Hawaii still has real candles on her tree just like in her childhood. I think she's taking a risk, but she takes precautions. They don't stay on for very long, of course.

Dec 24, 2017 06:18 PM
Bob Crane
Woodland Management Service / Woodland Real Estate, EXP - Stevens Point, WI
Forestland Experts! 715-204-9671

Thanks for the memories Hella,

May the Blessings of Christmas be with you today and throughout the new year.


Dec 24, 2017 08:01 PM
Hella Mitschke Rothwell

Thank you, Bob Crane and the same to you and your family.

Dec 25, 2017 11:21 AM
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

Hella, loved the story and having lived in Europe my first 13+ years Christmas Eve was always the big one... and at midnight the Christmas tree would be shown.... on a side note I will have to do a post for you, we have a Navel Orange tree in our back yard:)) Endre

Dec 24, 2017 09:34 PM
Hella Mitschke Rothwell

Endre Barath, Jr. - That is so great that you have a Navel Orange tree in your yard!! I'll have to go over and read your post.

Dec 25, 2017 11:22 AM
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667, kat@thehousekat.com, Broker/REALTOR® - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

What a wonderful story! I love how your mother "teased" you with Santa visits. What fun!

Dec 25, 2017 03:37 AM
Hella Mitschke Rothwell

Kat Palmiotti - I know my mom had a lot of fun with that. And we certainly were "believers".

Dec 25, 2017 11:23 AM
Lottie Kendall
Compass - San Francisco, CA
Helping make your real estate dreams a reality

What a nice Christmas memory, Hella. We didn't have real candles on our tree, but "Santa" would decorate the tree when he'd visit late at night--Christmas morning was magical to our young eyes. And we had a tangarine in our stockings instead of an orange.

Dec 25, 2017 07:33 AM
Hella Mitschke Rothwell

Lottie Kendall - A tangerine also has a great smell. What a wonderful memory for you too.

Dec 25, 2017 11:24 AM
Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Broker
Elizabeth Anne Weintraub, Broker - Sacramento, CA
Put 40 years of experience to work for you

We had oranges in our stockings, too. And an assortment of nuts with tiny candy canes. Although my mother never rolled oranges down into the basement where we used to play, she would stick table knives in the door frame so we couldn't come upstairs.

Dec 25, 2017 12:00 PM
Hella Mitschke Rothwell

Wow. And do you still have nightmares about that?

Dec 25, 2017 12:24 PM
Rebecca Gaujot, Realtor®
Lewisburg, WV
Lewisburg WV, the go to agent for all real estate

Hella, my parents didn't have stockings for all of us kids, we got orange, apple, nuts and candy in a paper bag, aka poke :)

Dec 26, 2017 08:57 PM
Hella Mitschke Rothwell

Rebecca Gaujot - Fond memories. Now kids just tear through their presents, hardly looking at most of them. We treasured every item, didn't matter how or if it was wrapped.

Dec 27, 2017 10:52 AM
Susan Jacobsen
The Alliance Group Realty - Hilton Head Island, SC
20 Years Providing WOW Real Estate Service

Hella - funny that you mention the oranges.....it reminds me of another part of far away Christmas; my mother's family was Ukranian and lived in Canada-fresh fruit was always a very expensive luxury so when my mom carried the tradition on and put oranges, dates, and nuts in my stocking and I realized how precious those gifts were - thanks for memories........Happy New Year!

Dec 27, 2017 10:22 AM
Hella Mitschke Rothwell

Susan Jacobsen - We kept the tradition alive at my parents house after they immigrated to Canada as well. Sadly, not after that. I should have paid more attention to this when my daughter grew up because it's not part of HER tradition.

Dec 27, 2017 10:55 AM
Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
Retired New Hampshire Home Stager

I enjoyed reading your Christmas memory. I just ate an orange ironically. LOL

Jan 06, 2018 03:46 PM