The Simple Memories Of Christmas

by Curt Kovener 

For the next several days, the greeting du jour for too many will be “WadjagetfirChrismus?”

But I have found in my half-life on this earth that it isn’t in the getting but in the giving that makes for warm Christmas memories.

Sure, in my youth it was the ‘stuff’ I unwrapped whatever the most marketed and coveted trinket of the retail season was in the 1950’s & 60’s. At least, I thought that was what made Christmas memorable.

But now I know that it is family and doing for others that is what makes lasting memories.

It wasn’t the slot car track I thought I couldn’t live without, which I eventually got one Christmas 50 years past. It was being Grandma’s kitchen helper(?) in making holiday cookies for family & friends to enjoy. It was being fitted into one of her too big aprons so I wouldn’t make a mess on myself with flour and sugar and icing. The table, the floor, the counter: that’s where I made the messes.

Christmas isn’t about getting the biggest, the tallest, the greenest, the fattest Christmas tree and decorating it with all the latest and obnoxious flashing, twinkling, sequenced lights. It was getting the thought-to-be straight tree home only to find that an unnoticed twist and a crook that made it durned near impossible to keep upright in its stand. But with wood wedges and one year a bit of wire secured from the ceiling, we somehow kept it semi vertical until Christmas.

It is stringing popcorn with family or friends to decorate a tree. The memories last long after the popcorn decays—or as the case one year, was devoured by a creative and daring mouse who shinnied his way up the tree and out the variety of branches to munch to his heart’s content. But that’s another Christmas memory column.

While I have been known to imbibe in an exotic libation or two over the holiday, I have found that a simple wine sipped while cozy on the couch gazing at the holiday lights and listening to seasonal music and recalling & telling of Christmas memories that warms me.

It is the simple things that have been done that keep returning in my mind year after year: The old farmhouse and sitting in that overstuffed chair on Grandpa’s lap listening to him read a story on a snowy night. Hearing Grandma tell me for the umptileventh time to “Be careful crossing the road” as I bundled up to go fetch the mail for her. The cigar smoke aroma of my Gramp’s wool sweater as he gave me a hug that I always thought I was too big to be getting. Sitting on the floor beside a wooden rocker and sharing slices of apples and oranges freshly peeled by the loving but arthritis twisted and hard work wrinkled hands of my Granny.

Those are the simple memories that warm me through the decades.