Specters of Christmas Past

Doing something tonight that I haven’t done in a while.


There, all the lights are out.

Except the Christmas Tree.

Magic lights, blinking dreams. Heart flutters and sugarplum fairies goading me to remember the short past or long past. It depends entirely on your perspective.

As a matter of convenience I’ve located an app on my smart tv that plays Christmas Ditties. Years ago it was cassette tapes, then it was CDs, then digital downloads. Now live streaming. Buffing along song to song, being carried down the stream of memories that connects me to this holiday season and all the holiday seasons that I’ve made my stake and found my joy within.

This is a truly magical time of year in my heart and in all of my actions. It always has been, as far back as I can remember.

I grew up in a standard household of four. Dad, Mom, Son, and Daughter. There was a dog (an Irish Setter, named Katie), multiple hamsters and gold fish which never lasted, and a two bedroom second floor flat that held sway over my imagination over the formative years of my life.

We were poor, but didn’t realize we were. That might have been the greatest gift of our childhood (of which we had many gifts). Running a house in today’s world gives me a respect for all that my parents sacrificed in order to provide so many good times, and great Christmases.

My Mom, after her Mom, was the Major General of the production. It all started with her desire to create a happy holiday home. My cheeks turn red when thinking about all the things she lavished upon us. We were spoiled in these holiday moments, and graciously gifted many times over by two sets of grand parents and three doting uncles. We all lived within a square mile in those days, and the traipsing back and forth from home to home allowed for us to grow keen of different types of cooking at each home. as well as a nose for our favorites.

I’d be remiss if I forgot to mention how important the church was in our lives, our parish life.

All good things contained within the wilds of zip code 02129, “Chawles’town” to the locals. God, school, family, friends. Life! Holiday life!

My father, a fine accomplice in achieving my mother’s designs, was satisfied to use his artistic talents to create elaborate decorating schemes and turn our apartment into a Winter Wonderland. One year he used tin foil attached to the wall around the Christmas Tree to give the blinking lights an infinity effect, another year he made an entire village out of balsa wood to surround the train beneath the tree, and in yet another year he painstakingly carved snowflakes out of glossy white paper with an Exacto Knife and affixed glitter to them so they could be hung from our suspended ceiling by paper clips.

The magic was real. When the lights went out and the tree came on we were transported to another world.

This was our normal. We didn’t know any better. We never knew of the amount of time and effort that was dedicated to achieving the proper effect. Halls decked.

Mom and Dad, a formidable Christmas Duo, raising bars and setting precedents that I still aspire to each and every Christmas.

The music continues to play, and each verse and chorus puts me in the frame of a wonderful memory.

Recounting is fun, but remembering past warmth n the grinning comfort of a glowing Christmas Tree room is sublime.

I look forward to some deep dives back in time and to bringing some gems to the forefront. Keep measure in coming days, as I plan to elaborate on all that I found good, curious, and magical.

…soon it will be Christmas Day

2 thoughts on “Specters of Christmas Past

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