I know I’m not alone when I say that I love Christmas. Most people I know say they love Christmas. We love the shopping, the lights, the decorations, the activities that allow us to celebrate with people we care about, the celebration of Christ’s birth. That’s not unusual.
But that’s not what this is about. I was standing at my kitchen sink washing bowls yesterday, and realized that I have several images that come into my mind when I think about Christmas. They are nothing commercial; they’re not from any movie. They are memories from my early childhood in North Carolina, and they have stayed with me forever.
The first is a lamppost, sort of like this one:
However, in my mind’s eye, it is in our old front yard in Charlotte (4516 Ivanhoe Place) alongside the driveway. It’s dark outside, and the lamppost is lit with yellow light, and snowflakes are falling all around. It’s perfectly quiet outside. You know how you can hear the quiet when the snow falls? That’s what my memory sounds like. When that image comes to mind, I feel peaceful. It’s so beautiful and serene.
The next memory is of a pale pink little girl’s jewelry box. When you open the lid of this jewelry box, there is a little diamond-shaped mirror on the inside of the lid, and there is a tiny ballerina on a post, and she spins while pretty lullaby music plays. The little trays inside were flocked with pale pink velvet. I am pretty sure this was a gift from my Grammy and Granddaddy, my mom’s parents. They always gave me music boxes as gifts for Christmas and birthdays. I don’t know what became of my little jewelry box, but it must have made a huge impression on me when I was little (I would have been fewer than five years old) because I can clearly see it in my memory.
I also remember making cinnamon-sugar pastry strips with my mom. In my early childhood, my mom baked and seemed to enjoy it. I specifically remember her standing beside me wearing something green…a housecoat, or maybe a dress? I can’t remember. But she is bending over putting into the oven a cookie sheet lined with leftover-from-pie-making pastry strips, which she had let me help her paint melted butter on, and sprinkle a mixture of cinnamon and sugar over. I remember exactly how they smelled when baking, too! I don’t remember a bit what the pie tasted like that she had worked so hard to prepare, but I will always, always remember the taste and scent of the cinnamon-sugar pastry strips.
Isn’t it funny what children remember?