Re: It's coming on Christmas They're cutting down trees12/21/16
posted by W.M.
Decorating our tree during those early years was a lot of fun (for me anyway), but usually turned into a real headache for Mom. She dug out the old glass balls while finding one or two had broken despite her taking extra care when putting them away into their boxes the year before. These were mostly inherited from her parents so it was a little sad when these discoveries were made, but we pressed on. Like Mary-Ann and Frank mentioned, Mom asked us to hang the tinsel (icicles) "one strand at a time", but being little kids, we got bored with the slow, tedious work. My idea was to take my handful of tinsel and toss it towards the treetop, and let it fall onto the tree coming to rest on the branches on it's own. Mom spent at least twice as much of her time carefully picking off the clumps of tinsel from the different branches and re-placing it strand by strand. Then once that task was completed, she arranged her large white cotton tree-skirt around the base and the long, pointed treetop ornament finished the job (for now), and we turned on the spotlight colorwheels (one on each side) that were placed on the floor on the front-window side so all the neighbors and passers-by can see it.
From then on through Christmas eve our house received and entertained many visitors. Neighbors would come over and sometimes have a cocktail generally made from a bottle of bourbon that someone gave Dad a year before (my parents were not drinkers at all). Others came too such as our family doctors, although they would usually come for a breakfast if Mom made them a batch of their favorite pancakes. Our friends, Fred and Barbara M. and kids would show up on few nights as she (Barbara) did not host many get-togethers at their house on 26th Ave near Santiago because she didn't allow people in her living room to keep it clean. There were "gates" in the archways leading into her living room at their house, and all the furniture was covered in clear plastic and there were plastic/rubber runners covering the carpet...hahaha. IF they did any entertaining at all, it was usually in their basement. Usually Mom's Uncle Frank came on Christmas eve or the day before. Dad always gave him a box of his favorite cigars (Cuban?) and sometime her favorite cousin, Gloria would come with him, if she wasn't too busy herself.
Everyone would snack on potato chips (Laura Scudders) and dip, a variety fruits and nuts, fruitcake, Danish cookies (from that blue tin), banana bread, etc. But the one treat EVERYONE wanted to take home with them was some of Mom's world-class butter cookies. They were so delicious and just melted in your mouth...I really miss those.
This outlines my earliest years of being home in the Sunset/Parkside at Christmas. I've not even talked about shopping at Stonestown or the downtown Emporium since those are details provided in some of the prior year threads. But I will say that I also wasn't big on waiting in a line of hundreds of kids to sit on Santa Claus' lap. I was more into playing in the toy section in the store and/or the roof rides...couldn't always get to Playland back then (I was only 4 or 5), so the roof rides were the next best thing. Also I didn't include the decorating of the fireplace and mantle for I have mentioned that before. Besides, it is sometimes fun to look through old message threads.
Merry Christmas and a Happy Holiday Season is my wish for everyone here.