Christmas Memories....

Well if you haven't figured out by now, this strong rock that can handle just about anything thrown my a sentimental fool. I always warn the people close to me that once Thanksgiving is over, to be prepared...prepared for me to travel down memory prepared for the Christmas songs to be played...and be prepared for the tears marking memories to flow.

Anything can set it off...lyrics to a song..a line in a movie or just the excited smile of a child getting a glimpse of Santa's waiting lap. I'm not sure why I am like this, but I do know I've always been like this.

The holiday season brings about memories of being a little girl. That small child sitting at my little old German Grandmother's table and helping her roll out the cookie dough as she told me stories of growing up around the turn of the century in Germany.

The snowy days outside would pass by as we sat and baked. I loved those times with Grandma - I absorbed everything she she saw to every one else's her and Grandpa would only speak in German to one another...and best of all were the trips on the bus we would take to downtown Evanston (Illinois) to go Christmas shopping....always, and I mean always...ending with sitting at the Woolsworth counter for lunch. It was our own little tradition.

My birthday is November 23rd and every year my Grandmother would hand me my advent calendar....that countdown to Christmas. She never missed a year, and I always looked forward to getting them.

It always felt like a treasure I was receiving, that beautiful picture that sparkled with glitter. Every year the picture would be different...sometimes with a church in the background, sometimes with children skating in a park but always with those little doors with numbers on them hidden within the picture.

Starting on every December 1st I would wake up only to rush to my calendar to find and open that little door...anticipating what picture would behind it...

Would it be that Nutcracker?
Or that little mouse?
Perhaps it will be that drummer boy..
or even a little girl's toy.

Every morning the anticipation of finally knowing what was behind that little paper door would have me bursting at the seams and of course every day the excitement would grow until I couldn't hardly stand it....wanting so badly to get to that last door...the one with Baby Jesus.

As I got older the advent calendars continued to come, but soon they changed in appearance. Now instead of that sparkly picture that told a tale from a time gone by changed to a modern picture, and instead of a picture surprise behind the door, a piece of chocolate stood.

Grandma was no longer able to get me those advent calendars, the new ones came from my parents....Grandma was no longer physically near me although she is always with me....

Funny how still on December 1st of every year I will think back to those glistening pictures ....of being that little girl...knowing that the month ahead would be one sitting at my Grandmother's table...rolling out that dough...listening to those same stories being retold.. and wondering what life was like for that little German girl....and her brother Hans at a turn of a century...before there were cars..before all seems so innocent.

While there are many things in my childhood I have spent a lifetime trying to shut out and forget - Christmas reminds me of the memories I never want to let go of.

Thank you Grandma!


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