Waiting for Christmas

Waiting for Christmas: A Childhood Memory and Christmas Gift for My Friends

Hello, Friends!  Christmas week is here…and the whole world is waiting for Christmas!  It’s been such a busy year here in the studio.  We’ve had lots of crafty adventures together, told stories, and shared our thoughts with one another.  What a blessing this blog has been to me…and I hope to you as well.

We are all probably in the middle of last minute holiday preparations…wrapping presents, baking cookies, putting the finishing touches on all the things that make Christmas such a special time. We are busy, and perhaps even frazzled.  So I thought I would invite you to slow down for a moment and breathe.  So go grab a cuppa and a snack as I share one of my very favorite Christmas memories of waiting for Christmas with you.

Winter on the Hill

You’ve heard me talk many times about growing up “on the hill” in rural Vermont during the 50’s and 60’s.  The picture attached to this post is the house I grew up in. I can  remember trudging up that hill, the snow squeaking beneath my boots.  Although wrapped up in layers of warm clothes, the icy cold still managed to sneak in and chill the bones.  Eyes watered in the frigid air, and clouds of vapor appeared with every breath I took as I carried school books and lunch box up the hill.

About half way up, the yeasty aroma of Mom’s homemade bread or hamburger soup would tickle my nostrils.  This always made me walk a little bit faster, knowing that warmth and good food were waiting for me at the top. Stamp the snow off your feet before you open the door, please. Take off your boots and put them on the  mat so they don’t make salty puddles on Mom’s freshly mopped floor.  Hang up your coat, hat, mittens and scarf so they’ll be dry the next time you have to go out.  And now you can grab a thick slice of that heavenly bread, slather it with margarine (no butter in our house) brew a cup of tea and take the chill off.

Giddy Anticipation

Most of the families who lived in and around our tiny town worked in the granite industry. The quarries operated year-round, regardless of the weather. I can still picture the men walking down the hill with their hard hats and lunch boxes in tow.  Some worked in “the hole”, some ran the huge derricks that lifted the massive blocks of granite out of the quarry. The “sheds” used diamond tipped blades to cut the stone into huge slabs. There were other sheds where the slabs were fashioned into beautiful headstones and monuments.  A few men….like my dad…worked in the office.

Christmas Day was a paid holiday, and the men got a half day off for Christmas Eve.  This is when the company handed out a cash Christmas bonus along with a turkey for the family to enjoy.  When the noon whistle blew, we knew my dad would leave work, get in the car and drive to town to do his Christmas shopping.

We were fairly giddy with excitement and anticipation at this point, We must have driven my mom to distraction with all our attempts to snitch a bit of her cookie dough or shake the presents under the tree.

It was a small house, and we were a big family.  There was no heat in the upstairs rooms except for the warmth that managed to drift up there through the grates that were installed in the ceiling. So we basically lived in the kitchen and the living room during those cold winter months.  Inevitably, our antics drove mom to pronounce, “That’s it!  Bundle up and go play outside!”

Waiting for Christmas…a Green Christmas

This was usually a punishment that we could live with.  But the Christmas of 1969 was a rare “green” Christmas.  We had no snow.  Which meant no sledding, no snow forts, no snowball fights, no making a snowman.  Although the trees were bare and the air was cold, there was no blanket of snow to cover the green grass.  It just didn’t seem like Christmas.

It begins to get dark around 3:30 in the afternoon in December, and that’s when the street lights would come on.  We had one half way up the hill, and another at the top near our house. When they flickered on, we trudged into the house, somewhat more subdued after romping around in the yard.

Inside the warm house, we watched out the window for the flicker of the headlights on Dad’s car.  If he didn’t get home from his shopping soon, we would burst with the agony of anticipation!  Finally, we saw him come round the curve and we squealed with excitement!  Dad was bringing Christmas home in the trunk of that car.

“Go upstairs and get dressed for church while I help your father carry things in, ” was Mom’s next directive.  And we scurried up the stairs, our ears attentive to the rustling sound of packages being carried in.

Candlelight Service

Every Christmas Eve we attended services at the Presbyterian church “down in Lower Graniteville.” The simple white structure was about a mile from our house.  Every Christmas Eve they held a candlelight service.  The ladies of the church decked it out in Christmas greenery, and it smelled like the piney woods.

As we walked from the parking lot to the front door of the church, it didn’t seem like Christmas Eve.  No snow.  Green grass. Bare sidewalks. We were handed  a small white candle poked through a paper circle to catch the drip of candle wax along with the bulletin as we entered the nave.

We sang the beautiful Christmas hymns, endured the pastor’s mercifully short re-telling of the Christmas story from the book of Luke,  And then the magical moment arrived at the end of the service.  The ushers turned out the lights and lit one candle at the end of each front pew.  Then we passed the light from candle to candle until the whole sanctuary glowed with the golden light while we sang “Silent Night, Holy Night…all is calm, all is bright.”  Jesus, the Light of the World, filled my heart with joy and my eyes with tears.  It was a holy, hushed moment I will treasure all my life.

Then down into the church basement to watch “The Night Before Christmas” movie, eat a sugar cookie and take home a popcorn ball that the church ladies lovingly made for each child in the congregation.

Let it Snow…and snow and snow and snow!

The ushers opened the front doors of the church, and to our amazement…the grass was covered in white!  Snow was swirling everywhere, coming down hard and fast.  We drove back up the hill, and my father said, “I think we are in for an old fashioned blizzard.”

And he was right.  It snowed while we opened our presents and continued to snow all that night. When we woke up to open our stockings on Christmas Day, it was still snowing. And it snowed all day long and into the night. By the next morning, there was so much snow that no one could get up the hill.  Even the snowplows were silent.  It snowed and snowed and snowed and snowed, and by the time the storm passed over, we had more than 3 feet of snow on the ground!

Even the quarry was shut down!  So Dad did not have to go back into work the day after Christmas!  We played games and munched on the treats from our stockings and enjoyed being snowed in.  This was a magical Christmas that I will never forget.

It was also the very last Christmas that Dad was with us.  In the spring of 1970, he suffered a fatal heart attack.  So that snowy extended holiday with him was a gift from Heaven.  We didn’t know it at the time, of course, but looking back, I think maybe God sent that big storm to snow us in and give us extra time together as a family so we would have the warmth and joy of that last Christmas to carry in our hearts forever.

As you are waiting for Christmas, you might enjoy seeing some of my past winter projects to get you in the proper frame of mind.

Your cuppa is probably needing a refill by now, so I will close.  I wish every one of you a memorable, joyful, light-filled, love-filled, hope-filled Christmas.

Thanks for stopping by!

Cheerio,

kathy

 

 

 

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

21 thoughts on “Waiting for Christmas

  1. Susan Steele

    Hello there dear Kathy, my tablet still on the fritz, but realized I think I can get thru this way …for the 3rd time! Always, always luv hearing about your early years stories! I lost my father last Xmas to covid, so this one has been heartbreaking, plus the loss of 2 younger nephews just this year too. You are so right …we should be thankful for our precious time spent with family and friends. Praying you and all of yours have had a happy and joyous celebrations! Wishing you a very Happy New Year! Big hugs, Suzy Q

  2. Louella Janssen

    Thank you Kathy for sharing your memories with us, and your lovely tutorials to inspire us. I wish you and your loved ones a merry Christmas full of joy and a very happy 2023. Love from Antwerp, Belgium, big hugs Louella

  3. Brenda S. West

    God’s blessings on your Christmas and the New Year!
    My memories of Christmas are a little different. Growing up in Southeast Texas, it was mostly warm enough to play outside with our many cousins. We would always meet together with my Mom’s family. There were 11 sisters and 6 brothers and all their offsprings. I had many cousins to play with and show off and share my Christmas gifts with. Loads of food and lots of laughs.

  4. Lillian Lumachi

    Such a sweet and heartfelt memory. Thanks for sharing it…I would like to wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas and Happy and Healthy New Year! Thank you for a wonderful year of beautiful projects and tutorials. They are much appreciated I always look forward to your next project, see you on U-Tube! ❤

  5. Martie Rollin

    I, too, spent many growing up years in small town America. 7 kids crammed into a small, 3 bedroom, 1 bathroom, 2 story brick house. Dad installed a 3 minute timer on the bathroom door frame…no knocking until the sand had all drained down! He even installed a drinking fountain in the sink (no room to line up glasses). Every Christmas Eve, we kids would don our hand-me-down snow gear and make the long walk into town. The Lions Club closed their tree lot at dark and, just like you’ve seen in old movies, they would throw free trees into the arms of excited kids, too poor to afford to buy a tree…flat sides, bare areas, scrawny leftovers that no one else wanted. Our parents had us all believing that Santa wouldn’t leave a new toy (1 for each of us) unless he found an old toy under that tree! Memories are life treasures! Thank you for the links to your projects…wonderful holiday and winter inspirations!! Merry Christmas wishes to all!

  6. Helen

    We have more than artiness in common, as I too grew up in a house at the top of a hill, no snow though! A white Christmas is something to dream about, and what a joy to read your memories of family time with snow, Christmas celebrations, and the reason for this day. Across the canal we can see the nativity in lights all evening, tucked under a deck all a glow and reminding us of the true meaning of Christmas. It is all reflected in your wonderful art too, the joy of giving and receiving, reminiscing of Christmas past and looking forward to life and creativity in 2023. Thanks Kathy for a wonderful year of inspiration and sharing. By the way, you would be surprised how much arty gear can be packed into a small space!

  7. Priscilla Hughs

    Thank you for sharing your childhood memories. So inspiring for all of us who love your crafting as well as your ability to write your memoirs beautifully. It’s truly a gift to all of us. Merry Christmas to you and your family!

  8. Laura Clark

    Your sharing of your Christmas memory was so precious. I could see it as a movie in my mind as I read all the details and wonder of that time. Thank you for sharing this with us.

  9. Sandy Artman

    Beautifully written, Kathy. Christmastime really puts in touch with our heart songs. The telling of this story must really be bittersweet. Having come from a family of nine, little things are big for me, too! With Christmas days away, I wish you life’s finest gifts and take this opportunity to let you know how much I appreciate your generosity in sharing so much of yourself. You’re a kindred spirit on this creative path and your friendship is a treasure! Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!!!

  10. Cheryl Wells

    Oh, Kathy!!! What a beautiful story and most wonderful memories – I wish you and your family a blessed Christmas!! Thank you for sharing your talent in 2022.

  11. Rosemary

    Oh my goodness, Kathy! What a wonderful present of memories you have given us. Never mind that I had tears in my eyes at the end… But good tears. Truly you are a real storyteller! Merry Christmas!!

  12. Lorraine Zaring

    What a wonderful story Kathy. Thank you for sharing your memories and your beautiful Christmas projects from the past. So beautiful, just like you. Merry Christmas

  13. herstuff2003Lynn Hagen

    Your telling of that Christmas made me remember the wonderful times with my Mama and Papa in snowy Minnesota. We had a coal furnace and my Papa would get up early and stoke the fire so it was a bit warmer when we got up. Always put my clothes near the heat grate in the bathroom while getting ready. Toasty warm clothes to slip into. Lots of Christmas cookies and great good as Mama was an excellent cook. How did she make so many dishes for Christmas dinner with just one oven? I will never know. We stored the leftovers in the front porch as it was just like a big refrigerator! Thank you for sharing your wonderful memories. I love your cards and try to recreate but often fall short of the beauty you create.

  14. Rosemary Sokolowski

    Thank you so much of sharing this wonderful memory of your childhood. It was so nice to sit back and enjoy these moments with you. Wishing you and your family a joyous Christmas holiday!

  15. Gena Krannig

    Kathy, thank you for sharing your beautiful Christmas story and the photo of your childhood home. What a wonderful place to have grown up. That snowy Christmas was a little miracle so that your Dad could spend another day with his family at Christmas time. I really enjoyed looking once again at your past winter projects and can’t wait to see what beautiful creations will be coming our way next year. May you and your family have a Blessed Christmas and a wonderful New Year! Hugs!❤

  16. Tristan Robin Blakeman

    What a lovely and heart-felt memory of Christmas joy and nostalgia. Thank you for the remembrance of small town Christmases, which those of us from more urban areas never experienced. And what a charming and thoughtful memory of your father.
    Best wishes to you for a holiday filled with new memories and happinesses!

  17. Joni E

    Thank you for sharing this childhood story. Not only are you so creative with your paper projects but also with writing! Have a great Christmas holiday.

  18. jayn

    Thank you for sharing this beautiful memory with us. What a wonderful way to start my day and think about my memories.

  19. chance1022gmailcom

    Thank you for your beautiful Christmas memory. Have a wonderful Christmas filled with happiness, peace and joy.

Comments are closed.