Sunday, December 13, 2020


I'm feeling a bit sentimental, so I've chosen to share some Christmas Memories from long ago to Poets & Storytellers Writers' Pantry #80 today.  And, by the way, my notes are scribbled illegibly in a little notebook I keep on my bedside table for midnight epiphanies.   Submitted December 13, 2020 


 My Christmas memories are centered around the little one-room school, and the roadside church of my childhood that were the hub of social activities.  Tradition on Christmas Eve was to attend Nigh Chapel for the children’s program, hymns and the reading of the story of Christ’s birth from the old Bible, the soft ticking of the wall clock for accompaniment.   Then the sound of sleigh bells heralded the arrival of Santa with a loud Ho Ho Ho, and a brown paper bag of treats for everyone.  These contained hard candies, chocolate drops, nuts, an orange and a shiny apple.  I never questioned these treats were from the North Pole until the Christmas my parents were on the “treat committee” and, with friends, prepared the bags of treats at our home!  This was most likely the same year I learned Santa was Johnny Cashmer, a rotund farmer with rosy cheeks who lived in the neighborhood.  Who knew?   

Any Christmas shopping had been done from the well-worn pages of the Sears & Roebuck catalog. We looked forward to receiving the package from my father’s mother, which always contained her potato candy (a confection made from a boiled potato, powdered sugar and peanut butter).  Christmas Day was a gathering of family. Gifts were simple, few and well chosen.  The afternoon was usually spent playing games or working on the huge jigsaw puzzle that was always set up on holidays.

Close your eyes.  Imagine no charge cards, no over-spending, no retail mania, no exchanges, no batteries,  children who talked instead of texting, adults who visited instead of watching television, and everyone remembering what Christmas is all about.   Oh (sigh) it was a wonderful time.


  1. Our winter celebrations were a lot like what you describe here. Everyone would meet at my Grandmother's house, we'll cook together, sing together, play games... We didn't exchange present until the 6th of January when I was growing up. So, the Solstice was more about dancing and telling stories about the year about to end. I miss those days... I miss times when your last paragraph wouldn't have to be imagined. Sigh.

    By the way, "midnight epiphanies" sounds like a fantastic title.

  2. Quadruple sighs here! Very much like the Christmases of my childhood. Santa brought our tree on Christmas Eve, waiting for our ooohs and aaaahs on the big morning. Simple gifts, stockings full of goodies. A few days prior to the big day, the kids in our Church gathered in a meeting hall behind the church for a Taffy Pull! Where many of my cavities originated I surmise. I enjoyed your reminiscences!!

  3. Unlike the others, so far, this read as a storybook Christmas, not at all like my childhood holiday! Oh, we had our traditions, but nothing similar to those described. Shopping the day after Thanksgiving was one. My mother and I would go to San Francisco, having our specific route year after year.

    1. My guess is you are generations younger than I, Lisa, and thus our memories reflect the era of our childhood.

  4. I have memories from another marriage when Christmases were simple: few gifts, mostly handmade, and simple. I miss those days. Ah, well, life moves on!

  5. Oh, I know. I cherish those kinds of memories. Magic.

  6. Yes, those were the days when we lived much simpler lives. Technology and inflation often make memories very precious.

  7. You make it sound like quite a magical experience!

  8. oh, those were much simpler times!
    i smiled when you learned that Santa was a farmer from the neighbourhood, and the preparation of the bags of treats was at you home. Whatever happened to North Pole? :)
    i really enjoyed reading your delightful post.

  9. A lovely look back at your childhood memories. Thank you.

  10. Oh your story glows and sparkles and I feel the fun. You must have lived in a real small community as the school was only one room and you must have lived remotely that you used catalogues?
    Oh yes it was a celebration to look out for. In Holland we went to church on Christmas Eve and than had food in the middle off the night. No presents as this was done on 5 Dec with St Nicolas. We just had some wonderful family time with lots of food.

  11. Beautiful memories from a gentler time !

  12. Beverly, I love reading your story. Partly because it is my rural Nebraska story too, I walked or rode my bike a mile to our one room school, four of our eight were my cousins and me (I was alone in my class after 2nd grade, the other was pulled by her widower for parochial school). We had a Christmas program, did you do the play that started the butcher who ran out of turkeys? And, I tell my grade as seven, I was sitting on Santa's lap when he asked me if it wasn't me playing around his lake by the creek. I didn't know what was going on for a bit until I realized the truth about Santa.
    For high school I rode my horse to a two room grades 1 - 10 school three miles away. We had three, two boys and one girl, in my class. Besides a Christmas play we also had an 7th and 7th and high school classes play, about ten of us. I drove Dad's pickup to town for grades 11 & 12.
    On Christmas day we, like Magaly's, would all nine of us parents and eight parents would have pot luck at my grandparents.