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Christmas Anticipation

Santa TJS

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Well for me since I was a small boy as soon as the Halloween decor is stored my thoughts turn to Christmas.Being a child in the fifties Christmas was never rushed the way it is today. It would be unheard of to see a Christmas tree before Thanksgiving I saw the first one for sale in September this year.But in my house tradition ruled. Christmas decorations were put up the day before Christmas and were up until January 6th.Being addicted to Christmas at such an early age and comming from a home where tradition rules,made waiting all that much harder.To break the ice my father would bring down the boxes of Christmas lights about two weeks before Christmas always on a Sunday afternoon. This annual ritual of pulling out all the strings of large bulbed lights and the window candles for a test was an exciting time for me.Back in the day the candle holders in the front windows had I think had about six lights. In those days if one burned out they all went out so testing to find the burned out bulb was a chore.It was a great delight for a child to find the bad bulb and get the lights going. The next couple of weeks were agonizing with the anticipation of the the big day. The next big event was going to the tree lot for the tree and wreath, usually the Saturday before Chrismas. Each day that tree would stand in the stairs to the cellar in a bucket of frozen water waiting to make its grand apperance on the 24th. One thing that made waiting all the harder was more and more people were putting up the decorations earlier. Fake trees were comimg into use and I suspect that it gave rise to earlier appearance of the tree. My mother who was born on Christmas saw how the anticipation was affecting me so she got me a small white feather table top tree to put in my room. With one string of lights and some glass decorations it was the greatest thing I thought. My father would look at this white tree and say "Only God can make a tree" that was Ok as long as I had this little tree to bind me over until the 24th arrived. Another big event was the visit to Remick's department store to visit Santa and get the photo (black & white)it was the fifty's after all. There was a Christmas parade downtown. the cubscout party.Dad was Santa, Christmas events at school ( it was politically correct to have Christmas Events in the 50's). The big day arrived when the tree would come into the house,my mother running around moving everything that might get broken.Then the ritual of sawing the bottom of the tree,clippng some off the top and my fathers annual fight getting the tree into a very old metal tree stand. Once that was done and the debate over which was the best side of the tree to face the room. The best part was lights and decorations. My dad did all the lights as we stood back and admired his work. Then came the glass ornaments ,we all helped. My dad saved the top for a very special Santa light my folks bought in the 40's. I have it today. A small Santa holding a buble light.Once the ornaments were on the finale was the tinsle. made of lead back then. The lights went on and my mother and dad and my sister and I would stand back and admire the magic of it all.So when Halloween is over this week the anticipation begins for me. I will check my lights,bring out a few items and start getting ready.Unlike those days gone by I am a early decorator The Friday after Thanksgiving the first of several trees in my home goes up. That little light up Santa that graced the tree tops of my youth gets center place in the middle of the wreath over my fireplace. I will sit and look at that Santa and the memories of Christmas past will fill my heart with anticipation as it did so many years ago.


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