Christmas Memories of an 80’s Childhood

The season of Christmas is upon us. It always makes me think back to my favorite memories of Christmas growing up.

Christmas Eve is a magical time. If we were traveling to my aunt’s house, I remember being put into my pajamas and driven home. “What’s that red flashing light in the sky?” my dad would ask. As we looked out the car windows, we’d gaze into the night sky and see the blinking light. “Rudolph’s nose, I bet!” I’d respond. I just knew it was his nose glowing bright. By this time in December, I would have watched the special on TV and was thinking about how Rudolph’s nose would guide Santa’s sleigh. My sister, brother, and I would hardly be able to contain ourselves squealing to our father to hurry home so we could get into our beds before Santa came! True delight and anticipation would fill our hearts. Little did we know that red light was just a satellite moving through the night sky.

Another favorite memory of Christmas time is decorating the tree. It was fun to revisit all of the bulbs as we placed them around the tree. When it was all done and I was little, I loved to lie down underneath the tree and gaze up. We had many shiny, metallic bulbs which would reflect the colored lights and distort our faces as we looked upon them. I would lie there for quite a while, just staring at the different bulbs and looking at how my face would take on a gold, red, or silver tone of the ornament.

Christmas time meant spending Christmas Day at my grandparent’s house. They lived right next door. We’d travel over on foot along the “moonlight” trail (a path through the weeded strip of land that separated our property from my grandparent’s). I remember having red fingers from eating red pistachios. They were our favorite, despite our fingers being sore and red from cracking each shell open and eating the sweet meats inside.

My final memory is that of tasting, and eventually drinking, my mother’s eggnog. This was a recipe she learned from my father’s mother. The German recipe involves a process of cooking and stirring eggs, vanilla sugar, and half a pint of Vodka together over low heat. The end result is a thickened, sweet and powerful eggnog that as a child I remember licking the adult’s glasses to taste what was left on them, and as an adult I enjoy even today. My mother makes everyone a fifth and has taught my brother how to make the special drink.

The holiday season brings along many special memories and traditions, and these are but a few which stick out in my mind. We continue to make special memories year after year.

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