Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Memories of Christmases (Long) Past

I have always loved Christmas. That special time of year when we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ; when houses and stores are decorated with lights and bows and Christmas trees; when everyone is most people are just a little nicer to one another. Rob used to give me a hard time for singing Christmas carols too early. I've toned it down a bit in recent years (but I still love to sing them, though nobody would enjoy listening to me sing them).

I was going through old photos and came across quite a few from Christmases when I was growing up. This is one of the reasons that I think taking pictures is so important. I do remember a few of these years, but most of these memories would be lost forever without the photos. 

I was born in New Jersey and lived there until I was six years old. I think we had a few white Christmases when I lived up there. I remember being so confused my first Christmas in Florida. We moved in July. I didn't understand why the leaves never changed colors and didn't fall off the trees in autumn, why it never got very cold, and most of all, why it didn't snow around Christmastime. We didn't have a chimney in our Florida house, so I wondered if Santa would even bring any presents. But, he found me. Santa Claus was always very good to me growing up - I must have been on the "Nice" list. ;) 

To this day, every year, I wish for a white (or at least a cold) Christmas. Needless to say, I haven't seen a white Christmas since I was little. Sometimes I get my wish for cold weather, but most years I don't. This year, the forecast is for a high of 80 on Christmas day. :/ Oh well, like my former neighbor Judy always told me, "Jesus was born under palm trees, Nancy, not in a snow bank." 

Anyway, I'd like to share some visions of Christmases from my childhood with you. If you are a child of the 70s, I'll bet you'll recognize some of the toys! :) Enjoy...

The New Jersey Years
Santa and Me 1972
I had just turned 2. Either it was a warm Christmas in NJ or 
I was very cold when we went outside. 
That was one BIG Santa!
Big Mouth Singers! :D
One of my favorite toys!
Santa and Me 1973
I look a little bit like an elf
and Santa looks like he's had a long day.

I got a Sit N Spin and a ginormous wrist watch!
Wonder if I could tell time?

My first car.
And it was a convertible!
Sweet! :)

Santa and Me 1974
I LOVED that dress with the mouse on it, though I'm surprised that I'm wearing blue leotards.
My white ones must have had a hole in them.
This Santa looks a little creepy.

Too cool! Me and my big sister, Melanie (who looks so much like my Alana!)
playing with my McDonald's play set.
The cash register dinged (it was a bell - no electronics back then) and it had a drive-thru!
Observe the Army tanks in the parking lot.
That would be the work of my brother, Harvey.

And guess who drew this beautiful picture on my new chalk board.
Yup, same big brother.
Would you like to see him?

1974 Family Photo (minus my sister, who was taking it).
That's my big brother on the right.
Explains a lot, doesn't it?
(Sorry Harv, I had to share it.)
Note to my co-workers, I come by my footwear choices honestly.
(Comfort and warmth over fashion.)
Santa and Me 1975.
There are my white leotards!
Me (looking like a boy) with the gumdrop tree.
I loved the gumdrop tree. Once we moved to Florida, we
couldn't use it anymore because the gumdrops would melt off.

Oh yeah - 1975 was a good year!
Who remembers the Pizza Hut oven?
Only 3 hours to cook a nasty bit of dough and tomato sauce with a lightbulb!
I also spy the Weebles Tree House (which had a secret door in the trunk), and
Perfection, which I didn't enjoy because I was such a Nervous Nellie.
To this day the ticking timer on VSC's Anagrams game drives me crazy!

The original Jaws game.
Note to readers: I didn't see Jaws at age 5 - but seeing it later did start my fear of the ocean.
Wonder what this would go for on eBay?

Santa and Me 1976.
I look like I have a candy cane growing out of my head.
Santa looks like he knows he's setting me up.
Ah, the Barbie Fashion Plaza.
This was definitely on my Christmas list.
It looked much better on TV, though.
Try to balance a Barbie by her feet on an string-driven escalator.

The Florida Years

My first Christmas in Florida - 1977
The giant barbie head was one of my
favorite Christmas gifts ever. 

This was the closest I ever got to being a ballerina.
You can dress a little girl with no coordination up,
but you can't make her graceful.

Christmas 1977
My dollhouse that I loved.
Notice the 70's beige with brown trim.
BTW, that black iron ice cream chair still sits in
the exact same spot in my parents' house today.

The Awkward Years
(still in Florida)
Christmas 1978 (?)
My first guess of 1980 can't be right because that's definitely
my 4th Grade bad haircut.
Check out my Ziggy bag and Merlin!
Oh, and the groovy 70's denim ensemble.
Christmas 1979 (?)
This photo is wrong on so many levels,
I don't even know where to begin.
I do remember stringing the popcorn on the tree myself.
I might have eaten a little too. :/
Photos from 1980-1983 were likely burned or destroyed by another means.
(Although I'm sure they'd be the most amusing!)

Christmas 1984 (?)
The Year of the Mullet
(Sadly, I'm sure I had a mullet on more than one Christmas.)
This was a toughie to date, but judging by the fact that
I don't have blonde John Taylor bangs, I'm thinking
1984 was correct.
Christmas 1987
My Senior year in high school.
Everything about me was big - from the hair that a comb
would never go through to the enormous zit on my cheek (no Photoshop).
Never mind the fact that I weighed more when this photo was
taken then I weighed when I gave birth to either of my children.
Things got better, though. The following month, I joined Weight Watchers AND got my first boyfriend!
Christmas wish granted! ;)
OK, maybe it was a Christmas miracle - I'll take it!

Thank you for joining me on this trip down Memory Lane. If you knew me during those years (or even if you didn't), I hope you laughed a little and were reminded of your own Christmases growing up. 

Love, family and friends have always meant a lot to me, but never more than now.
Wishing you a Merry Christmas and Peace and Joy for 2012.

With Love and Aloha ~ Nancy

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