"Again the Ghost sped on, above the black and heaving sea--on, on--until, being far away, as he told Scrooge, from any shore, they lighted on a ship. They stood beside the helmsman at the wheel, the look-out in the bow, the officers who had the watch; dark, ghostly figures in their several stations; but every man among them hummed a Christmas tune, or had a Christmas thought, or spoke below his breath to his companion of some bygone Christmas Day, with homeward hopes belonging to it. And every man on board, waking or sleeping, good or bad, had had a kinder word for another on that day than on any day in the year; and had shared to some extent in its festivities; and had remembered those he cared for at a distance, and had known that they delighted to remember him." ~ Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol
My memories of Christmas have a lot to do with my grandparents and spending it with them in their apartment in Manhattan along with three cats! Happy times filled with a fake green plastic Christmas tree with silver tinsel that all the cats usually tried to nibble at and then threw up hairballs all over the place! My grandma's RUM FILLED fruitcake that she made and gave to our neighbors as gifts! The tree covered in those blinking lights, twirled all around it top to bottom as I would sit in the dark in the cosiest recliner I could find and just watch the lights twinkle and cast red and green shadows against brown panelling; it was the seventies, after all!
I remember making Christmas decorations in school and my family hanging them around the tree proudly but they were so hideous! Singing Christmas carols in my church choir, performing in the Christmas play usually narrating it and visiting nursing homes with my school choir to sing to them and hopefully cheer them up! There was always lots of love in the home which never usually came in the form of a Christmas tree towering with presents underneath, mostly for me but a feeling of love and the smell of homecooking and Christmas music coming out of the radio in the kitchen that always played while my grandma cooked and I watched or sometimes helped out! We had stockings with our names on it, even for the cats and watching those disney television specials that were on late at night like Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer and baby Happy New Year with those ears that stuck out every time he was asked to take off his top hat which he wore to hide his ears because children and adults always teased him mercilessly, making him cry. I just always wanted to scoop him up and give him big hugs!
Where does Dickens fit in? Well, lets see, it all goes back to a favorite childhood memory with a little girl who became my first friend when we met in kindergarten. Her mother had an oversized coloring book of A Christmas Carol that we would color in on playdates sometimes and then I can remember some nights on sleepovers, her mom would cuddle up with both of us and read it to us doing all the voices after dinner before bedtime!
Later as a young teen, I read it and saw the play every time it came around to Broadway or Off Broadway theatre. Who doesn't enjoy Ebenezer Scrooge's gruffness and cheapness! Everyone knows a Scrooge don't they? Or who doesn't fall in love with tiny tim and his family.
For me it was the ghostly visits to Scrooge and the London atmoshphere; those soapy shop windows that lined the London streets! I never seemed to find those in Manhattan except during Christmas week when my grandpa, every single year of my entire life, would take me to Lord & Taylor department store on Fifth Avenue to see their annual window displays! Every window a different theme. I highly recommend walking around Fifth Avenue at Christmas with the smell of roasting chestnuts eminating from vendor carts and men dressed in Santa Claus outfits ringing a bell standing on a corner asking for money for a local charity!
Well, those are some of my memories that stand out during this wonderful holiday season.
SO TO EACH AND EVERY READER AND FRIEND I WISH YOU A CHRISTMAS AND NEW YEAR SEASON FILLED WITH LOVE, LAUGHTER AND KINDNESS! OH, AND IN MY VERY OWN WAY, A GREAT BIG HUG TO YOU ALL!
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