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Beyond the Lone Islands

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Christmas Gifts and Memories

Advent Calendar / 4 December


Behind the door in my advent calendar today was someone who came bearing gifts.

Were Christmas gifts important in your childhood traditions?
Can your remember any special gifts in the past?
What about now, how do you feel about Christmas gifts?

Thanks to my mother, I remember some of the things I got for Christmas when I was 16 months old. Besides putting photos in an album for me, she also added some extra drawings:

“Oh, so many Christmas presents!”

I remember some of these toys. The two look-alike dolls, one big, one small… They were both stuffed with straw, with celluloid faces; not quite as soft as many modern cuddly toys, and certainly not as washable. With time, they got rather worn and dirty, and I think mum had some struggle getting me to give them up eventually! (When, I cannot say.) The big doll was named Britta, and the small one Anna. That is not written down anywhere, that’s just still in my head. Both names occur in a well-known story by our beloved children’s book author Astrid Lindgren. But I can’t have known that at the age of 16 months. Can I? (At what age do little girls start giving names to their dolls?) The little round baby doll I have no memory of except for this picture.

The dachshund on wheels was made of wood and that one I think had rather a long life. Might even have been inherited by my brother (six years my junior). Or did he have his own? The leash used to get tangled up in the wheels. The cat was also made of wood, and that you could pick apart and put together again.

Nowadays I neither buy nor receive a lot of Christmas gifts. There are a couple of friends I usually exchange a small something with, just for fun… (Neither of us have any children or grandchildren.)

I can’t help it, I still like the anticipation of opening parcels…Winking smile Perhaps I should wrap some for myself this year. Mind you, that doesn’t mean one has to go out and buy all new stuff… I’m thinking I might wrap up some of the DVD’s or books I’ve already got waiting, that I have not seen or read yet (or that I want to re-watch, or reread). Or CD’s I haven’t listened to for a while. If I make the parcels now, I might even have forgotten by Christmas what’s in each of them. It looks like I’ll be spending Christmas  on my own this year. Or most of it, anyway. In any case, it will be different from Christmases past. I think it might actually be a good idea to prepare some half-random half-surprises for myself. Not all to be opened at once, but when or if I get slammed by the feeling that I don’t quite know what to do next!


Sandra said...

fond memmories of Christmas, we were very, very poor, but mother always had lots of presents, she struggle all year long buying presents all year long and hiding them. I loved Christmas and all things presents until my children moved out and there were no children. now we do not do gifts at all for anything, hubby and i feel the same way. I dont like just any gift, it has to be something i like, so i prefer to buy my own.
gifts as a chid were dolls and books and paper dolls and clothes. when i was 8 I got a bride doll that was almost as tall as i was. books were my favorite gifts.

Ginny said...

What an adorable picture of you as a toddler! Growing up, my family were Jehovah's Witnesses, no celebrating Christmas!! The other little kids in school did not understand this. Why not, unless we were Jewish? I spent my grade school years wanting to be Baptist or Catholic like most of the other kids. I never had a Christmas tree till I chose my own religion and was married. I will post about this some time this month.

GB said...

I have a degree of déja vu in this. I have never been a great fan of Christmas since I ceased to be a small boy when I used to love the fact that Uncle Eric came up from several hundred miles away to see the family. I really am rather a Bah Humbug sort of person when it comes to the festivities. If I wished to celebrate the birth of Christ then that would be a religious festival for me. Commercialisation of Christmas brings out the very worst in me. Sorry.

If I want to buy a present for someone I want to do it when I see the right thing or when I feel it is the right moment. Christmas when one feels under pressure to buy regardless is not a pleasurable experience for me nor, I suspect, for many people.

I think that I might try and find the time to blog on this!

DawnTreader said...

I never really saw the point in buying meaningless last-minute gifts either. Our family traditions in this respect were really rather modest, and we usually tried to give things wanted or needed or at least useful. And I think that already in my teens I stopped exchanging gifts with relatives I rarely saw.

But I still like making parcels! So I sometimes tried to come up with some little extras just to make a bigger pile of Christmas parcels (which otherwise would have been very small indeed in later years).


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