Thought that title might get you!  This is not a memory of Christmas protests, but a post written while protesting that the holiday has started already.  We have a local radio station that I love and they play all holiday music usually starting on Thanksgiving Day.  For some reason this year it started TODAY!  I have had it on off and on all day as I have been busy creating and have been listening to Christmas music!  It is not even Thanksgiving!  That is next week!  Stop rushing me headlong toward the end of the year already!  Enough is enough!

Now on to the Christmas memory…

My mother was always a big kid at the holidays.  She loved the entire experience of the decorating, baking, cooking, making things, and generally getting really, really excited.  One of our holiday rituals was to cut down our own Christmas tree.  All of the kids would come home to take part and to get their trees, too.  City trees at tree lots were too expensive so we would all pile into Mom’s VW bus and head off to the tree farm where, for a third of the cost, we could pick and cut down our own tree.  Mom always saved this trip for the weekend before Christmas. 

There were 9 of us piled in her VW bus.  We took out the seats in the back and all sat on the floor.  We sang Christmas songs along with the radio, wrestled, and had a great time.  When we arrived at the lot we would borrow one of the tree farm’s saws and then start out on our trek for the perfect tree.  Mom always had to have the long needled trees without exception.  It was her favorite and she had it every year. 

After we identified the tree my brother Pat cut it down and then we took turns dragging it back to the VW.  We would then tie it to the roof with the two other trees for my sister, Debbie, and my brother, Bob, who had their own homes by that time.  We then would head home for dinner and decorating. 

Mom and I were both allergic to the pine trees, but every year we ended up being the ones who decorated the tree.  We would both end up with itchy eyes, runny noses, bumps on our arms, and one lovely tree.  Mom kept every ornament we made for her over the years as well as some vintage ones and new ones, too. We placed them on the tree and reminded each other of our creativity as we went along.  There was the maccaroni stars, the painted pictures, the yarn God’s eyes, and on and on…

We would then, when it was all done, sit down to a dinner of Mom’s lasagna.  Nobody made it like my Mom!   She used mozarella, parmesan, and ricotta cheese.  It weighed about 15 pounds when she was done and you couldn’t handle more than one piece.  She also added sliced pepperoni to it.  It was all the better with Mom’s home canned tomato sauce on it.  YUMMY!

I loved as a little girl laying under the tree and watching the ornaments spin and the lights twinkle.  I still do that today when I am finished decorating the tree.   There is nothing like the tree from the bottom up!

We have since all grown up, gone our separate ways, Mom and Dad have gone to Heaven, and I now decorate an artificial tree.  The memories are always there flooding back as I decorate my tree.  I pull out the Santas I have collected over the years when I travel and when I am thrifting.  They are a diverse group with the lighthouse Santa from my trip to Portsmouth, New Hampshire; the various beachy Santas from my birthday weekends at Virginia Beach; the Santas painted onto starfishes I bought on a business trip to Sarasota, Florida.  They all smile at me from my tree and I feel my Christmases past rushing back to greet me. 

So even though this post started out as a protest it has me feeling very warm and nostalgic.  I am also missing my Mom and Dad.  Thankfully, in a week when I put up my tree they will both be there with me again.  If only in my heart.

What is your great Christmas memory?