I was reading Meadowwoods blog (she's my HS and College best friend) tonight and she reminded me of many Christmases past…
1952 - My sister Susan at a friends home at Christmas time... note all that tinsel!
1953 - Yours truly on Christmas. It was my Ginny doll Christmas.
Christmases past...when we hung the lights, then the ornaments, and finally the metallic tinsel – strand by strand so they would look like REAL icicles. Whenever anyone would open a door, the tinsel would shimmer in the draft sparkling like twinkling stars on the milky way. The ornaments, for the most part, were quite unique. Mom loved Christmas time and she always found some new special ornaments for each year. There was a precious old Santa ornament, one of the few Dad’s mother had managed to save from his childhood. There were also the hand painted balls, hand-made angels – including the one on the treetop – well, she was a small doll that mom dressed up in satin and sequins with angel wings to rest atop the tree and proclaim that the “Christ is Born!”
Christmas 1954 - The Gangl Girls (all cousins) at our home.
We had a village under the tree, complete with house and a church (small cardboard houses with sparkle dust sprinkled on them to look like snow) that were lit from within by a special string of lights. There were skaters on the ice rink, Christmas carolers, a miniature train, and a ski mountain with skiers. Dad was quite clever with his hands – as a machinist, bookbinder, and woodworker. He built a 3-4” high stand for the village complete with a white picket fence all around and painted the whole thing pure white. He built miniature steps up to a swing-open gate where Santa was place each year, either as he entered or as he departed, depending upon the date, of course.
Above: 1954 - Our Christmas tree and our first family pet and the village.
One of my most favorite memories from my childhood Christmases was a special private ritual I created for myself. We played lots of Christmas records on the hi-fi (dating myself, aren’t I?) and I would turn off all the other lights and lay next to the tree and gaze at all the lights and the shimmering tinsel and pretend I was in a magical wonderland of beauty, snow and peace…
Winter in Minnesota was always cold, windy, white and bright. Daddy would build us snow forts when there was lots of snow (which was often). Below is a photo of me at the age of 4 with my sister, Elaine, at the age of 9, inside our snow fort - 1947/48.
In the coldest winters, Daddy would flood the back yard with water for an ice skating rink.
In high school, St. Joseph's Academy (St. Paul, MN), I belonged to the Glee Club and every year we sang the Christmas portions of Handel's Messiah. Here I am with a girl friend. The next photo is the entire Glee Club in 1960.
Our tree with village and gifts in 1960...