Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Christmas from Across
The holiday season in Maine, the state where they say Christmas trees are born, is always a special time for every girl and boy. My childhood memories of this time are filled with many family times with my brother and sisters. The excitement began to build soon after the turkey had been cleared off the table on Thanksgiving. But the start of the holiday season was not marked by holiday sales at local stores, decorations being hung, or carols heard while shopping. For us, the true start of Christmas was the arrival of a simple calendar from my Aunt Gloria, who was never home for Christmas. My mother's sister taught school at a US Air Force base in Aviano, Italy. She couldn't make it home for the holiday, but she sent us packages that we stared at in amazement til the 25th. But it was the simple advent calendar, that Mom hung on the refrigerator door, that really marked the beginning of the season. As soon as it arrived, usually just after Turkey Day, we would tear open the package to see the scene depicted that year. Some times it was Santa in his workshop, other years it was a beautiful nativity scene, but we would sit on the floor and take in every little section of the design. Each morning in December we'd take turns opening the little doors to spy what might be hidden behind the day. Sometimes it was a little bear or toy drum... so simple, but what fun and smiles it brought to our home. Did my aunt ever know, that over in Europe at the foot of the rugged Alps, that a few dollars would bring us such happiness and cheer? I bet not, but it did for all of us, Mom and Dad included. Now, as we do with all our special holiday memories, we pass them along to our children. So this morning, we rush to the kitchen again and seek out today, December 16th, open a small paper door, smile at the 'dish of cookies' and remember back to many Christmases growing up in Maine.