Wednesday, December 23, 2009

my top ten favourite christmas memories

christmas, 1977(?)

so, you may or may not have noticed, but i am super excited this year about christmas. basically this is because i pretty much had no christmas last year (unless you call eating frozen turkey dinner and working "christmas"), so i'm trying to double up on holiday cheer this year. and even though i'm so amazingly happy to be here in thunder bay celebrating christmas with my other family, this seems as good a time as any to think about the ghosts of christmases past. they're friendly ghosts, don't worry. they're like little caspers. with santa hats.
  1. the more i look at the photograph above, the more i think it might actually be my sister erin and not me (babies... they all look alike!). needless to say, i don't really actually remember this christmas, but there are several things from this photograph i do remember: a) the red carpet we had in our living room until about 1990, b) that little fisher price schoolhouse on the floor under the tree, c) the bird decorations in the tree that came with a little ball that made bird sounds when you turned it on, d) that little angel candle thing on the coffee table, where you lit the candles and they made the angels spin and hit these little bells, that i'm sure my mom still whips out on christmas, e) that hat (i may not actually remember that precise actual hat, but it's a pretty good chance i had other ones exactly like it in various sizes and colours while growing up). anyway, one thing i am sure of is that this was probably one of the best christmases ever, given the look on my (or my sister's) face.
  2. speaking of erin, one year she had an allergic reaction to something (or maybe an asthma attack? tough to say) and ended up being hauled off to emergency after dinner on christmas eve. this might sound like a bad memory, but it wasn't! the nursing staff gave us milk and cookies, we sang christmas carols, read "the night before christmas" to some sick children who were worried that santa wasn't going to be able to find them in the hospital, and somewhere along the line two jaded teenaged girls rediscovered the true meaning of christmas. at least, that's how my sitcom-saturated brain remembers it after all these years. i think what really happened was we sat around being bored until 5 in the morning and maybe ate some chips from the vending machine. but hey, it was different.
  3. when i was in high school, my boyfriend's family had this big neighbourhood party every christmas eve where the adults would hang out upstairs and get drunk and all the kids would hang out in the basement and try to sneak their liquor (it wasn't hard). even though the "kids" were all too old for it, santa would always show up and make us all sit on his lap and give us gifts that the adults had pre-wrapped and hid in the backseat of their car for him to pick up on his way in. all three of the years i went, i got a box of toffifee.
  4. i know that i said i didn't have a christmas last year, but one thing i did do was go to my friend matthew's epic christmas party, which he's been having every year since the beginning of time and which i had always been dying to go to. it was one of the first snowfalls in toronto and the bus ride over there was sketchy, but it was totally worth it to spend six hours getting very, very drunk and then daring people to dunk various things in the crab dip (i went for a tootsie pop).
  5. a couple of weeks ago i told the coast about the most memorable christmas present i ever received, which was an apple iie computer (yes, i know i am a geek). i'll admit, i don't remember anything about that christmas other than opening that present (like i said in the article, the boxes were huge! plus, there are pictures. i know i was in grade six because i had a terrible, terrible perm). but i do remember a few years before that, when we got my dad a "hi fi" (it had two tape decks, a record player, and a cd player! not that we owned any cds) and we wrapped all the components and put them under the tree and then hid the speakers around the house so that he had to search for them (mostly cause they were too big to wrap). then we left everything where it was and took off for sugarloaf to go skiing, and when we got back the house had been broken into and everything had been stolen except the speakers. they even took one of my cabbage patch kids! i remember this well because for some reason i still have the diary i kept that year (it was a ziggy diary and it had a lock on the side) and the thing that i chose to write about was the fact that my dad was sick and when the cops came over he was in his underwear. ahh, kids.
  6. i've been to church, like, twice in my life, and i think my nana went about once every five years, but the christmas before she died we actually got our shit together on christmas eve and went to the church across the street from her apartment for their holiday service. it was actually really nice. the minister told a story about how she spent a christmas on a farm birthing a cow, and then we all lit candles from our neighbours and sang some songs which i even knew the words to, and my nana whispered some inappropriate comments to me about the how ugly the clothes were that the other women in our row were wearing. i miss you, nana!
  7. the last christmas i spent in halifax, erin didn't come home until boxing day, my dad and stepmom were away in florida, and my aunt and uncle were on a cruise. so mom and i spent all day christmas in our pajamas eating chocolate, drinking bailey's and watching all three of the pirates of the caribbean movies. it was awesome.
  8. one year when i was in university, my roommate and i decided we were going to have our own christmas party at our apartment on christmas eve. we bought a whole bunch of little mini-quiches from the grocery store which we were really excited about, and i made some kind of punch that involved rum and lime sherbet. i think a bunch of people showed up, i'm not sure... i just remember meegan and me getting really drunk off the punch and waking up the next morning in my party dress and having to go over to my mom's to open presents all hung over and probably stinking like slightly-sour limes. i was so classy in those days.
  9. when i was in junior high, for like three years in a row i had a sleepover on christmas eve eve with my friends rachel and karen. one year i had been babysitting in the afternoon before the sleepover and got an early christmas present from one of the kids: pink eye. rachel and karen still came over, and we went up to the store (which was the cool place to hang out when we were in junior high) and i wore sunglasses to hide my disgusting eye, even though it was nighttime. i'm pretty sure this is where my lifelong love affair with sunglasses began... although back then the pair i wore were black with neon pink arms and said "days of thunder" on the side that i'm pretty sure i got for free with my happy meal at mcdonald's.
  10. this christmas hasn't even happened yet, so maybe it's not quite fair to count it. but i can tell you right now it's already the best one ever, because i already got everything i wanted. (um, have you seen the pictures of my early christmas presents? i rest my case).
happy holidays, everyone!

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