Writing Prompt: Write about your relationship with Santa Claus.
Most families, it seems, have their unique Old St. Nick relationships. Write about the specifics of Santa Claus in your family. How did you feel about him? When did you discover the truth, and how did you feel about it?
I definitely believed in Santa Claus. We left a plate of homemade cookies and a glass of milk out for him every year. Our Christmas stockings were knee socks hung on the ends of our beds. No gift from Santa in your stocking was wrapped; he didn’t have time for that. Interestingly, I don’t think I ever had an opportunity to visit Santa and sit on his lap. If I did, I certainly don’t remember it. There were never presents under our tree until Christmas morning. I remember being so excited on Christmas Eve that I couldn’t go to sleep and I would lay there and try to wish myself asleep. I knew Santa wouldn't come until I was fast asleep, and I knew that once I went to sleep, time would fly. My brother and I emptied our stockings in our rooms and then woke up my parents. Whoever woke up first showed up in the other’s room--stocking in tow. When did I learn the truth? No idea, but it must not have been traumatic.
We did things a bit differently with our kids. We went to Breakfast with Santa. Sarah's first experience was at two years old, and she found it rather overwhelming. We visited Santa at the mall. We have photos from some of the breakfasts but few, if any, from visits at the mall. That seems very strange now. Perhaps I ought to sort through old albums and be sure. Stocking gifts are wrapped—although rather casually. For years, all the gifts from Santa were wrapped in special giftwrap. We’ve always put presents under our tree way before Christmas (as I finish wrapping), but never the ones from Santa. They were added to the pile after the kids were asleep. Stockings are a big part of Christmas morning, and we still fill them although we are all adults. We do stockings first and then presents. When did my children find out the truth? No idea about that either. But I intend to ask when they come home this year.
Here's Amy's second writing prompt for Christmas. (Now if I could just keep up with Shimelle's Journal My Christmas prompts as easily.)
Writing Prompt: When you think of your childhood Christmases, what is the most vivid memory you have?
I found my immediate response to this prompt somewhat surprising as I really hadn’t thought about Christmas at my Aunt Alys’ in years. But those after-Christmas celebrations are among my most vivid Christmas memories. My mother had two brothers and a sister who lived in Toledo, Ohio near my grandparents. After celebrating Christmas at home south of Columbus, we drove to my grandparents and had a second Christmas at my aunt’s. There were thirteen cousins and it was always a noisy event, but to me, one that was truly celebratory. Christmas at our house was a rather quiet event, and this was a huge contrast. In addition, my aunt had an elaborately decorated house with two Christmas trees. One (green) was decorated totally in blue ornaments and sat in the living room. The other (white) was covered in gold ornaments. It was a Martha Stewart house well before Martha’s day. The icing on the cake was the consignment shop my aunt ran from a downstairs room. We (the girls) could go in and try on clothes, shoes, jewelry, furs. . . it added to the aura of elegance. In reality, my mother’s family was not the elegant sort, but that’s how I remember Christmas at Aunt Alys’.
Amy Sorenson has started a Writing Challenge on her blog. I took one of her BPS journaling courses and loved it. Ever since then I’ve subscribed to her blog and decided I’d join in on some of the challenges. I had no trouble writing to the first prompt.
Writing Prompt: Write about a photo you wish someone had taken
I think that we have clearer memories of the experiences we have pictures of, because the pictures help us involve another sense (vision) with the memory. But I also think that the majority of people twenty or thirty years ago didn't think about taking pictures the way we do now (obviously, digital cameras have a huge impact on how many photos we take and what we photograph), so we don't have very many pictures to help jar our memories. Maybe this writing prompt will help you remember something you've forgotten. You might want to give some of the back story before you write about the wished-for photo, like I did here. Happy writing!
I wish someone had taken pictures of my mom. She died when I was twenty, and I don’t think I ever saw a camera in my father’s hands. There are so few photographs of her and the few I’ve found recently were taken by me as a child. They are of poor quality and most of them are very unflattering. One in particular is of her washing dishes. She’s not smiling and she looks so tired. It’s just not the way I remember her. She was always self-conscious about her weight, and she never looks comfortable in the few photographs I have. One exception are some black & white snapshots taken on her wedding day.
Actually, my memories are pretty vague, and Amy is correct—many of my memories are tied to photographs. I’ve never been one to recall past events with much clarity or detail. (Probably one of the reasons I think scrapbooking is so important.) I do know from stories that my mom worked too hard and tried to do too much. My father once sat me down after I had made a comment about all I needed to do and told me that I should back off my list. He said my mother’s expectations of herself were so high that she caused herself a lot of unnecessary pain. It’s taken me a long time to put my To Do list in perspective, but I hope I’ve learned a lesson from that story. And I do try to get my camera in other people’s hands so there is a better record of my presence in our family.
It's been too hard to keep up with Her Space: My Space recently. By the time I get home from work, it's too late to post for that day, and often too dark to take pictures. But, I'm home today, so here is chilly. And chilly, it is. I took a personal day to go to an appointment that has now been canceled because of bad weather. We rarely get this kind of snow in early December. But its windy, cold, and snowy here in western New York.
You can almost see the chimes blowing in the wind.
Last year I took Shimelle's Christmas Journal class and it turned out to be one of my all time favorite projects. When we decorated for Christmas, I put all the Christmas scrapbooks and albums out, and I took time to reread all of last year's journaling and I wondered what else I could say about Christmas. (See sidebar for last year's pages.) An unexpected benefit of the class was being able to participate again this year--for free. I couldn't decide what to do, but tonight decided that every year has its special moments, that I would do the pages that "spoke" to me, and I would keep it really simple. So here are Days 1-3:
Most of the products are from a Making Memories pack I picked up at Target earlier this year.