One of my favorite things this time of year is seeing the Christmas lights on people’s homes, especially when it’s the traditional standard colored lights because they take me back to the early 80’s and so many wonderful memories of Christmas with my parents. There’s something so comforting about tradition, and as I was walking Biggie around our neighborhood this evening I was reminded of those special traditions that my parents always found a way to make possible for my brother and I as we were growing up. They are memories that I always keep in my heart and that make their way to my mind every Christmas.
I remember my dad getting up on the roof every year to put up our Christmas lights, this was by far my favorite part because there is something so beautiful about those bright shiny colors lighting up the dark night and reminding everyone about the special holiday season. I even remember feeling a little bit sad when those new modern hanging lights became more popular and pushed away the traditional lights like an old pair of shoes. Although they looked pretty they just weren’t the same.
My second favorite part was the day the four of us would go pick out our Christmas tree and then come home to decorate it. My mom would take out some boxes filled with our Christmas ornaments and once my dad had the tree all lit up he would give my brother and I full reign to decorate it as we wished. My dad would play the Little Drummer Boy in the background and he would serve himself a little glass of Cognac and light his pipe, it was the only time he would take his pipe out, and he would sit back and watch my brother and I decorate our tree. Every now and then I would glance at my dad and see this glistening in his eyes and he would smile and wink at me, and I realize now that I was catching him in his own private moment of nostalgia and happiness. My dad never had those moments as a child and he tried to make sure we had these traditions.
You could always tell which side had been decorated by my brother and which side had been mine. My brother would always throw the decorations in random spots while I on the other hand would try to space things out and not put two green ornaments next to each other but separate them by a red one, haha. It’s so funny to think back on that now because I see how much of our personality traits were apparent in those little gestures. My brother was alwasy so hyper and active, we have videos of decorating the Christmas tree and then my brother suddenly dropping to the ground to do the worm or snake or whatever that move was called. And then there was me, the endless chatter box. I would pretend to have a microphone in my hand and conduct a detailed story of our tree decorating and then try to interview my brother. It’s no wonder that without fail my mom would have to tell my dad to calm us down and finish decorating the tree.
Those are the memories that have stayed in my heart throughout all these years and so every year when I glance that first decorated house with the traditional Christmas lights I smile as I remember those times with my parents and I too now get that glistening look in my eyes…