The interesting thing is that once I got to thinking about it, most of my really vivid Christmas memories are, uh, bad. I really like Christmas, I still get kind of excited about it, and I had the whole "big anticipation of Christmas!" thing as a kid, but I don't remember too many Christmases in enough detail to really talk about them.
I don't want it to sound like all my Christmases were miserable, because they truly weren't! Most of them were great! They just don't stand out all that much ... It's not really specific recollections so much as a lot of little memories of cutting Christmas trees in the woods, or shaking out our stockings by the wood stove in a cold house in the morning. Nothing that really stands out as a "best of" memory.
But then I thought, oh hey, what about 2008! This was one of the only Christmases that I really did anything as an adult. I spent most of December at my sister's place that year. She was living in a little rented mobile home trailer, but we bought a tree and a whole bunch of blue and silver decorations, and we dressed up the trailer beautifully, and cooked lots of tasty foods, and watched tons of stupid Christmas movies and TV shows. So yeah, I think that one is probably it. :D
Another of my really memorable Christmas memories from childhood also involves my sister, although I'm not sure if this would really count as a good memory, but it's one of those things that feels incredibly good once you've done it, I guess? We were around age 15 and 13, I guess, or 14 and 12 (we're 2 years apart), and had been left to watch the homestead by ourselves. Like I've mentioned in some other posts, I grew up in bush Alaska, and there weren't any roads. Our parents went into town to do Christmas shopping and got stuck there by a blizzard that dumped 2 feet of wet, heavy snow. The nearest place where you could land an airplane (small planes, on floats in the summer and skis in winter) was, and is, a few miles from the house. Two days before Christmas, we set out to break trail so that my mom and little brother could get home. (I can't remember if this included my dad as well. I seem to recall parents, plural, but that would make us even younger, and I don't think we were that small; I don't think they ever left us alone out there until I, as the oldest child, was in my early teens.)
Anyway, we had the unenviable task of breaking 3 miles of trail in heavy, dense wet snow. We quickly found out that the snowmobile could not fight its way through the snow; it just bogged down and overheated. So we took a pair of snowshoes with us, and we would take turns. One sister would strap on the snowshoes and break trail, while the other one sat on the snowmobile and rested. Then she'd catch up on the snowmobile and we would trade off. Snowshoeing through wet, heavy snow is absolutely miserable and exhausting, and even with the trail broken out by snowshoes, the snowmobile was still pushed to its absolute limits to wallow through the sloppy snow without falling off the trail. (We weren't very strong and had trouble keeping it pointed straight in those conditions.) It took us literally ALL DAY to make it down to the plowed airstrip, and I think we ended up spending the night at a neighbor's because we were bone tired, it was dark, and there wasn't even a chance that we could make it home that night. But hey, we had a planeful of parents and presents waiting for us, so we still had a good Christmas. :D
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