family history

More Mom Stories…

Christmas’s with My Mother

Christmas with my Mother has always been good.  She always figured out something for us for Christmas.  We may not always like what we get, but she works hard to get us something every year.  Last year, she spent much of the year crocheting blankets for each of us.  She had gotten a bunch of yarn from a friend and she turned it all into beautiful blankets.  Married Daughter got a beautiful white one for a wedding present. 

Here are some of her Christmas memories:

We never bought a Christmas tree, Pa always went out into the field and cut one down.   He would watch for a good one over the year and at Christmas time go cut that one down.  The only problem with that, there weren’t many on the farm and the farm was rented.  Sometimes he would cross the road and take one from the neighbor’s woods.

One year, he could not find a suitable tree.  We endured much teasing about us not having a tree.  Then, on Christmas Eve, Pa and the boys disappeared for what seemed like forever and came back with the ugliest, biggest tree ever!  The branches and trunk were all crooked, along with huge gaps where there were no branches.  My Ma just laughed.  By the time we finished decorating the tree, it was beautiful.

That evening at supper, the boys could not contain themselves any longer.  They just had to tell us where they had gotten the tree.  They had climbed to the very top of the only pine tree left on the farm and lopped the top right off!  We could not believe they had climbed that high, so as soon as dinner was cleared, we all got dressed warmly, and ran out to the field to see.  Sure enough, there it was.  The top completely gone!

The boys were very proud of their part in getting that tree.

I don’t know if that landlord had anything to say about that, but here it is 70 years later and that tree is still standing there.  We went to see the house last summer and there it was standing proudly in the cow pasture, looking like someone had cut it in half.

I looked at it as a tribute to Christmases gone by.

When she was a girl, they didn’t have money for Christmas presents.  Here are some of her memories of Christmas presents.

As a kid, we never got gifts from the store.  Sometimes the local community club would bring us gifts of toys they had collected and repaired.  My Ma would crochet us hats, scarves and mittens and we would get those for Christmas.  Sometimes she would sew a shirt, but most of the time, we would get things from Salvation Army.

After Pa died, Ma would wrap up the damndest things, which she was always so proud of.  Sometimes, the gift you gave her the year before. (re-gifting was a normal thing in my family.  I laughed out loud when I heard them talking about this great idea on the radio a few years ago! They were talking about the idea of re-gifting!!)

If you said anything to Ma about it, or laughed, she would just look at you and say, “What’s the matter? Don’t you like it?”  One year someone gave her a pair of panty hose.  She took them out and tried to get them on, but they just didn’t work for her.  She stuffed them back in the pack with a rubber band around them and gave them to me the next Christmas.  I just laughed!

We would tell her that “I gave you that last year!” and she would just smile and say, “Well, I spect you did!”  After that, we would often see the names of who gave her what the year before on the gift we received!

Sometimes the gifts were wrapped in old Christmas paper.  She would always smooth it back out and reuse it.  (She was the ultimate recycler!!)  Sometimes she would use newspaper.  It didn’t matter to us.  We all loved her and her gifts and it made Christmas memorable!  We all understood that she did the best she could with the resources she had.

The boys would all get either white socks or a hanky tied up in ribbon.  Sometimes it would be gloves.  All had been in a big black garbage bag and she would pull it out and throw it to the appropriate family member.  We would all watch in anticipation as you never knew what was in that bag!


Funny how we remember things isn’t it??  I loved those Christmases with Grandma and all the Aunts and Uncles.  We got together every year and celebrated together.  It’s getting harder now with the family spread out all over the country.  Many of us still live here in Wisconsin. Some who don’t, try to make it back when they can.  All of us try to get back when we can to whatever family gathering there is. 

All of us have very fond memories of Christmases with the Aunts and Uncles, cousins and Grandma.  





2 thoughts on “More Mom Stories…

  1. I remember my grandma saving the wrapping paper to re-use, and using newspaper as well. I need to ask my mom about her Christmases and their gifts. I’ve been collecting stories from her, and this would be a good one, I think.


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