Step 45 - 80s/90s Holiday Memories: Part 3 - Kristine, Kelley, Jessica, Joy, Lindsay, Kim, Melissa, Sarah C. & Sarah M.

Join Nikki & Brooke as they share holiday stories from their friends Kristine, Kelley, Jessica, Joy, Lindsay, Kim, Melissa, Sarah C. and Sarah M! If you aren't in the holiday spirit yet - you will be after listening to these new stories!

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Kristine's Holiday Memoires

The Christmas season started the weekend after Thanksgiving in our house, a tradition I keep today even though my kids want the decorations up right after Halloween. My mom decorated every inch of the house, turning it into a spectacular sparkling place. We would wait until the 2nd weekend in December to go get our tree, most of the time from the Boy Scout lot in town, with the exception of one year when we went to a real Christmas tree farm. I live in Oregon, the farm was so much more fun! I loved it, but my parents didn't and we never did it again. My dad was a total business man from the city, being a mountain man cutting down a tree wasn't his thing. He never even owned a pair of jeans so getting on the ground in his casual slacks wasn't the best.  Once we got the tree home, it was usually wet (again, Oregon) and we had to wait until it dried to bring it in the house! Once we got it in, it was all my mom, she was a tree Nazi. I could not help with the tree at all. I was still fascinated and would sit there playing with the boxed ornaments while watching her decorate the tree. It was usually a couple day project, as it had to be perfect. As an adult, I did the same thing! My husband wanted to help, but it would ruin my process so I'd do it all myself. Now that I have kids, I've calmed down, bought shatterproof ornaments and let them help. I remember wanting to decorate the tree so bad as a kid, I want them to help as much as they can. I am happy that I have the shatterproof ornaments, I can't tell you how many were dropped this year.  Anyway, as the season progressed, we'd bake dozens and dozens of cookies. We would give them to family, my teachers, friends, etc. That was so fun and I love doing that with my girls now. When Christmas Eve would roll around, we would wait until my dad got home from work before we did anything, that killed me! He worked normal hours that day too. I never understood why he had to work Christmas Eve at all, in my head it was a holiday too. The family would all come to our house for a formal dinner. After dinner, we'd all hang out by the tree with drinks and listen to Christmas music. I would get to open 1 present, which was exciting. I remember getting slippers a couple times. Before bed, my dad would read me The Night Before Christmas, a vintage version that belonged to my mom when she was a kid that we still use today. The next morning I'd usually get up around 5am, although one year I recall it being like 3:30 and my parents telling me to go back to bed. I would go peek at what Santa left before waking them up. Sometimes the gifts would be unwrapped, like the year I got the Barbie Condo. I was a pretty lucky kid, I normally got the gifts I wanted the most. 1983 was the only year I didn't, it was the year of the cabbage patch kid craze and they were sold out everywhere, apparently for Santa too. My parents made up for it, taking me to toys r us to place a special order for my birthday in January. I still remember that day and picking all the details to make her look like me. Cabbage Patch Kids were my thing from then until 1987, always on the top of my list. There were other toys too, Barbies, Pound Puppies, whatever was popular in the catalog at the time. I remember getting my first walkman in 4th grade, that was kind of the turning point year. It was the last time I asked for toys and from then on it was music, movies, clothes and makeup or hair stuff. 1990 began New Kids for Christmas. I got all the videos, posters, books. It was AMAZING. Even my grandparents hooked me up. Unfortunately, it seems my parents didn't take any Christmas pictures after 1987. So lame, but they weren't good picture takers in general anyway. We'd end Christmas Day at my grandparent's house for another formal dinner, but we got more presents so it was still fun. Oh yeah, I was also the kid that went hunting for my presents. I'd find them too. I loved Nordstrom boxes because you could easily slip the bough off and open it. It would try to carefully unwrap a side of others, but one time I totally ripped it and I had to re-wrap it. Well, we didn't have enough of that wrapping paper left. I did the best I could, finding a scrap to cover the end, but as you can imagine, my mom totally noticed and I was busted. 


Kelley's Holiday Memories

So this really isn’t a memory I have but a story I was told by mom mom about a childhood Christmas I had. So, it would have to have been between 1990 and 1992, I’m not sure the year to be exact. Things were tight for my family, we were definitely not upper class and if we were middle class we were the bottom of the scale. I don’t know the specifics as my parents financials were none of my business, but I remember them telling us that Christmas that year wasn’t going to be the greatest because the world had a lot more kids that year and Santa had to stretch the toys to all the good girls and boy in the world. I don’t really think any of us would have had an issue with that because we were those kids that wanted all the kids to get something from Santa. So Christmas came, and to this day nothing stands out about that year to me, good or bad. None the less, it was a Christmas and that would have been fine with me.

Fast forward some years……like, maybe to around 2005. My mom went through all the Christmas ornaments and sorted them out between us three kids. My older brother got the ornaments that he had made, I got the ones I made and the same for my younger brother. In my ornaments there was this little doll ornament, she is maybe 2 inches tall. She has a pink dress on and a red bow in her blonde hair. Her little shoes had sparkles on them too. I remember staring at it and I had no idea where it came from or who gave it to me but I knew I liked it. I asked my mom about it and she then told me the story of the Salvation Army Christmas.

It was that one Christmas when Santa was stretched a little thin with all the kids in the world. I look back and still cannot remember anything that stood out from that year, but as an adult looking back I am kind of glad that happened to us kids. I think it has made us more humble and caring individuals. It silently taught us that we were not entitled to anything and to be happy with what we had.

She told me that this little girl ornament was tied to a teddy bear and that I immediately put it on the tree when I opened that gift from Santa. She said that ever since that Christmas it was an ornament she put on the tree along with the others and wanted me to have it now. That was the year the Salvation Army donated our Christmas to us. I am not sure if it was someone who picked our family off an angel tree and sponsored our family, or if it was the Salvation Army themselves, but I am eternally grateful and THANKFUL for that Christmas that I have no memory of, but I do have a little ornament of a doll in a pink dress with a red bow in her blonde hair and sparkles on her shoes.

Warning: NO LITTLE EARS, MAGICAL SANTA TALK ABOUT TO HAPPEN:

I was going to end there, but I wanted to share about my dad. He’s awesome. Some of you may already know that he is a Real-Bearded Santa here in Florida. This basically means that he has a real beard and belly like a bowl full of jelly. In my family, no one has ever really said and meant that Santa was not real. Its kind of like Santa turned from a person to a spirit of the holidays. To this day, if someone tells me that Santa is not real, I will argue the point (jokingly) that they will never be able to tell me that my dad is fake. I DO have a picture of him that I will share. I am very proud of my dad for finding a way to bring happiness into other peoples lives, especially children. I’m going to get hallmark-y here, but, the magic of a fat man that visits once a year will always be alive and you NEVER have to admit that Santa doesn’t exist, because he does, he exists in all of us!

Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays! Happy any and everything that anyone might celebrate this time of year! (I’m all inclusive!)


Jessica's Holiday Memories

Ok these were all taken at Christmas time.

The first one is me in my new night gown which is obviously amazing and I think my grandma is asleep in the back. My mom is on the right. Next is me and my sister and cousins. I’m the youngest, the blonde on the right is my sister and the rest are cousins. Last is the same group of sister and cousins plus one more cousin and we’re all a little older. All pictures were taken and grandmas house on Christmas Eve.

Merry Christmas you guys!!
 


Joy's Holiday Memories (Part 2)

I do have one more story...of a holiday tradition that I started in my own family.

I love my tradition and I try to share with many people...especially newly married couples, because it is something I think others would enjoy and love as well. Our first Christmas as a married couple, of course, we bought a "our first Christmas together" ornament with the year on it. Each year since that year, we have bought one or more ornaments that signify something that happened that year (significant or insignificant). We always make sure the ornament has the year on it, if not, we write the year on it. Of course, we have always had to put other ornaments on our tree to fill it up, but last year was the first year we had enough "memory" ornaments to fill the entire tree. Each year we start with the year 2000 (our first year together) and my husband and I hang up our first few ornaments together and then as the kids were born, we let them start hanging up the ornaments. As we hang up each ornament, we talk about the memories from each ornament and what happened during that year. My kids no longer call it our Christmas tree, but it is now our memory tree. I see pictures of friends Christmas trees on Facebook and they are absolutely stunning and gorgeous. Ours is a tree that is not stunning or gorgeous to most, but it is beautiful to us as it holds very precious memories that we have shared together as a family.

This tradition is one my kids love and look forward to each year. My favorite ornament this year is one I made. I took the confetti streamers that I got at the NKOTB concert and cut them up and put them in a clear bulb. I then wrote on it, My first NKOTB concert 2017 Thankful. Enjoy the pics.

Joy

 


Lindsay's Holiday Memories

I don’t actually have a specific Holiday story to tell but I will give you all some background on my family and what we did when I was growing up for the winter holidays. As some of you may already know, I am Jewish. I was raised Jewish and my parents were both raised Jewish. My mom’s parents were both Jewish and my grandmother was raised in a kosher household. My grandfather’s mother was a kosher caterer. My mom’s side of the family was all very Jewish. My dad’s side is a bit more interesting. My nana (my dad’s mom) was born Jewish, however, my dad’s father was Armenian so he converted to Judaism when he married my nana. Plus my dad’s one brother married my aunt who is Protestant so half my family is Jewish and half is Christian. Because of this I actually had the best of both worlds growing up! Hanukah was very important in our home. We always spent the first night of Hanukah with my grandparents (mom’s parents) and we would have dinner together. My grandma would always make the BEST latkes (for those of you who don’t know what latkes are, they are fried potato and onion pancakes that you can eat with sour cream or applesauce). We would say the blessings as we lit the candles on the Menorah and then exchange gifts. When I was a kid I got multiple gifts every night of Hanukah, which of course was super fun! My grandfather started a tradition of giving me a Hess truck every year for Hanukah. I absolutely loved my Hess trucks and I’m pretty sure I still have all of them. I would also receive Hanukah gelt, or chocolate coins as part of my Hanukah gifts. My parents gave me my 2 American Girl dolls, Samantha and the one that looks like you, for Hanukah. I still have both of them along with their accessories. I spent hours and hours playing with them. My friends all had American Girl dolls too so they would come over for play dates and we would play with our dolls. For Christmas, we would typically go up to Boston where my parents are from, to celebrate with my dad’s family. When I was really little, we would go to my nana’s house on Christmas morning to exchange gifts. Then in the afternoon we would go to my dad’s aunts’ house to have dinner and exchange gifts with the rest of the family. We now do that at my dad’s uncle’s house – bigger house, more space. If Hanukah overlapped with Christmas, my mom made sure to bring my Hanukah gifts up to Boston for me. Now as a kid, just like other kids, I of course wholeheartedly believed in Santa. My parents had no issues with that at all. In fact, they encouraged my belief, helping me to send a letter to Santa, leaving cookies and milk for him, and even leaving a handwritten letter from Santa for me to read on Christmas morning (if we were home) or when we came home from Boston. There were always loads of gifts waiting on the fireplace for me to open. That was the one difficult part about having to go away for Christmas – the anticipation of what would be waiting for me when we came home. There were times when we did stay home for Christmas because either I was sick or we were going to have bad weather. If we were home for Christmas, we sometimes went across the street to my best friend’s house to celebrate with her and her family. Her grandmother even made me my own stocking which we put on our fireplace each year. Of course during those times where we were home for Christmas, I was ready and raring to go at the crack of dawn to come downstairs to see what Santa had left for me! It was so hard for me to wait until my parents were awake – I wanted to open my gifts so badly! Even though I’ve been lucky to be able to celebrate both holidays, I’ve never been confused as to what I was. I always knew I was Jewish. I started Hebrew School in first grade, we went to temple on the high holidays, (the major holidays), and I was Bat Mitzvahed at the age of 13 (I will post some of my Bat Mitzvah pictures for “PickaPic”). Christmas never had a religious connation to me; it was just all about Santa and the gifts. Hanukah was our religious holiday and celebration. Anyway, that’s my story guys! Happy Holidays everyone!!


Kim's Holiday Memories

Hi Brooke & Nikki!

I think I’m on the older end of your listeners as I realize some of my pics are from the late 70s! See the pic of my family straight outta 1976!  My grandparents had that Santa sleigh display for years & Mrs. Claus’s list accumulated the grandkids names over the years. 

The next chronological pic is my sister & me from xmas 1979, which is almost 1980! See the date printed on the Polaroid? This picture just evokes the excitement of all of those presents to open. I was probably so impatient inside & trying to behave.

The third pic makes me feel nostalgic for my Grandmothers old house & also lucky to have that really cool doll.

The last pic cracks me up because that is a sweater tucked in with a belt - but I loved that outfit! & my baby brother was so cute. 

Thanks girls & see you soon! Kim

 


Melissa's Holiday Memories

Hi girls! Love the podcast. Love walking down memory lane and hearing awesome stories about my absolute favorite group New Kids on the Block ️

The picture attached couldn't be more 80s. Me, 1983, shocked and stunned that I got my first Cabbage Patch Kid. It makes me laugh everytime I see it and makes we wish I could go back to that simpler time.

Keep up the good work and have a funky, funky Christmas!

Melissa


Sarah C.'s Holiday Memories

My favorite Christmas memory is from just a couple years ago. My dad, my brothers, and I went to Mississippi to see my grandparents and great grandparents. We spent a few days up there working on cars and walking trails together. It was a really fun time. My great grandpa wasn't doing very well them and that's the whole reason we went to visit. He passed away a few weeks later and I was very grateful that we got that one last Christmas with him! Here's a picture we got of all of us together before we left. 


Sarah M.'s Holiday Memories

Hi Ladies,

Just wanted to share with you favorite Christmas memories and family traditions. 

For my family tradition, I'm Polish (maiden name is Okraszewski) and my most favorite day/meal is on Christmas Eve. We call this meal Wigilia. It is a meatless meal of 12 dishes. We eat mushroom soup, fish, huluski (cabbage and noodles), pierogi, and soo many other delicious foods. Okay my mouth is watering just thinking that in a few weeks I'll be in Polish girl heaven. LOL! The meal starts as soon as the first star is seen the in sky. Then we share Christmas greetings by breaking a wafer called opatek. We go one by one to each person in the room break a piece off of each other's wafer and share love or forgiveness for the coming year. After that then we eat and eat. Also at the table there is one open place setting that represents welcoming the Holy Family or a stranger that may stop by your home. I would not trade this tradition for the world and to have my family gathered for that night is my perpetual Christmas gift every year.

As for Christmas gifts... hmm that's hard. I would have to say the ones that stand out the most were my Jem and the Rockers doll, my bike, my Starter jacket and my Mall Madness game. 

Wishing you ladies a very Happy Holiday and I can't wait to continue catching up and listening to the Podcast. 

Greetings and love,

Sarah

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