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Thread: Christmas/Holiday Cointest

  1. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Unity, Maine
    Posts
    3,866

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    Christmas for me these days is very low key . . . but as a Yeti . . . rarely seen in public . . . especially at public geocaching events . . . we tend to like our solitary, quiet, low-key existence.

    As a kid we had several holiday traditions and memories.

    As a young child I remember going into the woods with my father to find the perfect Christmas tree . . . of course the tree we found would never measure up to the trees you see at today's Christmas tree farms, the tree stands in the city parking lots or the artificial trees . . . but somehow it didn't matter . . . it was our tree . . . and we picked it out.

    There was one minor incident involving a tree . . . I think it was in the first or second grade. My Dad and I volunteered to bring in a tree. This was back in the late 1970s and early 1980s when kids still had Christmas pageants, parties and exchanged gifts -- and when live Christmas trees were allowed in schools. For the first time ever my father and I found the perfectly shaped Christmas tree on our property -- it was full and had the perfect shape. It looked beautiful. Unfortunately, several days later, after setting up the tree and decorating it, we discovered that this tree was a "cat spruce" -- famous or infamous as they usually have a great, full shape, but once inside smell as if you're standing next to a half dozen rank litter boxes which about two dozen cats have been using steadily for the past week and a half. Needless to say we went out and got another tree which was not as pretty, but smelled much nicer.

    My Dad often made more than a few Christmas faux pas . . . like the year when Mom asked him to make a Christmas star out of 2 x 4s and Christmas lights. However, Dad couldn't figure out how to make the traditional five pointed star and so made a six pointed star . . . that's right the Jewish Star of David. That Christmas there were more than a few confused neighbors who thought our family had converted to Judaism and were celebrating Hannukah.

    As young children Christmas Eve was pretty special. In the week or two before Christmas WABI Channel 5 would air the Santa and Friends special -- a locally produced program. The highlight of the puppet shows, music and apperance of Santa was always the reading of the list . . . my brother, sister and I would always hover around the TV, not speaking a word, until we had heard our name read out on TV so we would know that we were on the "Nice" list and would get some toys for Christmas.

    That evening we would also watch the evening news . . . something we normally would not do as kids . . . simply because we wanted to see if NORAD had started tracking Santa on radar. However, the really unique tradition (unbeknowst to us children) was when my grandfather (Pampa) would walk down the hill and start ringing the sleigh bells that belonged to my great-grandfather. When we heard those bells us kids would drop to the floor and start army crawling to our bed so Santa wouldn't look in the windows, see we were still awake and drive on. To add to the whole illusion, in what has to be one of the more warped traditions, my grandfather would always keep a hooved deer leg around from whatever deer my Uncle shot in the Fall . . . and he would take that leg and make hoof impressions in the snow so the next morning we would see all those hoof prints and be convinced reindeer were on our front lawn.

    On Christmas morning we would wake up early . . . very early. Since our parents did not relish getting up at 4 a.m. they allowed us to look at our stocking . . . and eat the Poptart which was included as a treat since we never got Poptarts during the year . . . well actually we ate the Poptart along with the usual apple and orange in the stocking (a real Maine tradition!)

    Probably my worse Christmas was the year when I woke up sick with the flu. I was so sick that I could barely muster the energy to get out of bed and get to the couch . . . however as sick as I was I really wanted to find out what Santa and my parents had got me . . . and so I enlisted my sister to open the gifts. To this day she feels bad about opening each and every one of my gifts . . . but at the time I just couldn't bear with the idea of not knowing what I had received for a gift.

    The best Christmas memory however is one shared by my younger brother. It illustrates how it is not the expense of the gift, the size of the gift or the number of gifts that matter to a kid . . . it is about the moment, the memory. My brother and I woke up as usual and after looking through our stocking saw that Santa had left us two Paris sleds -- the orange plastic sleds. Call it a Christmas Miracle or just luck, but during the overnight an ice storm had passed through the area coating everything in thick ice which began to glisten and sparkle in the light of the rising sun. My brother and I went outside and began sliding on the small hill on the side of the house . . . until we realized that we had the perfect opportunity. Since it was still early the snowplow/sander had not yet been up the hill on our road . . . and no one was out driving . . . and so we slipped and slided all the way to the top of the long hill and began sliding in what was our own personal bobsled track. For the next hour or so we went down that hill at unprecedented speeds. To this day, my brother and I still remember well that morning.
    "Courage is not the absence of fear, but the realization that there is something more important than fear."

    "Death is only one of many ways to die."

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Hampden, ME
    Posts
    891

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    Jake....'ya need to move this to the article area. I really enjoyed your post. I'm sure we all have memories like this, I certainly do.....just not eloquent enough to write.

    Quote Originally Posted by firefighterjake View Post
    Christmas for me these days is very low key . . . but as a Yeti . . . rarely seen in public . . . especially at public geocaching events . . . we tend to like our solitary, quiet, low-key existence.

    As a kid we had several holiday traditions and memories.

    As a young child I remember going into the woods with my father to find the perfect Christmas tree . . . of course the tree we found would never measure up to the trees you see at today's Christmas tree farms, the tree stands in the city parking lots or the artificial trees . . . but somehow it didn't matter . . . it was our tree . . . and we picked it out.

    There was one minor incident involving a tree . . . I think it was in the first or second grade. My Dad and I volunteered to bring in a tree. This was back in the late 1970s and early 1980s when kids still had Christmas pageants, parties and exchanged gifts -- and when live Christmas trees were allowed in schools. For the first time ever my father and I found the perfectly shaped Christmas tree on our property -- it was full and had the perfect shape. It looked beautiful. Unfortunately, several days later, after setting up the tree and decorating it, we discovered that this tree was a "cat spruce" -- famous or infamous as they usually have a great, full shape, but once inside smell as if you're standing next to a half dozen rank litter boxes which about two dozen cats have been using steadily for the past week and a half. Needless to say we went out and got another tree which was not as pretty, but smelled much nicer.

    My Dad often made more than a few Christmas faux pas . . . like the year when Mom asked him to make a Christmas star out of 2 x 4s and Christmas lights. However, Dad couldn't figure out how to make the traditional five pointed star and so made a six pointed star . . . that's right the Jewish Star of David. That Christmas there were more than a few confused neighbors who thought our family had converted to Judaism and were celebrating Hannukah.

    As young children Christmas Eve was pretty special. In the week or two before Christmas WABI Channel 5 would air the Santa and Friends special -- a locally produced program. The highlight of the puppet shows, music and apperance of Santa was always the reading of the list . . . my brother, sister and I would always hover around the TV, not speaking a word, until we had heard our name read out on TV so we would know that we were on the "Nice" list and would get some toys for Christmas.

    That evening we would also watch the evening news . . . something we normally would not do as kids . . . simply because we wanted to see if NORAD had started tracking Santa on radar. However, the really unique tradition (unbeknowst to us children) was when my grandfather (Pampa) would walk down the hill and start ringing the sleigh bells that belonged to my great-grandfather. When we heard those bells us kids would drop to the floor and start army crawling to our bed so Santa wouldn't look in the windows, see we were still awake and drive on. To add to the whole illusion, in what has to be one of the more warped traditions, my grandfather would always keep a hooved deer leg around from whatever deer my Uncle shot in the Fall . . . and he would take that leg and make hoof impressions in the snow so the next morning we would see all those hoof prints and be convinced reindeer were on our front lawn.

    On Christmas morning we would wake up early . . . very early. Since our parents did not relish getting up at 4 a.m. they allowed us to look at our stocking . . . and eat the Poptart which was included as a treat since we never got Poptarts during the year . . . well actually we ate the Poptart along with the usual apple and orange in the stocking (a real Maine tradition!)

    Probably my worse Christmas was the year when I woke up sick with the flu. I was so sick that I could barely muster the energy to get out of bed and get to the couch . . . however as sick as I was I really wanted to find out what Santa and my parents had got me . . . and so I enlisted my sister to open the gifts. To this day she feels bad about opening each and every one of my gifts . . . but at the time I just couldn't bear with the idea of not knowing what I had received for a gift.

    The best Christmas memory however is one shared by my younger brother. It illustrates how it is not the expense of the gift, the size of the gift or the number of gifts that matter to a kid . . . it is about the moment, the memory. My brother and I woke up as usual and after looking through our stocking saw that Santa had left us two Paris sleds -- the orange plastic sleds. Call it a Christmas Miracle or just luck, but during the overnight an ice storm had passed through the area coating everything in thick ice which began to glisten and sparkle in the light of the rising sun. My brother and I went outside and began sliding on the small hill on the side of the house . . . until we realized that we had the perfect opportunity. Since it was still early the snowplow/sander had not yet been up the hill on our road . . . and no one was out driving . . . and so we slipped and slided all the way to the top of the long hill and began sliding in what was our own personal bobsled track. For the next hour or so we went down that hill at unprecedented speeds. To this day, my brother and I still remember well that morning.
    Everyone has the right to be an idiot at times. Just don't abuse the privilege.

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Unity, Maine
    Posts
    3,866

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    And then there was this time that all I wanted for Christmas was a Red Ryder carbine action 200-shot BB gun . . . oh wait a minute . . . that wasn't me . . . that was Ralphie.
    "Courage is not the absence of fear, but the realization that there is something more important than fear."

    "Death is only one of many ways to die."

  4. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Augusta, Maine
    Posts
    499

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    zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
    Last edited by Mapachi; 12-12-2009 at 10:00 PM. Reason: Not an entry

  5. #15
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    ME
    Posts
    3,517

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    Yes, it is a great idea - to escape from the usual. Now, Mapachi - to be entered into this contest - answer one of the questions I posed in my original post, please (edit the old or post a new). I would hate to have random number generator select you and because it was just a comment post you be ineligible.
    Quote Originally Posted by Mapachi View Post
    What a great idea! I may do the same!

  6. #16
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Orrington, Maine
    Posts
    629

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    I spent 1984 - 1987 in Saudi Arabia as part of a team that was sent to help set up the kingdom's EMS system. Our project was just one of 15 that were over there helping them develop their infrastructure. All of us Americans were housed together in various "compounds" ....gated mini communities....around Riyadh. Our particular compound had 15 homes - seven homes on one side, then a pool, eight homes on the other side and a road down the middle. Knowing I was going to be there for a few years I had shipped with my other belongings some Christmas lights, a small artificial tree, and other decorations.

    Being literally on the opposite side of the world, it's at times like Christmas that you really miss being home. Well, as that first Christmas approached I decorated the inside and then hung Christmas lights around the porch on the outside of our house. I did not anticipate the reaction from our neighbors..... They were aghast that I would dare do such a thing in a Muslim country and that I would get them all in trouble. You see, they were all feeling sad that they were so far from their own homes back in the U.S. over Christmas time and couldn't really celebrate Christmas they way they wanted to. But I left the lights up and no trouble ensued.

    And then, much to our surprise, at 8:00pm on Christmas eve all the families in our compound gathered outside our door and sang Christmas carols. I brought out our little 30" artificial tree all decorated and it was very, very special. Carrying out long-time tradtions is important and this was quite uplifting. Somehow people find a way........

  7. #17
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    abbot me
    Posts
    754

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    My mother left me with one of the greatest gifts a person could ever receive, sixty years of hand written journals. Starting in 1936 they tell the story of my mother growing up in Salem, Mass., taking care of her four brothers and one sister after the death of her own mother, of moving to Maine and marrying my dad in 1947, and of course the happiest day in her life, giving birth to me. I'm sure you can imagine what a treasured collection of stories these are to me and my brother now that both parents are gone. The pages are filled with family stories, one of which I thought fit this catergory...The entry is for Dec. 10th 1954...it tells of my dad coming home from work at the Navy Yard in Kittery Me. Seems on the way home the old ford coupe had some engine troubles and he was barely able to make it to the garage in our home town of Limerick. My mother writes that her entire Chistmas savings will have to go to fixing the car, as my dad has to have it to get to work. She also writes that she has no idea how she will explain to me, six years old at the time and my little brother who is four, that there won't be any presents for Christmas.

    The cost of fixing the old ford....thirteen dollars.

    Everytime I read that story I think of my childhood and I remember the wonderful Christmas' we had growing up, the great toys we received for presents and to think that my mother could have done this on a budget of thirteen dollars...how the times have changed.

  8. #18
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    ME
    Posts
    3,517

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    Time to bring this one up so folks make sure to enter. Go to Post #1 for the rules and information.

  9. #19
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    ME
    Posts
    3,517

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    Thirteen folks have entered the cointest to date. Some may be waiting until the very end - maybe on Christmas eve. Remember this ends on Christmas morning, when I decide to turn on my computer - just four short mornings from now.

    Mapachi's post will be considered an entry even though he didn't edit it. Am taking it he intends to sleep through Christmas or sleeping is his tradition. That's cool! LOL

    The more entries the more fun. If the random number generator selects an excluded post (to date posts 1, 12, 13, 15, 18, & 19), I will run it again until it hits a valid entry.

    Thanks everyone for your posts.

    PS - for anyone not sure what this is about - go back to page 1 and read post 1

  10. #20
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Maine
    Posts
    535

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    Christmas Eve is a busy day for us. The office is usually closed, but we are about taking care of the last minute bellringing activities.

    We usually have a Candle Light Carole Sing at the church and then home to relax with something special for dinner. We sure are going to miss the Christmas Eve Lobsters this year.

    Christmas Day is usually very quiet for us. We do the gift thing after reading Luke 2 (it is of course the Christmas Story) and then a special breakfast. Dinner is mid afternoon with either a Standing Rib Roast or Christmas Ham.

    The really special part of the day is the phone calls to and from family spread all over the north east.

    We are always reminded that it is more blessed to give than to receive!

    Merry Christmas!
    I'd really rather not cache, but I am helpless in the grip of my compulsion!

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