The Best of Christmases Past


“Songs and smells will bring you back to a moment in time more than anything else. It’s amazing how much can be conjured with a few notes of a song or a solitary whiff of a room. A song you didn’t even pay attention to at the time, a place that you didn’t even know had a particular smell.”
― Emily Giffin, Something Borrowed

 Old Victorian houses made modern with enclosed front porches and wrapped tight in vinyl siding, this is the neighborhood where I grew up, this is now.

But Christmastime with its carols and sweet-scented baked goods reminds me of what used to be: pristine white houses lining both sides of the street, open porches with mahogany front doors and leaded glass windows, the mailman who came inside for hot chocolate and to warm up by the old gas stove, and my German grandmother—the grandmother who lived with us and welcomed everyone who came to our door.

God set my childhood in a multi-generational home rife with tradition in a neighborhood of German immigrants.The elderly Germans who lived there held tight to “old-country” ways.

My favorite memory—the one most conjured by sounds and smells at Christmas—is of their tradition of going house-to-house singing carols. My grandmother and a dozen or so others would bundle up warm, trudge through the snow, and visit each house on our block. After a swift knock on the door we heard:

920x920Herbei, o ihr Gläubigen,
Fröhlich triumphiernd,
O kommet, o kommet nach Bethlehem!
Sehet das Kindlein,
Uns zum Heil geboren!

 O lasset uns anbeten,
O lasset uns anbeten,
O lasset uns anbeten,
Den König!

 Oh, Come All Ye Faithful . . .

At each house, the carolers came inside for treats: wassail or hot chocolate to warm them, cookies or candies—always homemade.

I remember . . . and I hope you do, too,
the best of Christmases past.


And this is my Christmas wish for you today, my readers:
I wish you sweet memories of Christmas,
warm days filled with the love of family and friends,
and your merriest Christmas yet!


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Filed under Christmas, Uncategorized

5 responses to “The Best of Christmases Past

  1. Wonderful post. Definitely true how songs and smells will take you back in time.
    Christmas Blessings

  2. Ann Ellison

    Enjoyed your post. It is so true how the songs and smells transport us back to some very special times.

  3. I love the smell of something baking. It takes me back to my grandma’s kitchen and all the fun we had cutting out shapes and decorating butter cookies.

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