My childhood Christmas recollections are less memories than moments, like someone shining a flashlight briefly on a scene and then extinguishing it.
Still, I do recall a few – I couldn't tell you if they’re all from the same year or an amalgam.
Choosing the biggest log in the pile by the house, putting sprigs of holly on it, proclaiming it to be the Yule log, and putting it on the fire.
The big box of holly that came to Virginia every year from my grandfather’s gigantic holly tree that sat in his front yard in Oklahoma.
Long before anyone thought about those fancy bejeweled and embroidered Christmas stockings, my sister and I always chose the longest knee sock we could find in the drawer. Christmas morning we’d always find, along with the small trinkets, a tangerine and a Droste chocolate sectional apple.
The bowl of nuts for cracking, a soothing activity even if you did sometimes eat the bitter membrane that surrounded the pecan.
My grandmother’s candied orange peel and pecans, also sent from Oklahoma.
The Best. Present. Year. Ever: I received four purses (everyone must have decided I was approaching the age for purses), a striped blazer that I loved but now have no memory of ever wearing, and best of all, a pogo stick.
My mother waking me for midnight services on Christmas Eve.
I sleepily put on one of my presents – a polished cotton circle skirt with a matching blouse, the print a magical design of all kinds of hard candy – and sat on the floor to admire the fact that the skirt made a perfect circle.