Saturday, December 5, 2009

Christmas Memories

Today is the blog event "Pink Saturday"! Our gracious host, Beverly, at the blog "How Sweet The Sound" asked us to do something a little different this week, and instead of showing something pink on our blog today, to instead share a childhood holiday memory.

Here I am 51 years ago, as a child of five, visiting Santa Claus at a branch of the Macy's department store that was located on Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn, New York.
He looked like a rather tired and sad looking Santa in this photo, doesn't he? I looked exactly how I was -- a very serious and timid little girl.

It was so long ago, yet I remember the experience so vividly. I came from a blue collar family, where we had the basics, but luxuries were few, so I'm sure the fact that my Dad took the time to drive downtown and stand on a very long line with me to have my photo taken with Santa Claus was a very serious and momentous task for both of us. I remember the store being decorated with vignettes of frosted bottle brush trees filled with multi colored glass ornaments and there were little houses underneath which had shining lights in the windows. Christmas music was playing and competing with the the soft "ding ding ding" sound of the escalator.
The Santa Village was on an upper floor of Macy's in the holiday decorating department, and we passed many displays of Christmas ornaments for sale. A green and red roped line walkway loomed ahead, surrounded by cartoon reindeer graphics on the walls. It wasn't until we almost reached the front of the line when we saw Santa, who was seated on an elevated wooden throne with a red leather seat. He was surrounded by helpers in red and white aprons who had candy canes in their pockets. When it was their turn they ushered each child up and down the steps of the throne, where they would then be lifted up to sit on Santa's lap.

I adored Santa Claus, and believed with all my heart that he was real, and believed in him for a very long time. Truthfully I still believe in him, as surely as the editor of the New York Sun, Francis Pharcellus Church did, as he described him to a young girl named Virginia in his editorial in 1897.

Meeting my hero, the great and generous mystical benefactor of toys and treats, was both scary and exciting. I know I was nervous and kept practicing my wish list: a doll, a tinker toy set, and a baby carriage. A feeling of relief came over me by the time this photo was taken, as now my very serious task was over, and it was time to receive the candy cane that was given to each visitor, and go home.
Of course I also honored Christmas as the celebration of Jesus' birth. Another special memory I have as a child was placing the figure of baby Jesus in the manger of my family's Nativity set on Christmas Eve, and singing hymns in church on Christmas morning, but I'm always glad I had my one special visit with Santa Claus. I will forever be sentimental about how much that meant to me!



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45 comments:

Marilyn said...

I just loved your post & it spoke for many of us who, in the 50's, was in awe of "The Big Guy"!!
Have a Wonderful Day!
Love,
Marilyn

Julie said...

Hi Pat, What cute post...Your little grandson looks a lot like your childhood phote...To Cute...Do hope you have time to stop over at my place for a visit...
Merry Christmas
xoxo
Julie

Carol @ TheWritersPorch said...

Hey Pat! Your post brought back my memories also! Too bad we have to grow up huh? :)

Lucy said...

When a person finds out about Santa Claus, their childhood is gone. Sad.

The Quintessential Magpie said...

Pat, this is absolutely adorable! I loved your Christmas memory, and I was a serious child, too, and timid at times. And I was also fun-loving. Kind of a hybrid, I guess. LOL! Loved reading this and thinking about the glory of the departmemt stores of years past, which NYC still seems to have. I have a little kitty on my post that was purchased the first time I visited Macy's in Manhatten.... thinking it was the most wonderful store on earth. I still do.

I adore this pic of you on Santa's lap. Love your little coat. You are so cute!

Happy PS to you...

XO,

Sheila :-)

mbkatc230 said...

Pat, I love this post. The photo is wonderful. And I loved your Christmas memory, it brought back alot of my own. Thank you for sharing this. Kathy

Ciao Chow Linda said...

Pat - Thanks so much for posting that adorable photo and wonderful story. Childhood memories like that are so precious and easy to lose for future generations. It's great to get them in writing.

My Carolina Kitchen said...

Pat, what a lovely story. I felt your anticipation as you stood in line for Santa with your Dad by your side. I don't recall ever sitting on Santa's lap - the only one we had in our small town looked, if it's possible, grimmer than the one in your picture.

How fun to be able to go to Macy's as a child. I guess growing up in a southern small town made me wish for the big city, which I finally did live in the 4th largest city in the US as an adult. Now after all of these years, I'm back to small town life. Guess life is a full circle.

Happy Pink Saturday to you. Thanks for sharing your childhood memories.
Sam

RNSANE said...

I can remember, as a younger child, being terrified of Santa and, at the last minute, after waiting so long in line, not being able to go sit on the chubby guy's lap! I was sure, when I woke up on Christmas morning, I wouldn't find a single gift under the tree for me!

You were so cute!

Purvail said...

How nice that you have a picture to remember a special time in your life. My dad was a farmer and on Saturdays we would go to town and do the shopping. I remember going to Freelanders store and taking the elevator to the third floor where we arrived at toy land and Santa would be there. I took my younger sisters many times to visit but we had no money for a picture with him.
I fondly remember many christmas's even though they were spare. we always had a sock filled with oranges,nuts and candy.
Enjoy your weekend. Hugs Elaine


Visit when you can

Foodie with Little Thyme! said...

I love love love this post. And I do believe that this is the second time in as many weeks that you had me in tears.
That sweet little girl in that wonderful coat is just amazing!
Thanks for sharing!

♥Mimi♥ said...

On this first Saturday of December ♥Jappy Pink Saturday♥. I was away for a while and sure missed running around the blogs arnd seeing all of the goodies everyone was sharing.

Thanks for the memory...I just knew you would have something special - and, you did!

It was a blessing for you to make my morning so much fun. Hoping that you and those you care about spend a wonderful weekend making memories that will last a lifetime☺

Claudia said...

Pat!I have the same picture. The same hat I think - we're twins! Mymother, bless her soul, took me, my sister and a host of cousins to MACYS 34th Street every year, to Santaland and to visit "the big guy." Awe-inspiring. Wow, what beautiful memories. Santaland enchanted me.

Betsy from Tennessee said...

What a neat story and Christmas memory, Pat. I'm sure that was special for your Daddy too. I never got to do that --but when my kids came along, we did it.

These days, from what I read about people playing Santa in the malls---well, I'm not sure I'd want my children sitting on their laps... ha ha

Have a great day.

We got SNOW... Tomorrow's post!!!! ha
Hugs,
Betsy

Judy ~ My Front Porch said...

I love this post...brought back so many similar memories for me. I visited Santa in our local Eaton's Department Store...on the second floor...and remember standing in a line-up. I have no picture to tell the story though.

Have a great day!

Connie said...

What an absolutely sweet memory of your father doing something that sweet for you, sugar! I love those old memories but wasn't life grand back then? I loved the 40s and 50s sooo much, chickee. Thank you for the visit and comment.
xoxo,
Connie

black eyed susans kitchen said...

Pat, My favorite introduction to Macy's was in 1962 when my grandmother brought me to the Christmas Village upstairs. I remember riding the wooden escalators and being absolutely mesmerized by the beauty of the dark room with the village all set up. My mother's mother was an artist..very bohemian, and loved showing me things I might not have seen otherwise. It made me smile to read your post and know that we shared similar memories.
♥, Susan

Joyce said...

Macy's and Santa back then was a big deal in our neighborhood too. I have to laugh as I had the same bangs:)
Joyce

Lily Hydrangea said...

you may have been serious and timid but you have a very sweet smile.

SmilingSally said...

Pat, you were a pretty little girl. I love your coat and hat.

Why, oh why was the style to cut bangs so short? I know it was the style because my 49 year-old daughter had bangs EXACTLY like yours, and she still teases me about it.

Deb said...

Adorable photo of you with Santa!

Mary said...

What a beautiful memory. It brought back many of my own. I hope you are having a great day and looking forward to the holiday.

Grace said...

I am still in awe of the "big guy"! Loved reading your post and that adorable picture..Hugs Grace

ARLENE said...

Loved seeing your beautiful baby picture, Pat, and reading your memory of that awe-filled childhood experience.

Sandy said...

Hi Pat,
I, too, enjoyed your memory of visiting Santa as a child. I found a picture similar to yours of me and Santa while looking through my parents photos. I don't remember the details like you do but I do remember being timid about visiting him. My hubby & I talk about growing up in the 50s and how different it is from now. The only time we got toys was on our birthdays and at Christmas. Now a days the kids have so many toys they don't appreciate them. I treasured each and every toy I had - I still have my three dolls (yes - just three!). I still remember the magic of Christmas and the fun I had with my family getting up very early in the morning.

Teacup Lane (Sandy)

Willow said...

What a sweet post this is, Pat!

steviewren said...

Pat, great memory and post today! Like you, my siblings and I were taken to visit Santa each year, but I don't remember the specifics as well as you. I do remember loving to visit the department stores downtown during the Christmas season. They always had the most awesome window displays and the toy department was a wonderland of toys and dolls.

Lara said...

lovely post! so warm and nostalgic... happy PS!

Beverly said...

Pat, look at you. You still look exactly the same. Beautiful then, and still beautiful.

I love reading and sharing your memory. I have always loved Santa, but I would never go talk to him. I wanted to enjoy him from afar. I wasn't as brave as you.

Happy Pink Saturday, dear friend. I know you are enjoying your sweet little guy. Give him a kiss from his "Auntie Beverly".

Amy said...

Priceless post and memory. That's part of the magic of Christmas...all the memories it stirs and the spirit of Christmas is alive and real. Oh yes...I too believe. Nice visiting you today.

Shelia said...

Oh, Pat, what a sweet little story. You were just the sweetest looking little girl. I also was a timid little girl. Isn't it amazing how you can remember this most special time. How fortunate to have this picture. I was never able to have a picture taken with the ole magical guy! Yay! I too believed in Santa for so long and when my best friend told me the 'truth', I cried and cried. But I continued to pretend so my folks wouldn't know and did that for years. But of course I believe today! :)
Be a sweetie,
shelia :)

suesueb said...

I love the photo-it surely must be so precious to go with that wonderful memory! My dad used to drive us into New Orleans to look at the windows on Canal Street. It was a big deal too since we had so many of us (10 kids!) You made me smile thinking of that and how special it was-thanks!! Happy pink week!

Jenny said...

Loved your post Pat. You were, and remain, adorable.

Paz said...

Awww! I enjoyed reading this post and seeing the photo of you. Yes, Santa looks a little tired here but you two still make a nice photo, together. You look so adorable and I love your bangs and that coat. ;-)))

Best wishes that you continue to get all your Christmas desires,
Paz

Kathy said...

Oh Pat, I can see it's you in that photo, what a delightful post and a wonderful idea to share memories. have a wonderful week, hugs, Kathy.

Melanie said...

What a memory to treasure Pat. I was scared of santa the first time I met him. To make matters even worse I was in the papers too as it was the first time a santa had come to the little town. I was 3, hated my photo being taken and hated the awful white loop wool hat I was forced to wear that morning. Oh dear I do feel sorry for that santa now. I bet he wondered what on earth he had let himself in for.

Gracie said...

The worst part in getting a grown up, is loosing all those so precious illusions.....
Gracie at http://mylittleplace.blog.com

someplace in thyme said...

Such a sweet memory of you and your dad, nothing can replace that, Happy Pink Saturday, Char

Susie Q said...

What a joy to read Pat. We were lucky little girls to have all these sweet Christmas memories aren't we? Thank you for sharing yours...you wre such a pretty little girl! A beauty then, a beauty now!

Edie Marie's Attic said...

Hi Pat!

Such a sweet story and you were such an adorable little girl. You still look the same only you smile a lot more now! You are a beauty! I'll have to dig out my old photo with Santa. It was a major event to go see Santa back then. It seemed there must have been a shortage of Santa's helpers back then... there was only one place to see the big guy, downtown!

Love & hugs, sherry

Jeanne said...

Hello dear Pat, I do hope you are checking your PS comments. I adored your beautiful Santa visit at Macy's. You are adorable in that photo. Your description of the event makes your day crystal clear in my mind. I agree you were a very lucky girl to have such a wonderful store in which to visit Santa Claus.

When I was your age we lived on a farm in the country. I never saw or even knew about such things as visiting Santa in a big department store. No TV back then and very few chances to see a movie. However, Santa Claus was very magical to me and my sisters and brother. Our mom was wonderful and fun all the time but she always made Christmas magical. We wrote letters to Santa instead. My mother always said 'Santa was the spirit of Christmas' and she never told us he wasn't real. I never told my children either. When they asked, I always told them what our mom told us.

Thank you for sharing your lovely story Pat.

Hugs xoxo, Jeanne

Celestial Charms said...

What a lovely childhood remembrance. Isn't it funny, how your exact thoughts about that day are forever ingrained in your mind. Beautiful!
Maureen

Riet said...

That is a cute photo Pat. Lovely

Sue said...

I asked daughter if she was going to take Miss B into Macy's to see Santa.....for some reason she said..."Not on your life"....they went to the mall in Princeton instead.

Laura @ the shorehouse. said...

Awwwww....I just love this post! Santa will always hold a special place in my heart...as scary as some of the ones I had my photo with as a kid looked. :-) Apparently authenticity was not the name of the game at the Mall on Staten Island in the 70s, lol! My friends and I swear that the real Santa is at the Newport Mall in Jersey City. He is FABULOUS. In fact...now that I think about it I should try and get his photo...