Holiday Gifts of Childhood

Photo by Clint Patterson from Unsplash.


Holiday Gifts of Childhood

Mid 1950s, Western Pennsylvania

Christmas morning at our grandparents’ house.

Doll with golden curls, evening gown, and pearls

waiting for me under the Christmas tree

when I was six or seven.

Photo by Marina Ambrosimova from Unsplash.

How excited I was!

Soon, though, I cut the doll’s hair in a crew cut,

wore her pearl choker on my wrist,

and went looking for bugs, rocks and frogs!

Late 1950s, Tidewater, Virginia

Christmas mysteries were in the air at our house

when I was nine or ten…

All of the colorfully wrapped presents under the tree

had been squeezed and shaken for days.

Photo from Pixabay.

On Christmas morning, there was a huge surprise…

Parked around the Christmas tree, there were

three Christmas bicycles for my siblings and me!

Mine was sky blue.

The three of us were always on the go,

bicycling far and wide for the next five or six years,

enjoying our newfound independence,

challenging our mother’s peace of mind!

Early 1960s, Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia

My brother, sister and I grew strong, riding our bicycles

up and down the steep hills of our little town.

Our mother soon learned not to worry…

to the extent that mothers can ever be free from worry.

There were no bicycle helmets when I was a child. For safety, wear a helmet! Photo from Pixabay.

Late 1960s-1980s, Shenandoah Valley of Virginia

Christmas Eve…we exchanged gifts at my parents’ home.

My husband, Frank, and I were expecting a child in the spring.

The gift from my mother was an album of old family photos,

including pictures of my father and me on our tricycles.

In my future, there were three children

receiving bicycles for the holidays.

Like my mother and all other mothers before her,

it was my turn to worry!

Girl on a tricycle Photo by Tuan PM from Pexels.

I was shocked at first when our daughter Ellen,

age three, requested a motorcycle for Christmas,

but her father saved the day!

He found a yellow plastic motorcycle/tricycle.

Ellen was overjoyed on Christmas morning

to find the tricycle parked under the Christmas tree.

Like her mother before her, she was empowered.

She rode the little yellow “motorcycle” toward independence.

Several years later, Ellen received a shiny new bicycle.

She still bears scars from surgery that followed an accident.

Under her chin, are traces of gravel from later accidents…

Ellen always got back on her bicycle; she lives her life that way!

1990s, Miami Beach, Florida

Hanukkah menorah, dreidle, and presents. Photo by Dad Grass from Pexels.

Celebrating holidays with Drew and our children…

Joe, age eight, always adventurous, ever nimble,

climbed the trellis to the rooftop with his new telescope

from Dad, exploring the wonders of the night sky.

Our daughter Katey, age six, was dazzled

by everything she saw and wanted all of it, too…

but in the end, she was delighted with every gift she received,

a new bicycle or the small, sweet surprise of Hanukkah gelt.

Hannukah Gelt. Photo by Joey Dean from Unsplash.

Katey loved unwrapping a gift on each night of Hanukkah

and receiving Christmas presents, but most of all, she valued

being surrounded by the love of family and friends,

that most precious of holiday gifts.

Photo by Any Lane from Pexels.


CopyrightΒ© 2022 by Cheryl Batavia


Photo by Engin Akyurt from Unsplash.

Happy Holidays!

Wherever you are, whatever holidays you celebrate,

we wish you childlike wonder, pleasant surprises,

inspiring experiences, and auspicious new opportunities.

We wish you health, love, and joy in every New Year!

Robert & Cheryl

70 Comments

  1. Cheryl, what a delightful post! It brought smiles and memories of the time when we got our kids their bicycles!
    Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and happy holidays. ❀️ β˜ƒοΈπŸŽ„ πŸŽ…

    Thank you for your warm wishes. ❀️

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

      1. You are right Cheryl! Christmas is even more special with young children. This year, my children will spend Christmas in Portugal. My parents, my sister from Lisbon, the one from Italy and my brother from London will be all together with their children. Only me and my husband will miss it. Unfortunately, we can’t go this year. But I’m happy that they will all be together. Merry Christmas for you and your family Cheryl! ❀️

        Liked by 1 person

  2. What a beautiful reflection! It’s so true and relatable to most of us. I still remember my happiness on getting a bicycle for the first time. Sweet memories indeed! Merry Christmas, Cheryl, well in advance πŸ’– πŸŽ„

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  3. What a delightful poem dear Cheryl! I loved every word!
    Sooo relatable:

    “enjoying our newfound independence,

    challenging our mother’s peace of mind!”

    No wonder I’m really gray.. lol.

    So was that pic really you? sooooo cute! You had a lot of pics from sites so just making sure.

    Happy Holidays dear friend! β€οΈπŸŽ„

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

    1. Oh, Cindy, it makes me so happy that you like my poem. Motherhood always has its challenges, for sure!

      It is a long story about my photos. Many I have put in albums and given to my children, some were lost or destroyed when I moved, and some have mold that I am very allergic to and don’t open the bins. A few have been put on a disc. I usually go with stock photos. The quality is better too. I wish that photo was me! I was a skinny, awkward little girl. I do always enjoy your photos! πŸ™‚

      I hope your construction is finished for your family’s holiday visit. Have a fabulous celebration! ❀

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply

      1. I sure did. It does have it’s fair share of challengers for sure.
        The picture looked like you so i thought it was you actually. It’s easier to pick some often since it’s hard to find therm for me. Good not to open any ones with mold. Oh that’s sweet.. thank you…
        I think we will be done.. thanks so much!! πŸ’—

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Best wishes for a safe, happy and unforgettable holiday season Cheryl. Your post brought back a flood of memories for me looking back at all the Christmas gifts that made an impact on my life over the years – to the stuffed dog (Henry) that was my constant companion for years to my first bicycle and then to the first computer (Commodore 64) that set in motion my eventual livelihood. It also brought back stronger feelings of those who provided the incredibly impactful gifts that are no longer her to enjoy our excitement every new gift brings. Fortunately, they live on in our memories and poems such as yours – thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

    1. What a beautiful reflection, Brian! It is so meaningful to hear some of your memories. When our elders choose thoughtful gifts, they provide experiences that can be life-changing! It is only years later that we realize what impact elders have had on our lives.

      Happy Holidays and a great 2023 to you and your family!

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply

  5. A wonderful post, Cheryl. Looking for bugs, rocks and frogs was soon more interesting than dolls to me, too. Reading about you and your siblings on bicycles, I could almost feel the wind in my hair. Thanks for the memories. I wish you and your family peace, blessings, and plenty of childlike wonder. πŸ™‚ ❀

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply

    1. Thank you, Kate, for your kind words. My daughters had planned to visit at Thanksgiving, but we postponed till spring due to red tide at the beach, courtesy of Hurricane Ian. Robert’s daughter and family talked about coming for Christmas, but she has a new job and will probably not be able to get time off. We stay in contact with our relatives on the internet and by phone. I am sure it will be a happy Christmas! Wishing you all the joys of the season!
      ❀ ❀ ❀

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply

  6. This is tremendously lovely. You took me down memory lane. Lovely.

    I say, my childhood memories make my December month grand. Thanks for sharing this loveliness. Xoxo
    May your month continue to be merry and bright. XoXo

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

    1. Thank you, Selma, for your lovely response! I am so glad to hear that the poem stirred pleasant memories for you. ❀ Writing the poem brought back many memories for me.
      Wishing you all of the joys of the holidays. May 2023 bring peace, health, and prosperity to our world! ❀ ❀ ❀

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  7. I really enjoyed reading your Christmas memories, Cheryl.
    I remember a great, wonderful Christmas present when I was 13 years old. My parents gave me a portable record player. I could play singles on it. The best thing was that my aunt Christa gave me a record for Christmas. It was the single “The Twist” by Chubby Checker. I absolutely loved it and kept playing it on the record player all day long.

    Liked by 2 people

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  8. It’s mind-boggling how time flies. I remember I got my bicycle when I was six, my uncle gifted it to me. I guess it’s a world wide tradition.
    You’re right Cheryl, the precious gifts are our friends and family, the one that truly matters. We don’t realize this as a child, it’s only when the time flies in front of your eyes.

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  9. So nostalgic. I began to remember all my birthday gifts, from toy cars, toy guns, bicycles to sneakers. wristwatches, books. Gifts do tell a story. I loved your story, Cheryl. Happy holidays to you and your loved ones. ❀

    Liked by 1 person

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  10. It would have been a wonderful journey writing this beautiful poetry for you. Reminiscing each Christmas since childhood and wonderful gifts from your parents to you gifting your children. Christmas so beautifully encourages each relation and filled with betterment for the coming days. Unknown but filled with mysteries.
    Some memories are sad but loads of happy ones cover all the sadness. Always full love and adventure. Happy Christmas and Happy Holidays! Have a bashful week ahead and ride bicycles πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

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    1. Thank you so much, Kritika, for your beautiful response. It means a lot to me. Life is made up of joys and sorrows, and memories of a full life are one of life’s compensations for growing old. Thank you for enhancing my life.

      Wishing you a long, fulfilling life of beautiful memories! Happy New Year! ❀ ❀ ❀

      Liked by 1 person

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