Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Coal and switches

The above photo is of the Christmas tree is our parlor. It's a 9 foot fir tree that smells great. The tree is decorated with antique ornaments as well as many hand made by various relatives. And there are the bubble lights that I was fascinated with as a kid. One of my favorite ornaments is an old one that has little blades that rotate based on heat given off by a bulb placed underneath it. You can see this unique ornament in the center of the photo below.

I remember how exciting it was to wake up on Christmas morning--usually about 5 AM or earlier. It was hard to stay in bed, but I was taught to wait until my parents were up and about.

My dad, ever the realist, would tell me that for his Christmas he was happy if he received some oranges and pieces of hoar hound candy. This made me feel terribly sorry for him. In fact, I would feel guilty about receiving anything when he was so deprived. He also told me that if a child misbehaved they will find coal and switches on Christmas morning instead of the toys that they wished for. I would then work diligently to be as good as I could be so that I wouldn't come down to a sack of coal or those dreaded switches.

I suppose that as I look back on this bit of guilt that was heaped on my head, I could have built up a lot of resentment. Instead, I think that what my father told me made me appreciate how lucky I was and that there were children who got little or nothing for Christmas. His stories made me realize over the years that it is more blessed to give than to receive.


  1. your parlor tree is lovely! i simply love shopping for, wrapping and giving too. (whisper) i like getting too though, heeee heee heee

  2. I don't a tree up this year due to projects going on so I am going to virtually borrow yours if you don't mind.. :-)


  3. I think parents are supposed to tell you weird stories. I don't mean lies, but stories that are passed on, like tooth fairies & how hard things used to be. I don't understand why people would claim to be scarred by these stories. IMO

  4. Have a wonderful Christmas Syd sweetie.

  5. I forgot for a while the Spirit in the words (so similar to your dad's) that I heard from my parents and grandparents...

    Now I have them in my inventory to remind me that they were said with every bit of Love that could be mustered...

    We are a blessed lot...Thanks for sharing this, it planted and nurtured another gratitude in me...

  6. I love your tree. It's beautiful. I saw a bag of coal yesterday and remembered my parents telling me the same thing. Merry Christmas.

  7. Ahh Syd..you rockess..And thank you for sharing your Christmas tree with us in the parlour.I can only imagine the rest of your house now..I am so curious! lol

    Wishing you and yours a peaceful fun loving sexy Christmas my friend!


  8. My dad and mum still tell me the same now, its all changed now though our kids tell us what they want and we add to the credit crunch to comply.
    Ive been doing a bit of reading and looking back at my recent behaviour which is not good.
    Its my fifth sober christmas but im not five till end of august, i am keeping the events of christmas in the now.
    The reason I fell out with my mum Syd is she keeps letting my niece buttercups boyfriend stay with her, shes 14, hes 17 and not just that but he aint got a right lot of people saying too many good things about him

  9. I love Christmas memories even if they're sometimes a bit sad. It seems that makes us appreciate it more.

    Love your pictures.

  10. Syd your tree in the parlor is gorgeous and I hope that your holiday is filled with much magick, love and enchantment.

  11. The tree is amazing and huge!

    I bet the house smells lovely because of it!

    Have a Merry Christmas!

  12. Beautiful tree! I'm so delighted to discover not unlike me, you appreciate the timeless aspects of some of the ornaments and decorations. The glass bulbs hold such fond memories of childhood trees at my grandmothers.

    Hope today finds you immersed in the beauty of the season dear one! (Hugs)Indigo

  13. Have a Merry Christmas, Syd. The tree is beautiful.

  14. I've so enjoyed all your Christmas photos. You tree is fabulous. I love that the ornaments and lights are so meaningful to you. Reading your stories are infusing a new appreciation for holiday traditions and memories that I am making now with my family. Thank you.

  15. The tree and ornaments are beautiful. So is the story about your dad.

    One year my parents gave me a lump of coal... and then surprised me later with my gifts. My dad's sense of humor had a pretty sharp edge to it.

  16. My mother tells of receiving fruit and candy in her stockings.

    Merry Christmas, Syd! Hope to see you again soon - Kellan

  17. Great post. I am in the process of trying to teach our 8 and 5 year old the same morals. I've never seen an ornament like the one that heats up and turns. That is pretty cool.

  18. We had the stranges topper for our tree that we received from my husband's mother. Kind of looked like something from outter space and it spun around. We always got alot of compliments on it. Eventually it started spinning slower and slower so we replaced it a few years ago.


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