Well to start off with I learned something about myself - and maybe everyone will learn the same thing - I don't remember a lot of things growing up. That is not to say that we did nothing fun as a family and that there are not memories. I decided the best way to re-discover memories was to look through the old "WEST Family" photo albums. However it took me a few days, and in the meantime I came up with some stuff that just seemed like Christmas tradition around our home growing up.......sorry in advance - ha ha.
There were many traditions we all loved through the years - some have continued and some have been discontinued. Let’s begin with Christmas Eve. Dinner is always something I remember in case anyone can't tell. But our traditional Christmas Eve meal of Clam Chowder and Shrimp along with whatever seems like it should go on a cracker and be eaten and fresh bread always starts the night off good. Not real sure why Clam Chowder and Shrimp just say "Christmas Eve", but they do and I think we'd be lost without them. The other favorite Christmas Eve tradition that I always have enjoyed was the new PJ's. I was reminded by a photo I came across of the good old days where mom would sew our PJ's and try to keep it somewhat secretive (at least from what I remember). The photo as you can see is one year that mom really "out-did herself". Not sure who set the camera up for this photo but apparently the door was needed in the picture!
I remember many night's before Christmas not wanting to sleep and being very excited to get up. I always liked if I was one of the first awake and was told to wake whomever was sleeping in the downstairs bedroom - always with the reminder "don't peek". Uhum I never did......ever. Ok I always did! I just couldn't resist seeing what might be waiting for me. I even remember one time I snuck down the stairs as quietly as I could to peek. Enough of that! Now you guessed it the "tradition" of waiting for dad to get out of bed only to follow it with I need to poop (maybe not it those words) and then I think we waited another hour while he did just that. I remember all of us sitting on his bed until the smell was creeping out then we would migrate to a different spot. Then finally down to see what Santa had brought.....always with dad in the lead so when he got to the bottom of the stairs he could peek around the corner and exclaim - "he didn't come" - then he would pretend to turn and begin to walk upstairs. We knew better "Santa" was always way to good to us! There were many gifts that were treasured through the years. I found a picture of me holding a new remote controlled car "Baja Bandit" to be more specific. I could not wait to drive this truck it began in the house running into everything 'cause it was pretty fast then first chance I had for a semi-dry street I was outside along with Tyler who also picked up a nice remote control car. All these years later, I believe, I have still seen Baja Bandit hanging out in the toy closet and occasionally being played with by the kids.
Immediately following the opening of presents I remember putting on some new set of clothes I had been given so the rest of the party could begin. Aaahh the neighborhood party - not the one where the old folks would get together and send us kids off to one of the three party houses, but the one where we went to the neighbor houses to see what good fortune had been brought to them that fine day. I remember checking out the goods then being "forced" to snack. There was always snacks at each visit it seemed then at some point they would all be at our house for snacks then we would maybe go to a couple relatives homes for snacks then it was back home for an evening of yes more snacks. Oh and there was usually some turkey and or ham for sandwiches. I remember for a time - maybe the whole time we were growing up - Carl and Dad getting their little toy for the year and how excited they were to show it off to the kids and to each other - I like to think mostly to each other.
Another thing that comes to mind were all of the Holiday traditions with the "friend families" (Burch's and Zwahlen's). I remember many years the going to Temple Square to see the lights which was usually accompanied by a trip to Crown Burger yummy! I remember the New Years Eve parties which have changed a bit but have continued. I remember watching movies as the pass time while we waited for Midnight :01 to arrive. All the kids would be sent to one house while the adults were at another house sleeping (I have decided that is what they were doing) no just kidding - I am sure they were tired of all of us, but I have seen them get crazy too. This event was usually preceded by a trip to Robintinoe's - at least until the group was too large and thus the wait too long. That wouldn't stop our clan - we just got take out and moved it to a church for the first bit of the evening - food, friends, and some very intense games of "lightning".
You know looking back we always had a party. And thank goodness. I am sure there were always other places we all could have been back then, but I like to think we were all where we really wanted to be!
Ty's Christmas Memories
upon thinking about our Christmases when we were younger, and trying to describe my favorite, I totally drew a blank. I talked with Ry a little about the assignment, but did not really talk about anything specific. We both decided that if we saw some pictures it would be easier to remember. I was just at Mom and Dads looking through some old pics of ourselves. Wow! We were children of the 80's and 90's. So I was searching through these photos trying to focus on the Christmas ones, which are kinda scattered might I add. I came upon some pictures with some of my favorite gifts, and I started to remember some of the fun times we had as kids growing up together. The "ski" Christmas when we all got red or blue skis, the one when Mom made us all nightgowns. I loved that thing! The Christmas I got the best snowboard ever made, I believe it was the 1995 Burton Brushie. Dang! That was a sweet board. Then I saw a photo of Ry and I in the woods at the cabin with my .22, and it all came rushing back to me. You see that summer was one of the many my friends Nate Burch and Justin Spendlove and others spent in the field playin around, and buildin forts out of sage brush and whatever else we could find. It was also the summer we would shoot at almost anything you could put a hole in with a BB gun. Now I didn't have a BB gun of my own, I just played with my friends' guns, because Dad didn't think I should have one me being so young and all. Anyhow, I really liked to shoot, and I was a bit frustrated because my friends had guns and I didn't. I remember wanting one soooo bad, and hinting at it all year. When it came time to tell Mom and Dad what we wanted for Christmas, all I remember asking for was a gun. With early teen anticipation, I waited for Christmas morning to come. Christmas Eve was hard for me, I could hardly sleep. Of course we woke up early, and did the whole wait for Dad for like an hour while he pooped or something. I knew, though, that every excruciating minute that passed waiting there on their bed was one minute closer to present time. When we finally got downstairs, there was no gun in sight. Needless to say, I was pretty bummed out. We did the whole take turns unwrapping gifts, and oohs and aahs at what each other got. Then it was over, I was a bit disappointed, but I remember being happy for what I did get. I think Dad could tell I was feelin down, but it was his fault, he did it to me on purpose, it was a mean little joke, but I can see why he did it, its fun playing jokes on someone who really reacts the way I did when I was younger. Well, I don't remember the details, but it went something like this: Dad: "did Santa forget anything?" Us kids:??? Dad: "Oh hey there's something over here." and there it was, I mean it had to be right? It was a long, slender box wrapped up so nicely with a bow on top. Dad brought it over to me. Dad: "it says to Tyler on it." I ripped into the bright, shiny wrapping paper, those famous words ringing through my head: "you'll shoot your eye out" over and over just like the movie, after all, we had something in common Ralphie and me. I was stunned, it was not a BB gun at all, but a smooth, black and brown Ruger model 10-.22 lr rifle. WOW! I was stoked to say the least. I did, and still do find it a little weird that instead of getting me a BB gun, they got me a .22. I guess Dad figured he could better supervise me with it because he kept it hidden away. That was probably my most memorable, and favorite Christmas gift. The most memorable and favorite things about Christmas in general however, were not in the form of worldly items. The best things about Christmas were being with my family at the church eating pizza, and playing lightning, and having friends and family over to the house to eat tons of good holiday food.
My favorite Christmas at the West home was? Well their isn’t just one that I can remember but I do remember about a lot of different things at Christmas time.Before christmas time even started I remember going out to dinner with the Z,’s to crown burger and then for a stroll up the street to temple square to look at the lights and then when the singers in the families were in the music programs then we would go into the concert at the tabernacle, Another thing I remember is starting out the christmas season by helping Dad hang up the lights out side and holding the ladder also one Christmas time I recall helping Dad dip the lights that have the old colored paint on them that had started to chip off we dipped them in paint thinner to remove all the color so they were white so we didn’t have to go buy new white bulbs I thought that was quite a stroke of genius! Another thing I remember doing at Christmas time was making suckers and carmel’s and sitting and stirring the sugary stuff and then testing it in a cup of water to see if it was the right consistency, I also remember having many get togethers with the Zs while mom and dad have their annual neighborhood Christmas party and eating the same baked potatoes and all the toppings and that was the only time of the year we ever got to put all that stuff on our potatoes. We always were so excited to get up on Christmas morning and we would all gather in our parents bedroom and wait and wait and wait of dad to finally get up then go to the bathroom and then go to check if santa had come then come up down the hall to get us and we would all walk holding hands down the hall to where christmas was and then get to open our eyes. One of the christmas gifts I remember most was getting my cabbage patch doll and getting pajamas for her. I remember going to the christmas tree lot and picking out a tree and we all had to decide on the same tree, I remember when we were real young getting for a few years at least the flocked trees. I also remember that when christmas was over helping, or really just watching Dad cut all the limbs off the tree and sticking it in the fire place and burning it and sometime I was afraid that he might catch the whole house on fire.
Shar's Favorite Holiday Traditions
When I think about past Christmas’, it always begins with music. I love how Christmas music brings a spirit and excitement to the season. I would definitely say that the trip to Temple Square every year was a highlight. I loved going to Crown Burger for the burgers and fries and then bundling up and walking onto Temple Square where the lights would sparkle and fill me with excitement. It was always fun to go to the concerts in the nice warm building. I remember Carl Zwahlen would buy the orange sticks from ZCMI. I even remember getting an ear pierced right before a concert. (That hole is long gone now!) The holiday music, the colorful lights and even the bitter cold helped usher in the beginning of another wonderful Christmas. And they always were wonderful.
I remember one year when the Austins gave everyone luminaries to put out on Christmas Eve. It was quite a sight, especially when the bags caught on fire. It was beautiful. And then the luminary tradition began for awhile. I remember filling bags with sand and riding in the back of a truck setting out luminaries for the entire ward. For many years we had quite the traffic jam on that dead end street.
I am not sure how Christmas was always magical, but I remember that feeling every year. The house was always decorated just perfect. From the years of the paper elves taped onto the cabinet doors to the living room tree with the breakable glass bells. And remember the cute little porcelain mice? I still have some. There were always goodies around too. The sweet smell of warm caramel that you always wanted to eat even if it was rock hard or gooey soft. And sugar cookies, boxes of chocolates that dad always got from work, cheese ball and crackers and even soda pop!
The presents I don’t remember so much, but the time we spent together is what I will always remember.
Darci’s Christmas Memories (2009)
One Christmas, I don’t know how old I was, but I was very excited for Santa to come. My bedroom was the small room upstairs and my bed was against the wall. I had gone to bed Christmas Eve and my door was left open. I woke up and the hallway light was on. I was turned on my side so I faced the wall and something had startled me awake. I opened my eyes to see Santa’s shadow on the wall. I knew it was Santa because it was big and seemed to have a pointy hat. I was so afraid that he would know I was awake and not give me my presents. I lay very still and squeezed my eyes shut tight. The sound of my heart pounding and my heavy breathing drown out any sounds. I waited what seemed like a very long time and finally dared to open my eyes. When I did the shadow was gone. I fell back to sleep and the next morning Santa had indeed left me presents. So I guess I fooled him!
Another Christmas I remember, was when I was about eleven. It was Christmas Eve and Mom and Dad had gone to the Zwahlen’s house. Amy and Heidi came over to our house. We had been playing in the basement and someone knocked at the door. When I went to answer it, I was surprised to see that it had started to snow. The snowflakes were giant, and so many were falling, that it was hard to see the houses across the street except for the Christmas lights. It had snowed so much that the ground was blanketed in white already. Everyone came up the stairs to see the snow. We were very excited and stood watching it from the doorway for a few minutes. It was so beautiful. It is not the memory, as much as it is the feeling that has stayed with me.
Jo's Christmas Memories
All of these are fun memories I have that will, I am sure, be repeats with everyone else.
I remember every Christmas time going out to Winder Dairy with Z's and having that yummy raspberry drink and i think like hot dogs and petting animals.
Going out to dinner with the Z's to crown burger, walking to temple square to find a seat in the tabernacle to listen to the choir sing and eating orange sticks
that Carl and Dad would walk over to ZCMI to buy in their basement. After the concert we would have fun walking around the lights.
I remember staying up late on Christmas eve while Dad and Mom went to Z's , watching and waiting for them to come home and running to bed as fast as we
could so Santa would come.
I loved the times Gram. great would come and spend Christmas after Grandpa pasted away, Mom always had something she had made for us and one for her
like the little skiers make of a clothes pin and tooth picks with little knitted hats on or when she sewed for Whimple street and we would get the bunnies.
I know everyone probably wrote this, but , when we would have to brush our hair and teeth and then wait in Mom and Dad's room while waiting for Dad to use the
bathroom. It always took FOREVER!!!! I laugh cuz Mike does the same thing now.
Mom always would forget to give us something, and sometime Christmas day she would pull it out. I do that too:)
We always got the same thing the Z's did, which for me made Christmas so fun, you knew for sure that Santa was real cuz the Neighbors got the same things too,
like the cabbage patch dolls and the sweaters and skis or ditto pants or the big fluffy bears that mom make.
I am sure this was not exactly right, however, I remember getting that candy coal one year because we where horrible but then Mom and Dad pulled out things for us,
i remember feeling crushed not getting christmas.
Then there was one year that I believe Carl had lost his job and times for us where hard too, but I remember Mom and Dad saying Christmas was not going to be very big
and that we need to remember what Christmas was all about. We needed to be grateful for what we had. I remember getting a beautiful necklace in my stocking. I being the
ball-baby I am and knowing what Santa was then, began to cry ( imagine that) But I was so grateful thinking it must have cost a lot of money.
My last memory is taking off down the streets during Christmas break on our sleds. Those where great times!