An Only Child’s Christmas

An Only Child’s Christmas

It wasn’t until I had more than one child myself that I understood why Santa had to wrap and tag the packages under the tree. As an only child, when I got up on Christmas morning and rushed to the living room, there, spread out under the tree and by the fireplace, was what can only be termed “an embarrassment of riches” – and all for me!

Thanks to the photos taken by my Uncle Sam (Colored slides later reproduced as prints), I can see the proof of this statement. Perhaps it is nowhere more evident than in the picture of Christmas, 1943, when I was five. There is my beloved doll, Diana Christine, dressed in a velvet cape with a hood edged in fur. She is sitting in a “baby buggy” (as my Dad called it) that was more elegant and sturdy than those intended for real babies. In the background you see ice skates (Think I used them twice.), a chalk board on an easel, and a complete set of “My Book House.” Those were just the major gifts! The next year pride of place went to the dollhouse lovingly and exactingly crafted by my Uncle Sam: a replica of my own house, complete with electric lights,

Over the years there were blocks, a toy farm, a top, games, always a dress, and always books. In 1946, there, in front of the tree you see a small sewing machine, a bathinette, a bassinet, and no less than five dolls, two of them large rag dolls made by my Aunt Florine. For you see this largesse came not just from my parents, my Aunt Dot and Uncle Sam, but also from my New Jersey aunts: Florine and Maude.

As if all this were not enough, on Christmas Eve I would hang two stockings, both mine, from the fireplace mantle. One was of traditional size, but one was huge, maybe 3 feet long, made by my Aunt Florine. The large stocking had to be propped up in a chair once it was filled to overflowing as they both were.

Sad to say, I was sassy, lippy, strong-willed – call it what you will. I was all that and more. I knew I shouldn’t act that way, but somehow, at home, I just couldn’t control myself . My father sometimes said I was his little “house devil – street angel.” As a result, the weeks leading up to Christmas put a great strain on me as I attempted to be the model child. I was probably six or seven the year that, having kept it together until I had examined the last gift, I breathed a huge sigh of relief and reverted to my obnoxious behavior. In the evening, my mother said, “You know, Dorothy, Santa comes around on Christmas night and takes back toys from naughty girls and boys.” Quickly I began gathering up as many toys as I could. I stuffed them under the bed covers and hopped into bed, lying there listening in fright for the sound of those reindeer hooves on the roof.

© Dorothy C. Judd

Next Post: Thursday, Jan. 2nd, 2014



About twofelines

What to say? I love my family and friends. I also love kids, cats, and books. Oh, and potato chips and Cheez-its. I am a retired teacher who still loves to be in the classroom, so now I am a substitute teacher.
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5 Responses to An Only Child’s Christmas

  1. Lisa Gross says:

    How funny! I never knew you were such a devil!!

    Sent from my iPhone


  2. Ann says:

    Great memories. My sister and I were the beneficiaries of great generosity from my mom’s parents, my beloved Papa and Betty. I had forgotten about the year I got a bathinette (which I adored,) and a bassinette. I didn’t like dolls much, but I had a large, stuffed, grey cat, at least 2 feet tall, whom I named “Kitty.” He got squeezed into doll clothes and “slept” in the bassinette. I still have Kitty, in the cedar chest my father made my mother after their marriage in 1931. His cheek and part of his forehead are sunken in, from my sister bashing him. (I still get a bit huffy over that.) Then part of his ear is chewed off from rats in the storage area at The Bluefin motel, in Boca Raton, that my family owned in the late 1960s-early 1970s. I wonder how our families were able to get nice toys during the war.

  3. Carol D'Agostno says:

    This is so interesting! I always knew you had a great memory! I do not remember what Santa left when I was 5 years old. I remember that Christmas was very exciting and I had trouble sleeping on Christmas Eve. He left many interesting gifts, but don’t remember the details. I too liked to play school and got gifts of school supplies. Also remember the year Santa brought two wheelers for my brother and me. I never would have guessed that you were sassy, lippy and strong-willed. Rafe is 5 and an only child. You’ve got me wondering what he will remember about this Christmas.

    • twofelines says:

      My memory was jogged by all those pictures taken, and luckily dated, by my Uncle Sam. Having looked at the pictures over the years, I am very familiar with them. Stories like protecting toys from a Santa take-back are undocumented but very real to me. Also, I never had a brother or sister to refute any of these memories!

  4. twofelines says:

    I loved reading about “Kitty” and can just picture your playing with him like a doll. My favorite stuffed animal was a Teddy bear I got for my first Christmas. I kept him – and probably took him to bed with me- until I graduated college and got married. He had one arm totally bandaged, a huge patch on his abdomen, and , of course, not one bit of fur left anywhere. I’m embarrassed to say that the top of his head was covered with lipstick “kisses.” He was my best friend!
    I know that my dolls always came from FAO Schwartz; as for the other things, who knows. I do know that one Christmas my Aunt Dot scoured the city of Boston for cloth diapers for a doll. Diapers were in short supply because of the war.

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