I was about 13 years old, and my sisters (twins) would have been about 9. My family lived in a high rise, called Tensa Terrace (Army housing) in Fort Myer, VA. It was about a week before Christmas and our aunt was visiting from Germany. One evening, we mentioned the residents were having a Christmas Door Decoration contest. Our aunt, Hannelore, who has always been extremely crafty, was excited and asked when it was being held. To her surprise, we told her the judging was taking place early the very next morning . Now mind you, this conversation happened about 7:00 in the evening and we hadn’t even considered being in the contest so our door was completely undecorated at that moment.
Well, she was excited and offered to help us decorate it THAT NIGHT. We thought it was a great idea, and little did we know it would become a night of imagination, creativity and loads of fun! First we covered the door with a basic red wrapping paper. Then we used green garland to create the outline of a huge Christmas tree that covered the entire door. But then….the real fun began! Hannelore showed us how to create numerous Christmas decorations from scratch, using things like cardboard, empty paper towel and toilet paper rolls, scraps of material, yarn, miscellaneous rick-rack from our mom’s sewing basket, etc. So, for instance we made tiny drums using cut up toilet paper rolls, material, yarn, and match sticks for drumsticks. We also made angels using thin flexible cardboard, material scraps, yarn and whatever we could find to use as their heads. (You get the idea!) It was a BLAST!!
To make a long story short, we handmade dozens of Christmas decorations for our “tree” and we worked on this till about 2:30 in the morning! And then….. we ever so quietly (as there were 10 apartments on each floor of this 12 story high-rise) attached these decorations all over our garland tree. We also Christmas wrapped small empty boxes and attached those under the tree! It was truly an amazing feat!! We finally dropped into our beds, exhausted….. yet thrilled at what we had accomplished, at about 3:00 am.
The next morning we woke up and were super excited to discover a 1st Prize Ribbon attached to our door! The funniest thing about this story was when residents of the building saw the results of the contest posted in the lobby of the building. They were stunned as they had last seen our door BARE! Well, needless to say, our doorbell rang all day long, with people coming by to not only check out our door but also to find out how something with this much detail could have happened over night!!! (The whole event has always reminded me of the story “The Shoemaker and the Elves”!
But I think the most interesting thing about this Fondest Childhood Christmas Memory of mine is the fact that it DID NOT involve the receiving of an expensive or fancy present, instead it was the gift of a happy memorable evening with family, that has remained in my heart all these years! A memory that will be with me forever! And I hope with all my heart, that I’ve given my own children a few of those, because they truly are…..priceless!!
Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas…..and may we all keep the Christmas spirit in our hearts ALL YEAR long!