Edge of June-Christmas of 1988

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic


Here are my recollections of my earliest Christmas, which I guess is circa 1988 or 1989. While this is not my first Christmas, this is one of the earliest I can actually remember. Hmm those were
the days indeed...

Submitted: December 15, 2017

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Submitted: December 15, 2017

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The Christmases of the late 1980s are as blurry to me now as the photos we took back then (we used this odd rectangular skinny camera that was hard to use; my dad always ended up cutting off people's heads or accidentally putting his thumb in the flash).  But every now and then I like to dust off the old family album and gaze at those faded pictures.

Ah the Christmas of 1988 brings to mind that 7 foot tall tree.  Back then artificial trees tended to look really fake and had this odd rounded shape.  Artificial trees now are really top of the line.  They are as real as can be and truly look as if they are fir, or balsams or whatever.  Oh but not these 1980s trees!  We would decorate the tree with this rounded ornaments that were always colored blue, red and gold and looked really fragile.  Next we'd add this silver wrap thing (what are they called?). It looked like a silver spiky boa and it snaked around the tree and thinking of it now, these things were probably a fire hazard.  I don't think we even had a star until the 1990s.  We had a bell at the top of the tree.

My favorite memories are there in the album.  My parents wanted to commemorate this occasion and made my siblings and I put on our best sweaters.  So there we all are in our heavy sweaters, now dubbed "ugly sweaters" but back in 1988 they truly were styling.  In one picture I'm sitting in the living room couch with my sister playing with a Speak and Spell (a hot toy gadget in the 1980s, as seen in the films ET and in Poltergeist 3).  In another my mom is happily showing the camera the pot of freshly made popcorn.  Although microwaves existed in 1988 for some reason we still made popcorn in the stovetop...but I'm not sure if Popsecret or Act 2 popcorn existed yet (cut me some slack, I was only 4!)

The Christmas of 1988 was no doubt a cold one.  My parents always say now that the winters back in the 1980s were colder than they are now (we lived in Chicago).  Maybe the house always felt cold due to the old type gas furnace that you had to turn a knob and light with a match and hope it didn't blow up in your face.  I recall my brother and sister (both older than me) would sneak out to the living room without me.  They would be the first to see if Santa had come.

Back then neither of us had Christmas stockings to leave out by the chimney (which we did not have either).  We would instead leave out our Sunday best shoes along with our Christmas wish list.  In the morning the list would be gone and a gift or tow would be left next to the shoe.  I only recall what my brother received that year (both my sister's and my own gift have been lost in time).  He received the new Nintendo Entertainment System, and all our lives changed!

No doubt that Christmas Day was spent on the living room couch (which at the time were colored yellow plaid and were covered in plastic or clear vinyl and was always freezing in winter and sticky hot in the summer). The couch crunched under him as my brother tried out the new controls and learned how to play Super Mario Brothers and Duck Hunt.

Yes, these are the memories I still remember even now.  Sometimes I'll imagine it is still 1988 and my mom is making butter flavored popcorn in the kitchen as my brother battles it out with my sister over who will be Mario this time and I watch them from the crunchy cold couch as I play with my Speak & Spell, all of us wearing our fancy (not ugly) sweaters.


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