Christmas Memories

I was feeling pretty sorry for myself during the week before Christmas 1968. I was very pregnant, and because of that “condition” was unable to make the three-hour drive to be with my parents, sisters and brother for the holiday. It was my first Christmas away from home. Oh, my, I was lonesome for my family and the popcorn balls and Christmas program at church and all the other traditions that I had always taken for granted.

Wayne and I were so broke we had to scrounge to find a scrawny tree we could afford. There were only a few hand-me-down ornaments on it and there certainly was no money for gifts for each other. We couldn’t even afford to have a telephone in our small apartment, so I had to walk (waddle, by then) to the nearby drugstore to make my weekly call home.

When my mom and dad got on the line I started to cry, not at all the mature, about-to-be-a-mom married woman I was telling them I was – until that week, anyway.

Well, my dad made me feel somewhat better when he said he’d arranged to have our presents shipped to us by special delivery. All the next day, every time the UPS truck stopped at the apartment building, or when the mailman came, I’d think, “Maybe this time he’ll stop at our door!” But no such luck. Same story the next day – Christmas Eve. When 5:00 came and went and no special delivery had arrived I was ready to cry again.

Just then the doorbell rang. I opened the door, and there stood my dad, dressed in a Santa Claus suit, bag of presents slung over his shoulder. Behind him, down the hall stood the rest of my family. Now I was laughing and crying at the same time. They’d made the long drive, to an unfamiliar place, in the middle of winter after working all day (and for my dad, a baker, all night) to give me a Christmas! What a wonderful gift! We’d all be together after all.

That Christmas Eve was fantastic. We even had popcorn balls. We laughed and hugged a lot. And opened presents. And then, after we’d all been in bed for a couple of hours, I woke up and knew we’d have another present by morning. Sure enough, at 9:30 on that beautiful, sunny Christmas morning in 1968, our first child, our son Christopher, was born.

— Sandy                  

Karen Knapstein

About Karen Knapstein

Karen Knapstein is the editor of Antique Trader magazine. A lifelong collector and student of antiques, she has written dozens of articles on vintage collectibles and their historical context. She lives in Wisconsin with her husband, Joseph, and daughter, Faye. She can be reached at