As we're already making plans for Advent and Christmas celebrations, I'm beginning with a few Christmas memories, which may at least interest my family (and maybe spur a few comments from them!)
The first Christmas memories I have are not my own; they are memories my mother shared with me. During her growing-up years, her family lived first on the Fisher Road and later on the Millay Road in Bowdoinham. Except for her father's sister, Aunt Maude, and her husband Charles James, most of their relatives lived far away. Grammie's sister Octavia (Aunt Ottie) and her husband and children lived in Portland, no great distance today, but in the 20s, 30s and during World War II, not a trip lightly undertaken. So gifts would arrive from Grammie's parents in Calais and perhaps other relatives as well. Mama said that these gifts would have to be kept in their postal wrappings under the tree until Christmas morning -- prolonging the anticipation as layers of wrapping were taken off. There was also a visit from Santa Claus, and at least once, Grampie went out and threw snowballs onto the roof to make the children think that Santa's reindeer had landed!
I don't remember my father ever recalling his childhood Christmases. He always went a bit overboard at Christmas, but I don't know whether that was a holdover from his own childhood or a reaction to a perceived scarcity.
Here's a photo from one of my early Christmases. I was 3 1/2 and my brother Stephen was creeping up on 10 months at Fort Hancock in Sandy Hook, NJ in 1951. I don't remember what was in those big boxes, but I'm sure it was a merry Christmas.