My memories of my earliest Christmases are few, although I have a few black-and-white photos to prove there were some. I do remember winter though. For the first five years of my life my family lived on Long Island, east of New York City. My mother bundled us in multiple layers, the last being a snowsuit and snow boots. She and I once built an igloo in the front yard. The snow on the east coast was wet and easy to pack into blocks of ice. I also remember Dad breaking off a long icicle that dripped from the roof. Mom put one across the kitchen sink, and we’d lick the iciness as we walked by.

Mom was an ice skater and took me with her as she skated on a small pond near our neighborhood. I tried to emulate her as she swirled around. Only I had no skates, just snow boots, and often plopped down. We had a sled and there are photos of me being pulled around the yard. Funny thing, though, I don’t remember being cold.

Indoors, our grandparents would visit for the holiday, and we’d open gifts and pose for photos. Once we moved south, though, many of our Christmases were just our family of five. We often had a cut tree, maybe from the woods across the street. There were long-needle pines, scrub oaks and cedar trees there, so our trees were cedar. I loved the large multi-colored bulbs that wrapped the tree, and the conglomeration of hand-made and vintage ornaments that graced the tree. When I left home for college, Mom kept with the times and bought one of those metallic trees. When I first married, our tree was made from a collapsed easel that was wrapped with blue-green tinsel garland from which a few bulbs were hung.

As we decorate the library for Christmas, I look back on simpler times with fondness. For I believe it’s not the decorations that counted, it was the love of family that meant the most. For those who don’t decorate, you are welcome to come visit the library to enjoy our spirit of Christmas and share the joy we find as we add color and sparkle to one of our favorite places. We hope to have our tree decorated by the time you read this. Gather around it for a photo and make your own memories of a happy time. You’re also welcome to join us for our third annual Music on Main! Chili Jam Session at 6 p.m. We look forward to seeing you whenever you visit.