2 April, 2023

An Aluminum Tree, a Phonograph, and ‘Snowballs’

by | 23 December, 2022 | 0 comments

You know it was a landmark Christmas from your childhood when three memories come flooding back. Christian Standard Media publisher Jerry Harris explains. 

_ _ _

By Jerry Harris 

Christmas childhood memories can blur together, but one specific Christmas—I think it was 1966—certainly left a lasting impression.  

We had a now-vintage aluminum Christmas tree—silver in color, of course—prominently placed in our picture window. A common accessory of the time was a motorized, four-color wheel with a spotlight behind it that transformed the silver tree into four colors at night. My family chose to “kick it up a notch” and sprung for the accessory. 

My brother who was about 9 years older than me thought he could hypnotize me with help from the rotating four-color light. He placed me in front of the contraption and urged me to become drowsy and fall asleep. I thought it would be fun to make him think the hypnosis was working. My memory is that I completely convinced him! 

Our parents had a $15 limit to spend on Christmas presents for each of their six children. Of course, we had no knowledge of that at the time; we were young, and our understanding was that everything we wanted was coming directly from the North Pole!  

That year, all I wanted from Santa was a Close ’n Play Phonograph from Kenner! As we opened our presents, I remember my parents made me open that one last! I can still remember how it felt to have that wonderful music machine, even if it only played 45 rpm records! 

Finally, a Christmas tradition was part of that special year, courtesy of my parents. On Christmas Eve after church, we all came home and enjoyed “snowballs,” a confection of vanilla ice cream rolled in coconut flakes; a small red candle and a holly leaf adorned the top. We lit the candles and turned off the dining room lights, so that the only light came from the candle and the Christmas tree.  

Before going to bed on Christmas Eve, we prayed a Christmas prayer thanking the Lord for Jesus.  

Jerry Harris is publisher of Christian Standard Media and teaching pastor at The Crossing, a multisite church located in three states across the Midwest. 


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