I put some “scrapbooking” photos together for our children, Jenny and Nick, who are now grown and married with children of their own.  The story of Jenny and Nick’s past Christmases here at their childhood home in Victoria is also my story since I’m almost always the one taking the pictures. 

Christmas 1971.  Jenny and her first doll, Mrs. Beasley, who talked when you pulled her string.  Jenny had her first official baby picture taken at Dayton’s in that little yellow dress.  Here they’re sitting on our first couch, a black “leather” one that cost $179 from a store on Lyndale called Holiday, now defunct.

Christmas 1972.  Nick was born on November 26th, 1972, and he had a full head of black hair.  This is the first Christmas in our new house in Victoria.  Check out that orange shag carpet.

Christmas 1973.  This little boat with wheels was Nick’s favorite toy, indoors and out, until I ran over it when backing out of the garage.  The orange afghan from Grandma Opdahl matched my carpeting.  Remember when TV’s were placed on TV stands and had big turn knobs in front for the four channels?

Christmas 1973.  Jenny loved her stove and all those pots and pans from Santa Claus.  Nick liked Jenny’s pink piggy bank but his was a tall orange (poodle) dog bank.

Christmas 1974.  Rub-a-Dub Dolly was popular this year .  Look at those orange sheer curtains in the background and the white brocade drapes.  The drapes shrunk a foot when I washed them and I never covered my windows again.  That green trunk is still in my living room, full of piano music.

Christmas 1974.  We must have thought Nick would enjoy being a little farmer.  Those were the kind of toys my little brothers got at Christmas time, but Nick didn’t have any idea what a tractor was.

Christmas 1975.  Jenny’s first pretty long dress came from the neighbor Plocher girls.  Nick’s new suspender cords were a gift.  Check out his little black and white saddle shoes.  Our fireplace didn’t get glass doors until later.

Christmas 1976.  I don’t remember just where we found this Santa Claus — there wasn’t an Eden Prairie Center at this time.  It was probably at Southdale.  Such good  kids.

Christmas 1976.  Now my grandkids play with those Fischer Price toys.  Holly Hobby probably passed into Dolly Heaven.  Look at Jenny and Nick’s jammies.  I always cut the feet out when they wore out.  I believe that beautiful doll buggy fell apart after being used outside a couple seasons by the playhouse.

Christmas 1976.  .  Looks like I let the straps down on Nick’s cords.  I see Grover in the background.  Nick loved Grover and dragged him around everywhere.  Jenny’s bedroom was totally Holly Hobby decorated!

Christmas 1977.  Jenny is starting to grow out her bangs.   Looks like those Christmas tree bows are in her hair.  Nick probably got his Count Dracula Sesame Street sweatshirt for his 5th birthday.

Christmas 1978.   Plaid must have been a big thing in clothes.  Jenny is wearing another outfit from Shelly and Julie Plocher.  I had yarn ties for her hair that matched anything we pulled out of her drawer.

Christmas 1978.  I always liked turtlenecks for my kids because it kept them warm all the way up to their chinny chin chins.

Christmas 1980.  My little squirts are getting bigger.  You can see it in their eyes.  As for that manger, Allan built it that year and it’s still the one I take out every Christmas, along with the same rubber/plastic Nativity people.  That means it’s 30 years old already.

Christmas 1980.  As I said, the kids are getting bigger.  You can see it in their eyes.  I was big into quilting for a couple years around this time.  I made that quilted tree skirt, and lots of pillows that I gave for Christmas gifts that year.

Christmas 1980.  Every year the kids each got a new, coordinating, ornament for the Christmas tree.  Jenny has hers on her own tree now.  Look, I even made quilted ball ornaments.

Christmas 1980.  This is at Grandma and Grandpa Orsen’s house out on the farm at Minneota.  That’s probably one of the last (if not the last) Christmas tree they put up.  Vera came to only set out her ceramic lighted tree.

Christmas 1981.  I can’t tell what  Jenny is holding but I remember that my macramé projects were holding pots all over the house.  I bought that rickety antique table at a sale.  Still have it and use it.

Christmas 1981.  We bought that couch for $400 and got the loveseat “free.”  They were very big and soft and we loved them and would often all curl up on the couch together, all four of us at one time. 

Christmas 1982.  Look at the pretty sweater that  Jenny and Nick are wearing.  That unusual shirt of Allan’s is 100% polyester and never wrinkled or wore out.

Christmas 1983.  Nick with his trumpet and Jenny with her oboe were playing a Christmas carol for me.  They both took lessons from Mr. Barry Fox.

Christmas 1984.  Notice the new carpet.  That orange shag lasted nearly a dozen years.   See how Allan had cut a whole in our living room wall for that big air conditioner, which came from my Mom and Dad’s house after they got central air.  It was a lifesaver for us, even though we lived in the shade of many trees.

Christmas 1985.  Nick’s Sorels were the warmest boots he ever had.

Christmas 1985.  Nice teeth.

Christmas 1987.  Grandpa Orsen died in 1985, and Grandma Orsen came every year to spend Christmas days with us, sometimes by bus and sometimes by a special chauffeur service from Minneota.

Chrsitmas 1987.  Those big  Pier One Import rocker-chairs were very comfortable but one eventually became too wobbly and fell apart.

Chrsitmas 1987.  This is the first time I put up our Christmas tree on the “porch,” as we came to call it, because that addition was only built in 1987 — by Allan and Nick.  It’s a wonderful part of our house.

Christmas 1988.  The bigger the kids, the bigger the presents.  Dayton’s put out their first Santa Bear in 1986.  The girl bear came the following year and I never bought any more after that.  Remember that couch?

Christmas 1989.  After Jenny graduated from Chaska High School, she attended  four years at Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota, getting a major in Economics.  Smartest girl in the world.

Christmas 1989.  Jenny was the pitcher for the Carleton girls softball team.  Looks like she needed a new glove.

Christmas 1989.  I loved that outfit.  Sorta matches the pink foil ribbons on my tree but not Allan’s shirt.

Christmas 1990.  One of our family trips was to Madeline Island, as you can see from Nick’s shirt.  As for that present he’s holding, I’m thinking it’s a rifle.

Christmas 1991.  After Nick graduated from Chaska High School in 1991, he attended four years at St. John’s University in Collegeville, MN, getting his degree in Accounting.  Smartest boy in the world.

Christmas 1992.  My kids are looking like adults this year.

Christmas 1993.  I gave each of the kids big new warm winter coats so Jenny wouldn’t get cold at the bus stop for her big new job in Minneapolis and Nick would look professional for his upcoming job interviews.  Check out the new wallpaper border I put up in our Christmas room.  I hand cut out every leaf.

Christmas 1993.  One of the few times that Allan didn’t have a goatee, or however you spell it.

Christmas 1994.  This is probably one of the last times that my parents had Christmas in Minnesota.  Their big loft was perfect for Christmas parties and the grandchildren.  Shortly after this, Mom and Dad started spending six winter months at their home in Alamo, Texas. 

Christmas 1995.  Mother and daughter.

Christmas 1995.  A close-up.

Christmas 1995.  Brother and sister — 25 years after the first picture on this page was taken.

Christmas Card 1981.  Notice that Jenny’s right arm is in a cast.  She broke it playing at Maul Lee Hartman’s house — fell off their golf cart.  I took this picture on our summer vacation out west, when we always slept in our big green canvas tent and ate by the fire.

Love, Mom