PLATTSBURGH — Kathryn Brown’s favorite Christmas gift came both in a very small box and a very big box.
The Morrisonville resident was given the gift by her grandfather on Christmas Day, 1977.
It was packed away in what Brown remembers as a “gigantic box.” Both she and her sister were told that they had gifts waiting for them inside the box.
Yet, when the sisters opened the box, they found another box. Inside that was hidden another box, which held another box.
“I remember my sister and I laughing while opening box after box,” Brown said.
In the end, after opening what Brown remembers was at least 10 boxes, the sisters found the real gift: a pair of necklaces.
Brown remembered the necklaces as being nice but ordinary and said the real gift was the mystery of the packaging.
WRAP AS TOYS
Another favorite Christmas memory that Brown has was watching that appreciation for gift wrap pass down to her young nephews.
During many recent Christmas mornings, she said, her nephews would eagerly unwrap the gifts beneath the tree, only to then turn their attention to the empty boxes and shredded wrapping paper.
Using their imaginations, the young boys would turn the packaging into something just as entertaining as the toys the boxes had held.
“The bigger the box, the better toy it was,” Brown said.
For Frances Ryan of Plattsburgh, the best Christmas memory was not about a gift but about her childhood Christmas trees.
Each Christmas Eve, Ryan and her six siblings would go to Mass before coming home and being sent to bed. While they were asleep, Santa would not only deliver presents and eat cookies but also take time to decorate the tree.
Though her family would put the lights on earlier in the month, it wasn’t until Christmas morning that Ryan and her six siblings would come out to find the tree covered in ornaments.
“That was always very special,” she said.
Now a parent herself, Ryan said she understands and appreciates the extra effort her parents took to not only organize present purchasing for seven children but also plan a late-night tree-decorating session.
The Christmas tree also played a role in the favorite holiday memory of one of Ryan’s daughters, Savannah Moore.
It was the Christmas season of 1998 when the family cat, Daisy, decided to see if she could climb the Christmas tree.
“Once she did it the first time, she didn’t try it again,” Ryan said, explaining that Daisy’s tree-climbing adventure caused the tree to topple over.
For Ryan’s other daughter, Jackie Moore, Christmas was a fight to drag her older sister out of bed on Christmas morning. An early riser, Jackie would be eager to get the holiday festivities started. But family rules required both sisters to be awake before any gifts could be opened.
“I was forced to wait, like, three hours every Christmas before she got up,” Jackie said.
Even now, at ages 20 and 23, the struggle between the sisters on whether to wake up or sleep in continues.
Yet the whole family had a reason to wake up early for the Christmas of 2012. For the first time in their five-year marriage, Ryan and her husband, Kent Eldrige, were able to spend the holidays with their entire “blended family.”
Eldrige’s sons, Colin and Aaron, had flown in from their homes in San Diego at the same time that Ryan’s daughters were home from college.
For Eldridge, the reunion stood out as his favorite Christmas memory.
“It’s either that or walking through four inches of rain trying to find a Christmas tree in San Diego and only finding palm trees,” Eldridge said, with a chuckle.
Christmas with a loved one was also the favorite memory of Randy Young and Sarah Corron.
The 2013 Christmas season marked the first time that the pair celebrated the holiday as an official couple. With Corron living in Plattsburgh and Young residing in Hardwick, Vt., they maintain a long-distance relationship.
“I come down every other weekend to be with her,” Young said.
Yet, come Christmas Day, Young will return to Vermont to spend the day with his family while Corron will stay in Plattsburgh to celebrate with her relatives.
Knowing they would be apart that day, the couple spent Dec. 22 celebrating their own unofficial Christmas Day with a dinner out, Christmas movies, mall walking and gift exchanging.
Corron gave Young his first tattoo, as well as a how-to guide for drawing fantasy characters. Young gave Corron a guitar that was sold to him by Young’s favorite singer, Dan Bushey of Plattsburgh’s own Party Wolf.
“He bought me the guitar right where he works and I was like, ‘Oh, really? Awesome,’” Young said.
As for future holiday seasons, the pair said they hope to enjoy a more traditional Dec. 25 Christmas morning but were glad to improvise this year.