Compiled by Sasha Kamini Parmasad
With contributions from Crystal Waters, Nicholas Tucco, Samantha Young, Joshua Vojtisek, Abigail Neal, Monica Moscovici, Kaitlin Fitzgerald, William Clark, Aditi Gentsch, Mengyuan Wang, Michael Barrett, and Dusty
Sasha Parmasad’s college composition class pooled their holiday memories to create this essay in the style Joe Brainard’s I Remember.
I remember sitting on my grandfather’s lap unwrapping presents while he smoked his pipe. I remember my grandfather reading the newspaper in his favorite blue chair, the scent of pipe tobacco hanging low over a crackling fire, my grandmother in the steamy kitchen forming dough into traditional loaves of stollen. I remember I sat down in my grandmother’s yard and began to write a letter to my parents. I remember my grandfather peeling invisible corn.
I remember ignoring my parents coming into the house with bags of toys because I wanted to believe in Santa. I remember not liking when gifts weren’t wrapped. I remember the only Christmas my dad was home because of a picture in front of our Christmas tree with the most presents I’ve ever seen.
I remember drinking loads of caffeine on Christmas eve, then taking my sister’s Barbie doll. I remember my teeth meeting Barbie’s plastic flesh. I remember stringing the dismembered pieces of Barbie and hanging them on the Christmas tree, unable to stop laughing.
I remember throwing maple seeds off of the bridge and watching them spin all the way down. I remember eating candy out of my pillowcase. I remember how much I wanted to be a dinosaur.
I remember dipping a candy cane into my hot chocolate and feeling fancy. I remember stealing a small pine tree off the side of the highway under the cover of night so we could have a Christmas tree. I remember my cat hiding in the tree with the ornaments. I remember spending my birthday, three days after Christmas, by myself in a cold basement.
I remember making holiday cards with googly eyes. I remember giving my brother a box of potatoes for Christmas. I remember wrapping my brother’s gift in kitchen towels and then searching for the towels one week later.
I remember the mall dog that stole my heart.
I remember eating ham. I remember the apples became expensive because of Christmas. I remember getting lost in Walmart looking at the Star Wars action figures, and my mom hugging me in front of the customer service desk. I remember the nightly lullabies.
I remember wrapping my old toys and putting them under the tree for my mom and dad. I remember feeling guilty for craving more after I was done unwrapping presents. I remember never wanting to grow up. I remember feeling jealous of my future kids for all the presents they would receive. I remember wanting to do pretty much everything we did. I remember trying to remember.