Magical Memories of the Holiday Season

My GoLocalProv story was published earlier today. Here is an excerpt. I hope you enjoy it.

The advent of the holiday season transports me to days of joy, excitement, and family.  Songs of Christmas filled the airwaves, announcing the start of the season, and decorations popped up magically in stores and homes.  Ornamental lights, wreaths, trees, and nativity scenes were set. Anticipation and excitement filled the air.

It was a tradition for Mom to take me to downtown Providence. As we left the bus at LaSalle Square, we walked by the Majestic Theater and the City Hall Hardware Store where there was a toy department. Toys were spinning in my head. She pulled me from store to store, entering and exchanging the commotion of the city — cars, buses, walkers and talkers — for the softer sounds of the stores with the smells of wood and pine. We passed Gladdings, Kennedys, Shepard’s to Woolworth’s, cutting through Pie Alley, stopping to look, maybe to buy, Mom never letting go of my hand.

To read the entire story, please click on the link below.

Magical Memories

© 2018

By | 2018-12-24T14:13:17+00:00 December 24th, 2018|Christmas, Stories of the 1940's and 1950's|9 Comments


  1. Peter Voccio JR. December 24, 2018 at 4:07 pm - Reply

    Ed, what a beautiful story of Christmas and the travel with mom, to all the places in Providence during a special time of the year. The city, with all the bustling of shoppers and friends you met, the grab bag at the Outlet. I remember it well. Of course the real Santa was always at the outlet. The Boston store, you had the custard pie and I enjoyed the warm apple pie with vanilla ice cream. Mom holding your hand, never letting it go, she had all the reasons to say ‘Edward you know I love you” Merry Christmas to you Diane and family and a healthy and happy new year

    • Ed December 24, 2018 at 4:29 pm - Reply

      Thank you, Peter. It was a beautiful time for so many. The only difference between you and me was our pie traditions. Merry Christmas and Happy Healthy New Year🎉🎉✨✨

  2. Anthony (Tony) J. Agostinelli December 31, 2018 at 3:12 pm - Reply

    Christmastime at the Agostinell’s circa 1940s.

    The tree sits in the corner of the living room — no presents until found under thet ree on Christmas morning.. My father Domenic’s hand built cross with bright white lights hangs in the little porch of our front door; it lights up a good part of the neighborhood. The front shrubbery is wrapped in multi-colored large Christmas lights. There is a wreath on the front door. As La Vigilia approaches, Domenic and Louis buy sea food, since there a a day of abstinence before Christmas day. We feast on the vigil. — fish.

    Presents are opened on Christmas Day. Many expected and unexpected gifts. Some were seen when being wrapped. Santa has given gifts, also. We really don’t talk about Santa coming…that was for another time past. Dress up, white shirt, tie,blazer, best trousers.

    Morning Mass following where Domenic is a congregational engineer, he collects seat money and is one of those passing the basket.

    Upon our return home, the table had been laid out before going to Mass with wines, liqueurs , Christmas cookies, quandies (eandies) that my aunts and women cousins had baked a few days previously in our basement kitchen on an assembly line. Never remarks that they seemed a bit heavy this year! Cousins make the rounds to all the aunt’s and uncle’s homes close by. Some give gifts, others do not. Mom and Dad give gifts to some, others not. I could never figure out or was told why the selectivity.

    Christmas was about Christ’s birth, but a lot of eating, drinking and gift-giving at the same time! I loved Christmas (and still do).

    Anthony J. Agostinelli

    • Ed December 31, 2018 at 3:16 pm - Reply

      Great recollections were beautifully written, Tony. You captured it so well that it is easy to understand why you love the day and time of year.
      Buon Nuovo Anno!

    • Ed December 31, 2018 at 3:17 pm - Reply

      Sad to see that no one ‘dresses’ anymore. What happened to pride in appearance?

  3. Tony Lucca December 31, 2018 at 3:44 pm - Reply

    Great memories! I remember my Uncle Rico Gravino taking me downtown to a train store someplace around Broad Street. I can’t recall the exact location. This is one of my most vivid memories of my childhood as I remember glaring at those Lionel trains in their orange and black boxes. I was lucky enough to get a set for Christmas. Happy New Year to you Ed and all your readers.

    • Ed December 31, 2018 at 3:50 pm - Reply

      Thank you, Tony. My train set was an American Flyer. Wish I had it today. Happy, Healthy New Year to You and Family!

  4. Lynn Walker January 7, 2019 at 2:23 pm - Reply

    Downtown Providence was such a pretty place at Christmas back then. The large up-scale stores seemed to have a friendly rivalry to see who could create the best holiday window displays (and they appeared to use pros to do this). It was like a little slice of Fifth Avenue that didn’t require a long bus or train ride. The more affordable stores (Grant’s, Kresge’s, Woolworth’s) also got into the mix with toy-themed decorations and it seemed like almost every door had a real evergreen wreath. I would head right for the 30 cent record bin to try to find some treasure in Grant’s if Big Al’s Records on Eddy St. was already closed when I arrived. The Arcade was all decked out, too, and it was a welcome spot to get warm. In the 50s and 60s, downtown was bustling and drew an interesting mix of just about everybody like today’s Waterfire; and like Waterfire, one didn’t need to part with a lot of cash to enjoy the spirit that surrounded us.

    • Ed January 7, 2019 at 7:43 pm - Reply

      Thank you, Lynn. Wonderful memories beautifully written. Yes, I remember not knowing where to look next when my mother hustled me around.

Leave A Comment