Another year has passed, where does the time go?

As we head into the New Year we ask ourselves this and are reminded of happy times gone by as we think ahead to those that will come. It is in this spirit of the season that the team at Shields would like to share our own favorite memories and photos. Perhaps some will spark your own recollections and maybe even bring a a smile to your face!


I don’t have a specific Christmas memory, but when I asked my mom to send me a holiday photo she said that in almost every one I was wearing a bucket hat. I loved bucket hats! Literally, I wore them ALL the time and my friends even called me “Bucket Head.” Looking back, I would say I was just a typical 90’s kid who loved legos, as you can see in the photo – and these hats. Also, a “Fun Fact” – bucket hats are totally in style again and I am beyond excited. I am very well prepared for this fashion movement, which typically never happens haha.


For context I need to say that I was the youngest of four — so I kept pretending I believed in Santa because I didn’t want to spoil my family’s fun. This photo is of me (in curlers) with my sister and my mom.

On Christmas morning my brother Dave and I would get up before everyone else and sneak by the living room where the tree was – heading for the kitchen. As we passed he would cover my eyes so I couldn’t see the gifts. I always thought he was secretly peeking but never said anything. We would wait (somewhat patiently) in the kitchen until everyone got up.

We always left cookies for Santa and played Johnny Mathis, Perry Como and Bing Crosby Christmas LPs on the turntable on Christmas Eve. We would then go to the 8pm “midnight” mass (?? I never did understand that!). My sister Paula made me an ornament every year as I was growing up and I still have them all! Each year as I place them on the tree I remember those happy times of Christmas past.


This is me at six and my brother Tommy who was three in 2001. It was Christmas Eve at home in Annapolis MD and we were putting out cookies for Santa! Decorating cut-out sugar cookies was always lots of fun – but sometimes a little messy! Luckily mom was sure to make extras to practice on. I liked to add little candy details to them too, my favorite was making a green grinch cookie with red cinnamon candy eyes!


When I was young, my family would spend Christmas at my grandparents house. I have a lot of cousins who would all be there so it was always a great time that I would look forward to. One year I decided that I wanted to make Christmas gifts for all of my cousins. My father had a woodshop in the basement of our house where he taught me to use tools at a young age. Being totally unaware of child safety, I decided to make wooden swords to give to all of my cousins; I thought it was a great idea. I made one sword for each cousin and sharpened the wooden “blade” as much as possible. On Christmas day, I was so excited to give the gifts to all of my cousins. Until years later, I had no idea how dangerous these gifts were. I remember my aunts and uncles putting tape on the tip of the swords immediately after I gave them to my cousins. What I didn’t remember is how fast the swords disappeared. As soon as my cousins put them down and stopped playing with them, all of our parents took the swords and hid them away. We were having so much fun on Christmas Day that none of us noticed. Years later I realized how bad an idea those gifts were! Fortunately our parents did a good job taking care of the situation.

In this photo of me with my brother, I am the younger of the two.


Over the river and through the woods to Grandmother’s house we go… 
oh, how the wind does blow!
It stings the toes and bites the nose
as over the ground we go.

This much beloved song/poem represents my childhood memories of going to my grandparents’ – Nannie and Poppy’s – house on Christmas Day. We lived on Cape Cod and during those days it was a very quiet and tranquil place in the winter months. Although there was no sleigh involved, their home was “through the woods,” all the way to the next street! My brother and I delighted in running through the large house, with the smells of Christmas wafting from the pink and green kitchen and having fun plunking on the keys of the organ. Later we would all gather around this to sing Christmas carols. Then, we would bundle up to travel “all the way home” with our bellies full of roast beef, Yorkshire pudding, Nannie’s signature snow pudding and the cookies and banana bread that we had made with her. And, finally off to bed we would go with sugarplums dancing through our heads!


Christmas was a magical time of year to say the least. There were so many memories that I will treasure forever yet only wish I had more photos to relive the moments. Christmas always meant having my grandparents, Nanny and Frank, along with Aunt Lou, staying at our home in Marshfield, as they helped my Mom and Dad unload the “sleigh of goods” and settle in for a long night of extreme Elf work. I was the second oldest in a family of five and feel blessed to have had the upbringing I had. As the years wore on, and with the passing of my relatives and parents, I reflect on what was the most special gift of all – family memories, not just Christmas memories. As I look at this photo of me sitting on Santa’s lap, I was clearly distracted by something very shiny…typical of me. And speaking of shiny, I was convinced I saw Rudolph flying over Marshfield Hills, year after year. I now know why they built those tall towers and put a red light on the top!

Happy holidays to all, stay safe, and healthy.