When I was a kid, I loved Christmas. Oh, who am I kidding? I still love it! I love the snow-covered hush over the trees and the ground, particularly on nights when the moon is shining bright and everything sparkles. I love the general air of friendliness and cheer, I love the decorations, the special treats and goodies that only come out at Christmas time. I love hand-making the cards I send as well as many of the gifts I give, I love getting together to sing carols. I love to read Christmas classics like The Night Before Christmas and The Christmas Box with my family. I love talking with my husband by the glow of the Christmas tree lights after the kids are tucked into bed. I love watching the fun Christmas movies, old and new, like A Christmas Carol, It’s a Wonderful Life, Miracle on 34th Street, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, Charlie Brown’s Christmas, The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, A Christmas Story (“You’ll shoot your eye out!”) and many others.
But most of all, I love it because of my kids. I love sharing traditions with them that I enjoyed as a child. Like baking cookies, delivering special gifts to friends and neighbors, going to special church services, driving around neighborhoods looking at the lights and decorations. I love creating new traditions as well as finding something new to do that they are now old enough to appreciate. I love sharing the story of the birth of our Savior and how each year the questions they ask become more and more insightful. They love hearing my husband and me tell stories from when we were their ages and I’d like to share some special Christmas memories with you now.
I remember being at that awkward age (around 10 probably) and being mortified by opening a present (with my whole family watching, of course) only to discover it was filled with new underwear. They were pretty colors and patterns and all, but did my grandpa really need to see it?! :D
I remember playing neck deep in snow in the blizzard of 1978. (It was actually in January but in my mind I always associate it with Christmas.) My dad tossed me into a drift and knocked the wind out of me. He was scared and I was completely dazed. :) To this day he still apologizes for that. LOL I remember being terrified when he tossed my dog up and out the back door (so she could get on top of the snow) so she could relieve herself. I thought she’d never come back, and I think I even started crying, but when you’re 6 years old and your dad opens the back door to a 4’ wall of snow, you don’t realize it really isn’t that big a deal to a dog once she gets on top of it.
I remember my brother and me taking turns each year "playing Santa" on Christmas morning and passing out gifts one by one. We were supposed to do it so no one got two gifts in a row so we'd have to gauge who got the most presents and work it out ahead of time. It was kinda fun. :)
I remember my mom with a flour-dusted apron and dish towel slung over her shoulder making countless special Christmas goodies for our family, to give as gifts or to take to parties. I loved cutting out and decorating the shaped cut-out cookies. And no one ever has or ever will make fudge as good as my mom's Christmas fudge!
I remember being about 3 or 4 or so and my mom's cousin Kevin and his family came over for a visit a couple of weeks before Christmas. We had just bought our tree and had a fun time decorating it with all the family that wasn't normally there. My mom loves big trees and we had tall ceilings at that time so that year we had a very big tree. Well, Kevin is very tall so he hoisted me up so I could put the angel on the top of the tree. No sooner than he sat down with me in his lap, the tree came crashing down on top of us! It kept falling so I think we eventually had to put a nail in the wall and tie it off to keep it from falling down again!
My grandma (my dad's mom) from Florida would come stay with us for about a month around Christmas time. Some of my most fond memories are of sitting at the dining room table playing card games with her. We'd talk and play games for hours. She'd tell the most corny jokes and make a pun whenever she could possibly think of one. She loved to laugh and that helped make my Christmas vacations fun.
I remember big family dinners at my grandparents' house (my mom's parents). I'd play with my cousin who is the same age as me and we'd have such a wonderful time! My grandparents had these big books of fairy tales and we'd make up dances and act them out for everyone.
I remember getting my first 10-speed bike. It was beautiful. When my dad wheeled it around the corner, that was the first time I remember being rendered speechless.
But one of the best Christmas gifts I ever got was in 1991 when I opened a giant microwave box from my boyfriend (now husband). He'd tied the hands of two big teddy bears together so that the boy bear was holding a small box out to the girl bear. Inside the box was a ring with a note that said "Will you marry me?". I was speechless then, too. When I eventually was able to speak so that I could tell him yes, I was so ecstatic I couldn't stop talking!
Now we have three children to treasure and I look forward to making many more years of Christmas memories with them!