I was at my mom's house last Saturday helping her decorate for Christmas. She still lives in my childhood home and there are so many memories of Christmases past through my eyes as a little girl!
There was always a special excitement in our home as the Christmas season approached. I remember how mom would spend hours putting up lights in the windows, and on the tree - making sure the light colors were distributed in an orderly way. Me and my brothers would put our favorite ornaments on the tree while dad would hang the lights from the eaves and on the bushes outside. We would decorate on a night when Christmas shows were scheduled to come on television, like Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, and Merry Christmas Charlie Brown. My favorite Christmas decoration was a small brown plastic stable with silver glitter on the roof. There were figures of Mary, Joseph, the baby Jesus in the manger, and a large star on the peak of the stable. I would place it in one of the windows that had Christmas lights, and just look at it intently as though it might come to life!
My brother had Gene Autry's Christmas album and we would play it many times between Thanksgiving and Christmas! We would put that album aside long enough to practice our songs or run our character lines for our school Christmas programs. It was one time that we could show off for our parents and grandparents and make sure that they saw us while we were performing! The Christmas parties after our programs were always festive and fun!
Every Christmas Eve, I would give up my bedroom for my grandparents to come and spend the night! We would always have Oyster Stew, Chili, and baked Ham and Cheese sandwiches. After supper, me and my brothers would put on our pajamas and we would all load up in the car to drive around town looking at Christmas light displays and sing Christmas Carols! When we returned home, we would have some homemade Christmas cookies and milk before going off to bed!
Christmas morning began for my brothers and me around 4 am! We would army crawl on our bellies through the kitchen until we could peek around the corner to see into the living room! It was hard to keep quiet in the excitement! There were gifts that were beautifully wrapped and sparkled under the colored lights on the Christmas tree. Mom and dad would tell us that it is too early to be up and we needed to go back to bed! There would be no opening of gifts until after breakfast and then it would be a free for all! Wrapping paper would fly through the air while thank you’s came from every direction in the room! We would spend the rest of the morning putting our new toys together and playing with them, trying on clothes, and picking up torn wrapping paper, bows, and boxes!
In the afternoon, the smells of a delicious Christmas dinner being prepared by the loving hands of my mom and grandma filled the house. Naps, games, hugs, wrestling matches with dad, full tummies and a full heart were among our many blessings that we counted as the day faded into evening. We would quietly say our goodnights with prayers and kisses, and POOF, there is another Christmas memory!
These are some of the sweetest memories I have that I will always cherish and love to think about! As I remember what it was like to be a kid at Christmas:
I didn’t appreciate those times back then like I do now! I thought that is how it would be forever.
I didn’t understand that I would one day have a family of my own and make our own traditions and precious memories with them that they would be able to share with their children!
I never thought about being a wife, mother, or grandmother in those moments. I just enjoyed being a child!
As you make Christmas plans this year, I encourage you to:
-Remember your happiest Christmas moments when you were a child and be thankful for them.
-Share them with your family and friends. I always loved to hear from my parents what life was like for them when they were children, your children will too!
-Make happy moments with those you love while you can, because they will soon be memories.
-Enjoy the moments! Time is a gift from God and so are the memories!
I don’t remember the many gifts I got over the years, but I do remember the people who were so important to me, and the many moments of love, family, laughter, singing, and time together. Maybe for you, it is a special ornament, or a favorite Christmas Carol, perhaps a gift that you got, or the smell of Christmas cookies baking! Whatever it may be, let’s make a happy Christmas memory this year, and consider how our children and grandchildren are taking all of this in and making the memories that they will share!
Enjoy them while they enjoy being a child at Christmas!