Although every Christmas was special to us, there are a few that stand out in the eyes of my sisters and I.The Barbie townhouse, with an ELEVATOR y'all!, was the shining moment for me one year, and my sister, Melissa, got a speed buggy and a sit'n spin, that same year. We made ourselves sick on that thing, spinning round and round so fast that when we laughed, no sound came out due to the wind velocity we were creating. At least, that's how I remember it. Then one year, there was the Holly Hobbie oven. I made a real cake! It was the size of a small round brownie but when you're eight years old, it's the size of a Texas sheetcake. That year, Mom, er, I mean, Santa, put 3 different flavors of Freshen-up gum in our stockings; Spearmint, Peppermint and Cinnamon. Today, if I come across Freshen-Up gum anywhere, I immediately go back to that Christmas. Small things I know, but these are what memories are made of. Those tiny little details that you think you've forgotten, that appear the second you see, or hear something to jog the memory.
Now that I've grown up, well *mostly*, ahem, I can look back and appreciate the lengths my mom went to in order to make Christmas a special time of year. It always was, and I know it was because of her. I think it's important to tell our loved ones that we appreciate their efforts, and that we love them for everything they do. Tell them now. Don't wait to tell the story, or the feeling, years later. It's a free gift to give, and one they will treasure always.
I can remember Mom telling us stories about when she was growing up and what Christmas was like back then. My grandma had seven kids, unfortunately one passed away the day she was born. So mom grew up with three sisters and two brothers, can you imagine the mayhem on Christmas morning? I'm pretty sure all of my cousins know that when Grandpa was ready for his kids (my generation's parents) to come out of their bedrooms and begin the barrage of unwrapping everything that my grandparents probably just stayed up all night to wrap, he would put Bing Crosby's Jingle Bells on. When the kids heard that they knew it was "go" time. I think many of us today do this same ritual, because Pap did.
We called my Grandpa "Pap", I think maybe I couldn't say grandpa (?) , or maybe I just saw "Pap" when I looked at him, but once I called him that, he became Pap to everyone in our family. As you might surmise, my extended family is huge, so I claim what stories I can here and there. I have always felt lucky to be a part of such a large family. I love them so much.
I like hearing about what other families traditions are during the holidays, and also when they share memories from Christmas past. This is our makeup, or at least part of it. The good part hopefully, I know the holidays can be rough for some people, and I am always sorry to hear about that from friends, or even family. It's called The Most Wonderful Time of the Year, Andy Williams (and other artists) sing this, with me often singing right along. Yes, I'm one of those. I love *most* holiday music, and if I know the words, or really, let's be frank, even if I don't, loud and proud I will sing along anyway. What I would say to anyone having a hard time during this time of year, is try and pick one good memory, just one, from this season and focus on that. Remember what's on the list of things you are grateful for, and know that you're not alone. I see the spirit of peace on earth, goodwill toward men, more during this time of year, than any other month. I do wish it could be that we have this feeling all year long, but I think it's also one of the reasons why this time of year is special.
My family spent the last two weeks of 2014 in Florida. Because I wasn't home for the holidays then, there wasn't much decorating going on at my house. I believe I subconsciously decided to make up for that this year. If it's stationary and doesn't breathe on its own, it's wrapped in lights in some form or fashion. One Christmas tree was not enough, oh this won't do. I must decorate two, I thought to myself. Hours and hours later.......you can see my house from space. I know Clark Griswold would approve.
I'm not sure what is happening with this strange December weather, but yesterday was the Winter Solstice and at the time I write this, it's currently 75 degrees. I don't know whether to go to the pool or light a fire, or, well, both.
With the year winding down to a close, I want to wish you a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. That clean slate, fresh new year feeling is just around the corner! But for now, if at all possible in this hustle and bustle world, slow down, and relax a little. Enjoy time spent with your family and friends, and hopefully those holiday traditions that have been with you for a long time.
Take good care of yourself friend,