Sunday, December 22, 2013

Some Very Special Holiday Memories

Remember each and every day you have the opportunity to 'Make a Memory.'  Not only the over the top days, sometimes they are the ordinary things and yes, there are are those days you think you'd rather forget- in the long term you may smile at those crazy ones. I can just say that, know this, in the long run, it's the memory of all these things that you will have come to mind, and they can encourage you on darker days, just bringing a smile across your lips can change your day. Enjoy life, and each day take advantage of the moments that you can use to make memories for you and your family. 

Since the day after Thanksgiving I have been sharing some memories of the holiday season. There is something so magical about those days between Thanksgiving and Christmas, whether you are a child or an adult you know it's true.

Some memories are from my childhood and youth and others since I was married, I am going to share a couple here that are different from what I've put on Facebook, they have a special place among all my memories for one reason or another as you will see. 

Christmas mornings with our kids, it's so hard to pinpoint one, you see each one has moments that are engraved on my heart. Generally I was pretty tired when they started... due to the fact that I was the one who wrapped the gifts and it usually took place after the kids were asleep on Christmas Eve. 

We would start the mornings with cinnamon rolls, the store bought, orange kind, they were baked before the turkey went in. After the rapid elimination of them the kids were allowed their stockings, for gifts, they had to wait until Glenn was ready... I think he stalled at times just to drive them nuts!

Once they were old enough to read names on packages I had to get creative with identifying the gifts so that they didn't guess everything ahead... Amber was a master guesser! This was done in a variety of ways, different every year; bow color, paper, reindeer names, numbers- that was the hardest for them, because I simply wrote a list with the numbers and who the gift was for, in no real order. The game then became, 'What system is mom using this year?'

The delight on the kids faces always warmed my heart, even in the toughest of years, they were always grateful for what they got, and we had some very lean years as well as some very abundant ones. I think those hard ones were harder on me than the kids... very hard, but God has worked on that part of me too.

Grandad & Santa Rosa- The year after my mom passed away,  we were in Santa Rosa and couldn't afford to come to Oregon and visit family, it was a very lean year. But God found a way to make it a very memorable Christmas for us. My brother had arranged for my dad to fly down and be with us for Christmas. The kids were so excited that he was coming, and some neighbors of ours had invited us to join them for Christmas, and blessed the kids with some gifts too. It was a wonderful time and very special to my heart.

Something the kids did that year still makes me smile, they have always been creative, and that year they took it upon themselves to put things under the tree, they regifted toys to each other and made necklaces of beads and buttons, though I don't have them, I can still see them in my mind's eye.

My Coat - When I was in high school there was one year that all I really wanted was a specific coat, it was a long coat, knee length like everyone was wearing that year. I had my heart set on it and was so sure I was going to get it, we unwrapped all the presents and it wasn't there, I don't remember what all I got, and I didn't say anything about it, but about a half an hour after the gift mess was all cleaned up, my mom asked if I was okay... I guess my face said what my mouth didn't. I said yes, she pressed me, I fessed up that I had been hoping for the coat  we had looked at. Well, the look that came over her face--- "Uh Oh" could only kind of describe it, she made a dash for her closet and brought out a package, that hadn't made it under the tree. (Easy to happen with 5 kids.) And it was my coat! She was so sorry for forgetting it, but I was so elated for it's arrival that it being late, really didn't matter.

Following Nana's gift advice- I think I was about 8 or so, and my grandmother, "Nana," had taken me Christmas shopping, I was absolutely stumped on what to get one of my brothers, Brent must have been about 13 and in Jr High, and those big kids were hard to shop for. So Nana offered a suggestion that she thought Brent would appreciate because he was always so aware of his appearance. She had me get him some Head and Shoulder's shampoo.... LOL, it seemed like good advice at the time, and the people that used it in the commercials were all so amazing and popular... yeah Gift FAIL!  I never followed her gift advice again.

Oh Holy Night- The final one that I will mention is so precious to me- it is about the first Christmas after Glenn got saved, and our hearts were turning toward the Lordship of Christ in our lives, we weren't fully there yet but the shift had begun. It was before we were married, we had been at his parents for Christmas eve and we decided to go over to St. Anne's for the Christmas Eve Mass. This is the church that he had served in as an (ornery) alter boy when he was in grade school. We went and as the traditional carols were sung, Glenn did something that turned a few heads, he put up his hands in worship during those carols (not normally done there at that time, drew a couple looks, oh well, lol). They were no longer just 'songs,' the meaning of them had taken up new significance. Even though it was some months late,r that we really began to make the changes in our lives that we would carry into our adulthood and 99% of our married life, it was evident to both of us that something had changed in us that night.

Take some time in this crazy season to make a memory, freeze a moment of time in your mind, as I know from experience, they can, and will help you to smile and get through the toughest of moments that may come. Above all, remember the reason for the season is the celebration of the arrival of the Greatest Gift the world will ever know- the gift that brought us everlasting life, it arrived in the form of a small baby, Jesus.

May you have a blessed and joyous Christmas Season, don't let it overwhelm you, let it warm you.


1 comment:

  1. Its Sunday evening, December 22nd. I saw your link to this post on Facebook but was in too big of a hurry to read this then. I waited til this evening so I could thoroughly read and enjoy whatever you wrote. I love all your memories. I have a few of my own and like you, some of my favorite Christmas memories were our poorest.
    Love you Mary! And . . .
    Merry Christmas