Memories of Christmas Past

Christmas has always been my favorite holiday. No matter my age, any circumstances around the time (I’ve been nearly due and overdue with babies at Christmas, my dad was diagnosed with cancer Christmas Eve) it always, still today, has a feeling of true happiness and love.

Growing up, the entire month of December was fabulous. Christmas cookies, the church Sunday school Christmas program, driving around looking at Christmas lights on houses. I remember one year in middle school, I was so excited when my mom signed me up for an after school craft class where we got to make cute little Christmas ornaments and gifts. For me being such a shy kid who didn’t like school at all, this was way out of my comfort zone, but I looooved it.

My parents always allowed me to host Christmas parties and invite my friends over sometime in the holiday season. It was something I loved doing, hosting parties. Id make or buy some cute decorations to set up, usually order dominos pizza for dinner, have some treats, do a gift exchange. It still would be something I’d enjoy doing, just a more adultish version! My oldest daughter is following in my footsteps and i couldn’t be more happy to oblige with her plans!

My mom never wrapped gifts until Christmas Eve. I’m not sure if she thought the littles would destroy them if they were under the tree or what, but they’d always be hiding somewhere in my parents room until Christmas Eve. I remember one year I sneaked in there and looked at every single gift that was there for me. A bunch of clothing from my favorite store at the time, Limited Too. I was so happy! But then come Christmas Eve, I was a bit disappointed I already knew everything. I never did that again! I, as a parent and knowing what I did as a kid, wrap gifts as they come and put them under the tree. So far we haven’t had any issues!:)

My favorite day by far though, was always Christmas Eve. In the morning, my dad would bring us kids to Ridgedale Mall to see Santa and buy last minutes gifts for my mom. Then we’d go home and get cleaning done, eat, and get ready for Christmas Eve church. It would be dark out by then. The church would keep the lights low, have candles lit, and we’d listen to a Christmas sermon and sing Christmas songs. Afterwards, we’d head home and wait for my grandparents. Since my mom only had two other siblings, my grandparents would spend Christmas Eve with all three families separate. We were the last. We’d be so anxious for them to arrive! Gifts would be under the tree, all the food and treats set out on the table. Us kids constantly peeking out the window for signs of my grandparents car lights. When they’d finally arrive, we would just be giddy with happiness! We’d start by singing a couple Christmas songs, always laughing at how off tune it was, exchanging secret smiles and giggles over my grandmas singing. We then took turns opening gifts, starting from youngest to oldest. Afterwards, we’d head to the dining room for treats. Always the best day ever.

Christmas Day we’d get up, excited to see what Santa filled our stockings with! And then we ate breakfast, usually little as we’d already be eating candy, then got ready for Christmas Day church. After church, we’d enjoy a big Christmas Day meal with my grandparents over. The rest of the day would be spent enjoying our Christmas gifts and each others company. Such happy memories.

As an adult and living further away from home, we don’t make it back for Christmas Eve every year, but have plenty of times! We did go on the Christmas that was my grandpas and my dads last. We arrived the evening of Christmas Eve. My dad had texted me on the way with the news of his appointment, but told me to keep it to myself. He wasn’t going to tell me, but I needed to know. He didn’t let it spoil his Christmas and I didn’t let it spoil mine. Christmas was always his favorite too! To many it may seem small, but I still remember the Christmas gift I bought him. I had texted him a bit earlier in the month, after his health issue that led him to going to the hospital, saying I was going to get him chocolate and coffee, but we might have to go with kale and green tea. He said “whoah, nothing wrong with treats!” 😂 I bought him some chocolate and a nice cozy bath towel. One of my sisters got him a cozy pair of sweatpants, which he wore often, and she now has them again. I don’t believe gifts need to be extravagant. With my parents, they’ve always been absolutely happy with anything. It is truly the thought that counts. Of thinking, what could this person enjoy and need. My parents never ever expected us to buy them some fabulous expensive gifts. Even now as an adult, just having someone think of you and get something is an incredible feeling. A token of love.

Christmas is, without a doubt, not the same anymore. But I’m trying to make new memories and traditions for my own children. They always want to go back to Minnesota for Christmas and we usually do the week before or the week after if we can’t make it for actual Christmas. It’s really, no matter what, the most wonderful time of the year. Memories of the past lend to the beauty of the present.

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