Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Snipits of Christmas Memories

I think I was about ten years old when Mom and Dad decided it was time to let me be Santa’s helper for my little sister. They bought Colleen a baby doll–the drink and wet kind. I played with that doll for weeks when Colleen wasn’t around, and I was looking forward to watching her eyes when she saw it for the first time.

Christmas Eve we all gathered around the Christmas tree to open our gifts. Colleen’s doll was sitting right in front of the tree. I looked at the doll, and then I looked at Colleen. I kept waiting for her to pick it up, but she had found something else for her under the tree. Anticipation was killing me. I tried to guide her to the doll, but Dad shook his head. Mom finally told me that I’d better look at the gift tag on the doll. Santa apparently decided that since I’d had so much fun with the doll, it should belong to me. I was thrilled! All thoughts of Colleen with the doll vanished in an instant when I saw that she had something under the tree that delighted her.

The year my older sister, Cheri, went away to Washington to teach school, I couldn’t wait until she came home for Christmas. Up until that time, Cheri had never been much for knitting or crocheting, so what was to come was totally unanticipated. Cheri made a very trendy looking green shawl for me, and I think she’d made one for Colleen, as well. There were also “nose warmers” for us all that were crocheted or knitted and had tassels on the end of them. We had a great time laughing at each other with those things. I saved mine, and years later used it to teach children at church that you can have fun at Christmas without spending a lot of money. One adult teacher, in particular, laughed his head off when I put that nose warmer on!

The year Danny and I were dating, I spent a great deal of time decoupaging little plaques for everyone in the family. I had visited every construction site within walking distance from my apartment to beg for scrap lumber to sand down for the plaques. Fifteen coats of decoupage later, they were finally ready for Christmas. It never occurred to me that they would be too bulky to put in my suitcase on a Greyhound bus to go home for Christmas. Danny, bless his heart, knew that you could ship things by Greyhound (something I didn’t know). It was about 2:00 a.m. one morning when I finally wrapped up the last plaque, and Danny took me to Greyhound to ship them off in advance of my arrival. I had prearranged with Dad to pick them up on the other end.

One year when my kids were small, I went bonkers embroidering dishtowels. I embroidered sets of seven dishtowels for each female in the family. They looked beautiful when they were done, and I was so pleased to be able to give them away.

Danny was the master of freeway finds. Every time a kid needed a new tricycle or bicycle, he’d just keep his eyes open for a freeway find. I took the rust off of quite a number of bikes, painted them, and coerced my next-door neighbor, Harry, into making sure they were in good working order for Christmas.

When the kids were growing up, I used to hide my gifts at Harry and Alma’s house next door, or at Pauline’s house across the street. Then I’d just go to their house to wrap.

When the kids were small, we spent a number of years going to Cheri's home in Dayton, Nevada for Christmas. I don't know why Cheri put up with us all, but she seemed to take everything in stride. Cheri had the perfect house for Christmas. It was an old historic boarding house. She heated it with wood stoves. One room (the red room) was dedicated to a huge pinion pine Christmas tree each year. It just made for an old-fashioned Christmas! We have many memories of Christmas at the boarding house.

As a family, we always did some special "deliveries" each year. We had many fun experiences. I think my favorite memory was the year I accidentally made the delivery to the wrong house! I didn't want to disappoint anyone, so we did "double duty" that year so that BOTH houses received our deliveries.

Christmas Eve we tell the Christmas story, and we have different members of the family fill in parts of the story. We remind the children about the true meaning of Christmas, and why we give gifts. Then, tradition dictates that some of the adults take all the children to "look for Santa." In years past, they couldn't come home until the porch light was turned on, which was the signal that Santa had arrived.

Traditions will be modified to accommodate a growing family. Grown children will also begin their own family traditions. Traditions are fun, and they are good, but they are only as good as the true meaning behind them. I have always loved Christmas because of what it means to me personally. I love celebrating the birth of our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. I love to ponder on Mary and Joseph, and what they must have been thinking at that special time. Each time I carried a child, I ached for Mary when I thought about her traveling by donkey. I've wondered if Mary and Joseph really understood the colossal proportions of their stamp on the whole human race. While we talk about the awesome privilege of caring for God's only begotten son, we often forget how much adversity and sadness they had to endure. How grateful I am that they were worthy and up to the challenge! How grateful I am that Heavenly Father gave us the most precious gift ever given; His Son.

Note: Pictures from here: http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=Christmas+clip+art&FORM=MFEIMG&PUBL=Google&CREA=userid17438615c84721fa2849d54ce17ae41eb7bac

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