I have always loved Christmas, no matter how much money I had to spend, or whatever the circumstances. I haven't, since I was a child, been as excited about the presents I receive as I am about Christmas itself as a special day. I love the spirit and the traditions as much as anyone can. The baking, eggnog, cider, looking for and decorating the tree, and finally the dinner with family and friends.
I will miss, once again, my loved ones who can't be with us. The memories that I have of my mother and father, my grandparents, aunts, uncles and friends that are no longer with us I especially cling to. I am thankful that I have a son and daughter-in-law, a daughter, and sisters (boy did we scheme), nieces, nephews, and so many friends to share the spirit of Christmas with. It is with these loved ones that I can share past memories with.
When my sisters and I were growing up, the entire Christmas season was made special by my parents, grandparents, and my aunt. The night before Christmas was exciting for us, and my father, who was truly a character, would get us so fired up about Santa visiting that we could not be contained. This was all while my mother, at the same time, was sewing our clothes, doll clothes, and getting the presents ready to put under the tree. She knew better than to put them underneath the tree beforehand. I never understood how diligently they worked to make it a perfect Christmas Eve and Christmas day until I was a mother.
Somehow the family would also include a Christmas Eve visit to my Granny's house, and my granny and aunt would let us open one present. Then my granny would let me help her prepare the orange salad. Everything that she shared with me was so special and provided years of memories.
After getting our presents on Christmas morning, which Daddy handed out in Santa Claus fashion (with a ho ho ho), Mama would get everything ready so that Daddy could cook breakfast. It was always a special treat. Then we would go to my granny's house to open presents from my granny, granddaddy, and aunt. We were exhausted by the end of the day!
Once I had my own children, Christmas had new meaning. Joey and Angela made every Christmas special, as all children do. It was always fun watching their happiness. I remember Angela offering to give up her own presents to give to the poor, but Santa brought gifts for her also. The memories of Joey shaking because he was excited about his grown up train set are so special, and his clarification of what Christmas was truly all about, Jesus' birthday. Bicycles, dolls, video games, guns, and plenty of the latest trend -- they enjoyed them all. There are too many memories to write here, but I hope they hold these memories close to their heart, just as I do.
During this season, I hope that we all remember that this holiday represents the birth of Christ. Without him in our lives, much less would be possible. I thank him every day for all of the blessings he provides. I can't imagine my life without him, and this is one birthday that is well worth celebrating. I am thankful that I have a Christian family and children. Happy Birthday JESUS!!
I wish you and your family a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year! You are all so special to me.
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