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    Christmas Past

    The older I get, the more I reflect on the past. Here are a few Christmas memories.

    My first memory of Christmas is like a tiny 8 second video clip.

    I was sitting on Grandma’s living room floor and a huge hand gave me a red and yellow dump truck. That hand is also my only memory of my grandpa. My grandmother cried when I shared this memory almost thirty years later because it was the only time that Grandpa ever went out and bought Christmas gifts. He died a few months later and I’ve worked hard to keep that memory fresh in my mind for more than fifty years.

    Call me nostalgic, but I warm inside when I recall little insignificant moments of Christmas.

    Another favorite was our annual Advent calendar. Things were so much simpler and less commercial back then. Mom would fashion a Christmas tree out of green construction paper. Then she’d cut strips of every other color of construction paper, staple them into a circle and fashion a chain of 25 rings stapled to the trunk of the tree. The top ring of the chain was always yellow.

    It would replace her normal calendar on the kitchen wall and every day, after breakfast, one of us would get to tear the bottom ring off the chain, tell mom what shape we wanted it to be, and she’d cut it out.

    Then we got to tell her where to put it on the tree and she’d dab the back of out ‘ornament’ with a drop of Elmer’s glue and stick it on. Every fourth day was my turn to choose an ornament and I took special joy in seeing that I’d get a red ring so that Mom could cut out a race car. It started as the choice of a four year old but morphed into a perfect way to upset my older sisters since theirs were always the shape of ornaments. The final ring… the yellow one… Mom would carefully remove from the trunk and cut it into the shape of a star to complete the topping of our Christmas tree.

    I enjoy reading The Night Before Christmas and try to read it to my grandkids just like I used to read it to my children when they were little.

    In my family, it’s standard that while one starts reading it, the other three siblings will recite it right along with the reader. It’s both heartwarming and another Christmas bonding experience for the four of us who are vastly different in our personalities and our views. My hope is that the grandkids will one day hold a place for it in their hearts as well and will want to share it with their children. When I hope they tell them that their papaw read it to them when they were little, it brings a tear to my eye.

    I hardly remember the gifts I received.

    The dump truck is one. The other is the one I cherish most. My dad used to take me and my brother fishing every week. He had a rod and reel that my mom gave him on their first wedding anniversary. The reel cost her one week’s pay back in 1952 and the rod was hand made by my great grandfather for that reel.

    When my dad passed, my mom would not let either of us to claim the rod and reel.

    I’d never cried at his passing. The following Christmas, I opened my present and it was that rod and reel. My brother agreed that I could have it on the stipulation that I never use it and take care of it. The moment I saw it again, every emotion of grief and gratitude that I’d held inside for over a year overwhelmed me. I threw it to my brother and ran to the bedroom and sobbed like a baby for the next forty minutes, missing my dad. I’m crying now as I type this.

    Moments like this is what Christmas is all about as far as I’m concerned.

    Yes, I like the lights on the houses, classic Christmas carols, Charlie Brown, Rudolph, and especially the Grinch. I enjoy visiting Christmas displays and feeling a glow of pure joy once again when walking the mall and seeing little ones sitting on Santa’s lap to tell him what they want for Christmas. Immediately, I’m five again and these memories all come rushing back with many more that are just as small, just as insignificant, and just as precious as they were to me way back when.

    My hope for all of you...

    is peace on Earth, good will toward all others, and to cherish the people and the small things in your lives that bring you joy.

    What small Christmas memories do you still cherish?

    Let me know in the comments below. Merry Christmas!