Christmas Memories

Whenever Christmas comes around, I find myself thinking about the past: people I used to know, things I used to do, and places I used to go. Sometimes this trip down memory lane makes me laugh and other times it brings a tear to my eye. Am I the only one like this? I remember Christmas being my very favorite time of year when I was little. I don't know if it was always the case, but in my mind it seems like every Christmas was filled with snow! My brother and I would be giddy with excitement for Santa to come, and we tried to be extra nice to each other as a last ditch effort to be on Santa's "Nice List" that year. Christmas time meant decorating sugar cookie cut-outs with my mom, going sledding at the sitter's, and watching lots of Christmas movies. Our favorite was definitely The Christmas Story, and I would even try to sleep just like Ralphie's little brother, Randy, on Christmas Eve so I could be part of the story. I have great memories of my mom and dad taking my brother and I on a drive around our little town, looking at everyone's Christmas lights and singing along with the Christmas music on the radio. We would set out a plate of cookies and a cold glass of milk for Santa, and then it would be time for bed!

Do you remember lying in bed on Christmas Eve, hearing footsteps and bells jingling on your roof? We had a two story house, and my brother's and my bedrooms were the only rooms upstairs. The roof was right above our heads, and I would've put all my allowance on the fact that I heard Santa and his reindeer! My mom and dad didn't let us come downstairs on Christmas morning until 6:30 a.m., and I remember one year my brother and I woke up at like 5:30 a.m., so we counted to 60 sixty times (60 seconds x 60 minutes) until finally we could rush downstairs to see the glory that was Christmas morning! Presents would be flowing out from under the tree wrapped in beautiful red and green paper with lots of ribbons and bows. We even would have our own gifts that we bought at the Secret Santa Shop under the tree and would be so excited to watch our parents/each other open them. I remember one year that I bought my dad a shoe horn and my mom a pair of earrings - you know, the plastic kind with the rubber backing. They both were so *excited* when they opened my gifts! I felt like a champion - I had picked the PERFECT Christmas presents out for them. I lived under that facade until a few years ago, when I watched our home movie from that Christmas. You see, at age 25 it was a lot easier to recognize sarcasm than when I was 6 years old. This time I heard, "Wow...Tom...did you see what Amy got me? Look at these...beautiful...earrings!" to which my dad replied, "Wow...Linda...that is SO neat! I got a shoe horn!" Back then, I heard only the words and not that special read-between-the-lines sarcasm/humor that my parents really had. Hilarious! I thought it was cute that we only had our allowance to buy Christmas presents rather than my parents buying an expensive gift and putting our names on it...hence the shoe horn and plastic earrings. It probably cost me all of $3.00 for those heartfelt gifts, and I have a wonderful memory as a bonus.

One Christmas was especially fun. I was in kindergarten, and because my uncle Tom was staying overnight with us, my brother and I had to bunk up in his room. Now remember 360 days of the year, we absolutely hated each other. It was the mere 4 days before Christmas, as well as Christmas Day, that we had a BLAST together! My parents hung out stockings in Dan's room on his basketball hoop that year. Cute, right? Well, when it was nearly midnight, and my brother and I were still awake chatting and being silly, we hear footsteps coming up our stairs. Thinking we were about to be in trouble, we quickly got quiet and pretended to sleep. The door opened, and my eyes peeked open. There, in front of my very own eyes was a jolly old man in a bright red suit, black belt and boots, long beard, and a hat flopped over on his head. SANTA!!! He filled our stockings, and I pretended to sleep. As he turned to walk out of the room, I couldn't contain myself. I sat up in bed and said, "Santa, is that you???" He leaned toward me, put a finger in front of his lips, and said, "Shhh...." Santa walked out of the room, and I went to bed that night so excited knowing that I met Santa!

I ran down the stairs the next morning to share the incredible news with my parents! They couldn't believe it either. We tore open our presents with excitement, and I exclaimed, "What I've always wanted...a Popple!!" to which my brother replied, "Good for you, Amy!" (Sorry, Dan, I really considered leaving that part our for your sake, but it needed to be documented for generations to come!). I loved that blue Popple with everything in my being.

I was the happiest kid in South Whitley that year.

I met Santa. I had my Popple. And there was snow. What more could a kid ask for?

What are some special memories you have from Christmas' past? I'd love to hear about them!!

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