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The big day will open in a very short time, next Sunday to be exact. It seems like forever depending on if you’re young or old. ‘Christmas in July’ is really pushing the button – kids don’t understand it and others are bewildered.
In essence, Christmas is about four things: 1. light – the winter solstice has passed and each day brings a few minutes more of daylight into our lives; 2. love – both in a religious sense for “God sent his only begotten son” and personal dimension of those whose lives are important to us; 3. giving – the joy of the presents we receive and the pleasure we get from those we give; and 4. memories – memories of holidays past that are shared among family and friends.
This is a story that circulated within a family and I’m sure that it was embellished with each telling. I’ve changed the names to protect the guilty.
A special Kentucky night when the ground was covered with a foot of snow and it was still falling. Everyone hoped Santa would leave a sled under the tree so we could take to the big hill on the far side of the barn.
Christmas stories begin this way: “It was the night before Christmas and all the stockings were hung by the chimney with care.” My Dad had an ancient 8mm film projector and used the white wall in the dining room to show his one film, an annotated version of the poem.
My brother, Bill and I were little and shared a bed behind the chimney up the backstairs. We were excited dreaming of all the wonderful things morning would bring. We talked, laughed, and tussled beneath the quilts but couldn’t go to sleep as we were waiting to hear Santa as he came down the chimney. I couldn’t help it when Bill pushed me out on the floor.
Mom came up and scolded us for making noise as we might wake Gladys, our older sister. We knew better, Gladys was hunkered down under the covers with a flashlight reading her latest library book. Mom warned us if we didn’t go to sleep Santa would put sticks and nut shells in our stockings.
The next morning we rush downstairs. Gladys’ stock was crammed with a long candy cane, an orange, an apple, and paper twisted hunks of hard candy. Ours were stuffed with sticks, stones, and walnut shells.
However, Santa didn’t forget us – new sleds, pegged together were hidden behind the tree pilled high with oranges, apples, candy, and a peppermint stick.
Memories are a vital part of the holiday tradition. Does your family have memories of times passed to hold in your heart of those who’ve gone?
“Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.”