Holiday Reflections: Christmas Memories

Ahh… back to my blog. I can’t believe it’s been a month since I have written anything. The holidays certainly kept me busy. For us, Christmas begins the day after Thanksgiving. On that wonderful day, our home is transformed from ordinary to extraordinary. The lights and trimmings come out and the transformation begins.

This year as we pulled out the outdoor decorations. it was discovered that our wonderful little grazing reindeer had reached the end of their days. Half of their lights refused to shine; therefore, it was necessary to retire them and head out in search of a new lawn ornament. After looking about a bit, we discovered a giant blow-up snowman that was perfect to go with our giant blow-up sock monkey. We placed them in the perfect position to wave at people coming down the street.

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The next adventure was putting up the tree. Well, we got out our old artificial tree, and it too had reached its last Christmas. The branches were thin and the half of its lights were burned out as well. At this point, we decided to get our first live tree, so off to Berry’s Tree Farm we went. We found a perfect Leland Cypress, cut it down, and brought it home.
Every year we each get a new Christmas ornament to put on the tree. We started this tradition many moons ago on our first Christmas together as a married couple. That was 20 years ago, so you can imagine how many ornaments we have considering we added two kids along the way. Every year my husband unpacks these treasures and distributes them to their respective owners. As we hang them on the tree, conversations begin about when we got a particular ornament and why it was so special then. We marvel over how our tastes have changed (or not changed as the case may be) over the years. It is such a special time, full of memories.

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Soon enough the tree was decorated, pictures were taken, and we could sit back and enjoy all of the festive decor. The situation changed all too soon however, as the cats began to eat the tree. Our smallest (and oldest) fur baby, Frodo, began to get very sick. Within a couple of weeks, the live tree had to come down, and the hunt for a new artificial tree began. Little did we know that artificial trees get harder to come by the closer it gets to Christmas. In time, however, we found a nice tree at Target. The fun part of it all was that we got to do tree decorating twice this Christmas.

Then came the family gatherings. This year everyone came to our house, so I had the pleasure of making three Christmas feasts. The first was on the 14th with my husband’s father and step-mother. We had a lovely visit and played an interesting guessing game that my daughter found an app for.

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Our second gathering was on Christmas eve. Every year we have a formal dinner on Christmas eve just for the four of us. This year, however, we invited my mother-in-law over. She had the pleasure of watching us try to get our annual family pictures done before dinner, and she had a few taken herself. After dinner, we read through the book we read every year, and then we opened our stockings. This has been a family tradition for us since the children were very little, and it was such a blessing to have my mother-in-law be a part of it this year.

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And the last gathering was Christmas day with all of my family. We ate lots of food and played with our Christmas presents. However, for this gathering, my thoughts often strayed to the one who wasn’t there to be with us. This was the fourth Christmas without my father… our own special Santa Clause. It still isn’t quite the same without him.

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And after this gathering, we were all quite tired. It was a nice Christmas, and it was nice to be able to avoid all of the traveling we have done for so many years. It was also nice to provide a feast for everyone to enjoy. And that is all for the 2014 Christmas memories, and the time has come to move on to making 2015 memories.

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