Thursday, December 27, 2012

Savoring the Christmas Spirit

Figuring out the nesting Santa puzzle
Christmas Day is past. The kids came, shared lots of laughter, food and fun and then went home. My daughter and her husband and their two dogs just took off about an hour ago. The snow was only a dusting here so no problem for them to go south. 

 Lots of chores waiting for me. Got the dishwasher loaded and clothes in the washer. The floors will have to keep their paw printed pattern at least until tomorrow since I have to go to Mom's soon. The empty boxes are stacked in the corner awaiting a save or pitch decision. There are always chores. Always. But Christmas only comes once a year and I like to hang onto the Christmas spirit as long as possible. At least until the New Year's makes me start making resolutions about getting rid of extra pounds and exercising and sweeping away clutter. 

But for now I've been scrolling back through the special joys and memories so many of you shared with me for my Christmas giveaway. (If you haven't entered yet for the bookends, books and cat magnets, you still can. Send me a message from my website to enter or leave a comment here with a way to contact you. Drawing on Saturday.) 

First as you begin to think about taking down your decorations, I hope you'll remember the joy of putting up your Christmas tree the way Donna H. of Arkansas does here. One of my favorite times during the holiday season is putting up the Christmas tree. Unwrapping each ornament that had so carefully been stored away for the previous 11 months. Childhood memories of making that yarn angel ornament in 5th grade...my daughter's laminated construction ornaments from elementary school...the blown glass hummingbirds of my mother's I inherited when she passed...the unique nativity ornaments given to me over the years...the ornaments that commemorate loved ones who are no longer with us...ornaments that remind me to pray for friends & family who are no longer in close contact with us. It is a time to reflect, pray & praise God for the true meaning of Christmas.


I loved this tradition Jolynn's family has. What a great way to remember Christmases past. Here's what she says. One of the favorite things I like about Christmas is writing letters to Santa. We wrote Santa letters while I was young, thanking him for the toys from last year, and asking for a gift that year. We even wrote letters to Santa just for fun, when we were teenagers too, to set an example for the younger siblings. Also because my Mom said if we stop believing, we stop getting gifts from Santa too. We've done the same thing with my 2 kids also. Except that, Santa wrote a letter to them on the back of the paper. My daughter is now 18, and will continue with this Christmas Eve tradition, when she puts the cookies out for Santa too. We've saved most of the letters, and we all like to read through them and laugh.

Michele of Maine shares about the Spirit of Giving, something we need to hang onto all year long. I think what I enjoy most about Christmas is the Spirit of Giving. For the most part it seems people try to be more courteous during the Holidays: they hold doors open or help people with packages, donate to charities, take time to talk to others in shopping lines, etc. It can certainly bring out the worst in some (I've worked in retail customer service for 20 years!) but when you see someone go out of their way to do something special for someone they don't know, it overshadows all the negative aspects.

Marjorie shares a childhood memory that shows how things have changed over the years. I thought that you might enjoy a story from my childhood.  I am 83.  Back then we only had Coke to drink at Christmas. We would receive a coupon  that would enable us to purchase a carton of six small bottle Cokes for $.15, yes, $.15. My Mother didn't like Coke, so I got one, my older brother got two, my Dad got two, and Santa Claus got one. When I realized who actually got that last Coke, I really gave my Dad a hard time, and I teased him about that for the rest of his life. Family and celebrating the reason for Christmas is what it represents to me.
   

Norma Jean remembers a very special gift and how it helped her give a very special gift the next Christmas. My favorite memory from Christmas is the year I turned 14. I still claimed to believe in Santa even though by then I knew the truth but I subscribed to the theory that Santa is the kindness that everyone does throughout the year. I came downstairs to find my very own sewing machine. Now for an only child with a widowed mom in the late 1960's that was quite a gift when the money was tight and mom was only working part time while I was in school. The next year for Christmas I made her new curtains with that machine and my mowing lawns money, and put them up before she came down Christmas morning. Norma Jean says she still using that sewing machine 53 years later.

And now for some very touching Christmas memories. Lisa S of Nebraska shared a beautiful memory. My best Christmas memory was when I was 5 and my brother 7. My brother and I were adopted and it was our first Christmas with our new family. We went from an orphanage to a huge farm house. Our new parents were so excited to have children at Christmas that they each shopped alone without the other one knowing. We couldn't believe how many presents were under the tree. It was also a surprise to our new parents as well. The previous Christmas we did not get any presents because someone had stolen the presents that were donated, so we weren't expecting much. I remember the smiles on their faces as we opened the presents. The house also had beautiful decorations and traditional Christmas cookies. Our father is now in his 90's and our mother is 7 years younger. I don't know how many more holidays we will have together, but every one has been wonderful because of their caring for someone else's children. Because of great memories, Christmas is my favorite holiday.


Peggy C. had a different experience than Lisa's, but shares how a simple act of giving can make a warm memory that lasts a lifetime. She shared this story with me last year, but that's the great thing about Christmas memories. We never get tired of hearing what makes Christmas special. Here's what Peggy says. I love Christmas as we buy a tree in the container and then plant it on our land where we just built a house in a rural area. Then what I cherish is a Christmas stocking with my name on it that I've had for 50 years. The stocking was given to me by my foster brother's social worker. She brought one for all 15 of us and I love mine. We all were eventually kicked out or sent our own ways as my 1st foster mom died and my foster dad married a woman who didn't want foster kids, only hers. So my grandma adopted me and my foster sister who was the same age as me. That stocking brings back such good memories and also bad, but I will never forget that social worker and that day when she gave me a most cherished item.  

The story Deborah D. of Pennsylvania shared with us reminds us that things can never be as important as our loved ones. My favorite Christmas was in 1982.  My sister at 3 1/2 years old was diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor on Nov. 16, 1982.  On November 17, 1982 she underwent emergency surgery to remove the tumor that was the size of a large egg. At that time she was in the hospital for two months. Since Christmas was on a weekend that year the doctor gave her a pass to come home for the weekend but she had to be back in the hospital that Monday. My dad just got laid off from his job and we didn't have a lot of money for Christmas but the best Christmas present I received ever was when my dad pulled in the driveway with my mom & my sister. My sister ended up staying in the hospital for two months and had to get radiation but she came through that scare just fine. Unfortunately, she was diagnosed with breast cancer in July of 2012. She has to go through Chemo & radiation for this but we are very hopeful that she will get better. (Prayers going up for your sister, Deborah.)
 

Nancy B. of NY shares some of the best ways to celebrate Christmas. What I like best about Christmas is the tang in the air, the smell of our Pine Trees..the joy I see on my pet’s faces when they get their goodies, and early morning Christmas Mass! My family is budget oriented so hence no big gifts. Happiness is in reading a good book, the family gathered around the table and the joy of being together. To celebrate the Season all it takes is love in your heart.

May the love in your heart let you savor the Christmas Spirit all year long. Did you enjoy reading about the Christmas joys as much as I did? I hope so, and it's not too late for you to share your Christmas joys with us here in your comments.

4 comments:

  1. What sweet poignant stories that your fans shared here. Nothing beats sharing memories and the good feeling that comes with them. This is a big part of Blessings that resonate through us all through the years. Thanks for sharing .. Special Blessings and heartfelt prayers for your Sister, Deborah.


    Hugs and Joy to all!

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    1. Glad you enjoyed reading the Christmas stories and joys, rojo13864. Sometimes we don't take the time to listen to others' stories. I'm glad you shared your Christmas joys and listened too.

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  2. Amazing Christmas Memories and Stories that have been posted. I just have to share, this year will go down in history, as we rec'd the most amazing gift. Hearing our daughter is pregnant and we are going to be Grandparents for the FIRST time. Words cannot express how delighted and excited we are.

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    1. Now that's a wonderful Christmas gift, Belinda, and one that will keep giving you joy for years to come. There is something so very special about being a grandparent and that bond that forms between grandparents and grandchildren is such a wonderful part of life. Many of the special joys shared with me in my Christmas giveaway were about grandparents and the fun of extended families. Next year you can take a picture of your new grandbaby in front of the tree the way I did with all my new grandbabies over the years. Some precious photos.

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