The Ghost of Christmas Past

No doubt about it, the holiday season is here.  It's full steam ahead with the cookie & candy making, present buying & wrapping, friends & family visiting, all that stuff.  It would be a missed opportunity if I didn't throw out there that all of this is and should be secondary to the real reason for the season.

With lights adorning houses, trees aplenty, and the smell of baked goodies in the air, I can't help but remember some of my most prominent Christmas memories from days gone by.  It's always been such a magical time of year.  Everyone just comes alive.  There's such a spirit of giving and good will.  It does my heart right.

Since my life feels like a big to-do list right now, I will be flashing back in the form of a list.  (You are surprised by this.  I know.  I never make lists.)

Here goes...a Top 10 list of my favorite/most-prominent Christmas memories:

10.  Since we got married, we have split the holidays between the Maryland family and Sylvania families.  It's a long drive, but it's the only equitable way we can figure.  And it's worked for us so far (ask me again in 2 weeks).  At any rate, one of those Christmases, we left Baltimore on Christmas night around 6:30pm.  We were somewhere-in-South Carolina in the wee hours of the morning, searching for coffee.  We'd pulled off several exits in a row and nary a gas station was open.  I started panicking only to see a Waffle House with lights on and cars in the parking lot around the 3rd exit.  A big shout out to Waffle House coffee to-go for getting us safely to Sylvania that Christmas.

9.  Because of the traveling, Santa comes to our house early.  We write him a letter asking special permission for that.  Two years ago he brought Ben a pedal-car that he was just absolutely elated about.  It was cold that morning, but he didn't care.  He was wearing his fleece footies, and went straight outside.  This picture makes me smile.  That's pure joy.

8.  White Christmas 2000 ~ You might think we got a lot of white Christmases in Maryland, but not really.  This one is "fresh" on my mind.  I remember Julie & Jon returning from Ft. Leonardwood, Missouri with Trooper.  And man, that dog loved snow.  So cute.

7.  Just before Christmas 2005, I got a call at work.  Ben had a fall at daycare.  Since Sam was closer, he went to check on him.  He'd fallen off a bookshelf and gotten a nice shiner.  Just in time for Christmas!  (I can't believe that's the best picture I can find.)

6.  I don't even remember how old I was, but I remember that computer.  I remember walking out into our living room on Christmas morning to find a little wooden table (pulled out of the attic) with a sheet over it.  Our first computer...a Tandy.  Man, I loved that thing.  What a super nerd.

5.  For as long as I can remember, my parents have hosted a Christmas brunch.  And every year regardless of the temperature, my mom would send my dad out to the shed to cook sausage for the following mornings festivities because she "didn't want to stink the house up".  He'd watch his little black & white tv, bundled up in a hoodie, and I'd go out there and sneak a piece (or a few).  I thought it smelled GREAT.  But then again, I might be a carnivore.

4.  We didn't have cable television growing up, but we had an extensive VHS tape collection...which included holiday favorites A Christmas Story and Christmas Vacation.  If it was any time during the month of December, chances are my dad was watching one of these (and he still does).  Whenever I hear the word "glue", I think of "You used up ALL the glue...on PURPOSE."  And whenever I see the word "Fragile", I think "Frah-geel-lay...that must be Italian."  The majority of my Christmas interactions with my dad involve discussion of these movies and riotous laughter.  Mostly on his part.

3.  The Christmas Eve candlelit services at MRBC will always hold a special place in my heart.  Without question, I feel God's presence every time I'm there holding that candle, singing Christmas carols...notably Silent Night...without musical accompaniment.  Just our voices.  It's amazing.

2.  When I was ten, I spent the entire second half of December laid up sick.  I had strep throat and mono on Christmas day.  I woke up long enough to open presents, and in a moderate state of delirium, headed back to bed.  I remember that I got the Aladdin soundtrack and a dry erase board (which I desperately wanted), which I toted back to my bunk bed.  I laid there listening to the music from Aladdin dozing in and out of consciousness, when my mom came in to check on me.  I incoherently babbled something about termites eating my bed (I remember saying it, but I have no idea what it meant), to which she said, "Jennie, you're talking out of your head" and left the room.  That was my 10-year old Christmas.  Funny thing is...I remember it fondly.

1.  Perhaps the funniest Christmas memory I have is coming home from running errands with my mom to find Julie holding up the Christmas tree.  We always got a giant, freshly-cut Christmas tree that we put into a too-small tree stand.  I think we all knew it was precarious, but evidently Julie saw the tree about to fall from the kitchen and caught it.  Without knowing what else to do, she stood there, for who-knows-how-long, holding the tree up.  Talking on the corded phone pulled in from the kitchen.  Let's just say she wasn't too happy when we finally got home.  But thanks to whomever it was that helped her pass the tree-holding time on the phone! 

I know you all have your own memories of the holidays, which are surely as unique (read: random) as my own.  I'd love to hear some of them if you care to share!  And as always, thanks for reading!

Merry Christmas!


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