Posted by: Kathy | December 24, 2009

Christmas Memories

As I’ve written in previous posts, my mom was the one who made Christmas special. It was a holiday she loved and a holiday in which her love for the family was strongly felt. This is the second Christmas I will celebrate without my mom. Although she isn’t with us physically, I know she keeps watch over her family and will be with us on Christmas day, especially in our hearts.

Unfortunately, I don’t have strong memories of my childhood because of a head injury, but there are things I remember about our Christmases. We’d always read The Night Before Christmas on Christmas Eve and leave out cookies and milk for Santa, carrots for the reindeer. On Christmas day, we would have to wait at the top of the stairs while my dad went down to see if Santa had come. He’d turn on all the lights, light a fire, and then tell us we could come down. For a young child, the wait seemed like forever. Of course, the cookies, milk, and carrots were gone. There were always lots of presents under the tree and my brother and I would quickly rip through them. There were two bags, one for trash and the other for bows, which would be used again year after year. The stockings that hung by the fireplace were stuffed to the top. I know that each gift, big or small, was carefully picked out by my mom. After the morning chaos of present opening, my mom would make pancakes for breakfast.

In the early afternoon, my grandparents and aunt would come over. My aunt has lived in Boston for as long as I can remember, so this would be the one time each year that we’d see her. One of strongest memories is of my grandmother, my mom’s mom. She had this red bag that she’d place her food in, and she’d always bring a jello mold, usually cranberry for Christmas. The kitchen would be busy with my mom, grandmothers, and aunt all working on making the Christmas meal. We’d start off with crackers and cheese, fruit, and other appetizers. Then there would be a huge dinner followed by dessert.

We’ve never had a big family, and at most there were 9 people at Christmas dinner. I was very fortunate in that I didn’t lose my first grandparent, my grandfather, until I was 30. I think of these beloved family members and how they are no longer with us. But they are in my heart, and the memory of their love will always be with me.

Tomorrow, as I celebrate Christmas, my mom’s spirit will be in my heart and mind, and she will help me to bring the true spirit of Christmas to my family. For the first time, I will wear my mom’s Christmas sweater, the one she wore on her last Christmas with us. It will be as if my mom is surrounding me with her warmth and love.

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