It’s here. Christmas Day, the day we have been planning for all year. Gifts are open and it’s nearly time for Christmas Dinner. Can’t you smell the spicy aroma of ham cooking in the oven with pineapples pierced with cloves and basted with brown sugar and pineapple syrup? Don’t you just love the sounds of the children oohing and aahing over their gifts? Can’t you feel the love that abounds this time of the year with family and friends?
You sit in the midst of a floor strewn with wrapping paper and a jumble of toys, sweaters, and other things you handpicked for everyone. You think about Christmases past, when it wasn’t all about the latest toy or hippest clothes everyone let you know they wanted for Christmas. You allow your mind to drift (just for a moment) back to the Christmases of your childhood and realize they weren’t quite the same.
We always had soup on Christmas Eve. Then Dad called Santa on the telephone to ask him if he could please come early to the Flory house. We traditionally opened our gifts on Christmas Eve because my Father worked for the Michigan State Highway Department and was called out almost every year to plow snow. Then we children went to a bedroom upstairs. There were four of us and I read the Christmas Story from the Bible while we kept an eye out the window just in case we could see the lights from Santa’s sleigh as it landed on our rooftop.
All of a sudden a hearty “Ho, Ho, Ho” would boom up the stairs and we’d hear my Mother’s voice say “Santa Claus was here, you can come down now.”
We scampered down the winding staircase to see our Christmas tree all aglow and presents spread around it. There weren’t a lot of presents, just enough. Dad was the person who handed out gifts one by one. We each watched the other open a gift and waited until my Father put the wrapping in a bag. What fun we had. My Mother had spent months crocheting special scarves, mittens and doll clothes. She made pretty new dresses for us three girls and a cowboy shirt and pants for my brother.
We each got one toy and it was usually the thing we coveted most or something close to it.
One of my favorite Christmases was the year my Dad gave my Mom a box of potatoes. She opened it and beamed at Dad. “How did you know just what I wanted?” she asked as she set it aside. With a big smile on his face Dad said, “Maybe you’d better look a little farther.” Mom took the potatoes out one by one and at the bottom of the box was a brand new pair of Gingher Shears (most coveted by seamstresses) for her sewing room. I still remember the tears of joy in her eyes.
We headed to the mantle for our Christmas stockings. We each got a Naval orange, a Macintosh apple a banana and a scarf and mittens.
Next Dad pulled out a five-pound box of chocolates and a bowl of nuts to crack. Bing Crosby played on the stereo; we sampled the chocolates, cracked nuts, and sat on the floor feeling the warmth of our close-knit family.
Christmas Day was the one day of the year my parents slept in due to Dad’s working until the wee hours of the morning clearing the state highways of snow so travelers could get to see their loved ones for Christmas dinner.
We had our own Christmas Dinner around two o’clock in the afternoon. It was always the same, the glazed ham with mashed potatoes, a special fruit salad that I still make for Christmas every year, yeast rolls and pie for dessert.
My memories are intertwined with church services, prayer as we sat down to eat our dinner, the Christmas story told over and over (at church and at home), the nativity scenes and Christmas tree which stood in all it’s beauty while the star twinkled on top. We knew it was all about Christ’s birthday, a little baby born in a manger because there was no room at the inn, and that Santa Claus lived at the North Pole. We accepted all these things as truth because Mom said so. She also made sure we gave some of the money we had been given as allowance or worked for to the Salvation Army or a homeless shelter so that others could have Christmas too. She told us “You reap what you sow.”
So, as you sit and watch the children play while you sip hot cider and visit with Aunt Minnie take time out to remember “the reason for the season.” Praise God in all his glory that he sent his own Son to earth to take on the burdens of the world. Thank Him for allowing us to give the magic of Santa Claus to our children, even while we teach them the true meaning of Christmas.
I’d like to take this time to wish each one of my Writing Wranglers and Warriors and their families a very Merry Christmas season and a Happy New Year. I cherish each and every one of you and enjoy the blessings we all give each other as we seek to promote each other’s work. Have a blessed Christmas Day wherever you are!
In closing I leave you a link to a Christmas song by Joey and Rory, a duo my husband and I love to listen to.
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