- The Christmas I was three we went out to California to visit my dad's family. We stayed at my Aunt Dana's house--a big, old Victorian, which probably influenced my love for old houses--and I remember having lots of fun with my older cousins. I got to hear my Grandma Rugh play her ukulele. Gift-wise, I received some owl binoculars that year, as well as my Baby Feels So Real doll, for whom my mom had sewn several outfits and a set of cloth diapers. My cousin, Grant, dressed up as Santa, which, as you already know from my last post, was silly to me; he passed out peanut brittle, and I didn't care for it; but it was still fun being part of the big family celebration that year. When we returned home from that trip, my other grandparents met us and had a little Christmas with us at our house, and my sister and I got the refrigerator for our Holly Hobbie kitchen set. I remember everything that season seeming so wonderful and special.
- I remember lots of years just sitting in front of the Christmas tree, staring at the lights, listening to "The Christmas Tapes." My dad had put the cassettes together for our family from many different albums, some of which he had access to from the radio station where he worked (I think?). They truly were the best of all Christmas music...the real stuff! I remember wearing my tap shoes--I was probably four--and standing on what we called "the board" (not sure what it really was--a piece of countertop maybe?--but we kept it under our couch and slid it out to use as a hard surface for writing and such sometimes, and other times for tap dancing!), tap dancing to "The Little Drummer Boy." What's really cool is that in 2002, Daddy put most of "The Christmas Tapes" on CD for each of us. In fact, I'm listening to CD #3 right now! If only my tap shoes still fit...
- I think I was in fourth grade the year that my grandparents stayed with us for Christmas, and my grandma got a stomach bug (that's not the good memory). Early in the morning Christmas day, someone asked me to get her some medicine from the downstairs bathroom. I was thrilled at the chance to peek at the tree and any gifts that had appeared since we had gone to bed the night before. As I reached the bottom of the stairs, I was startled to see little Molly, who would have been two, standing in front of the tree. I scolded her and told her to go upstairs, but she didn't move! I told her again, but as I spoke, I realized that it was a doll standing there--a doll the same height and with the same coloring as Molly. It was very exciting all four of us, and we named her Polly. Polly stuck around our house for many years, even after one of her arms fell off and her hair grew quite ratty!
- The year after Polly showed up was even more special. Katie and I shared a bedroom, and in the middle of the night we woke up to a noise...it kind of sounded like a bird chirping. We stayed up the rest of the night listening for the noise, speculating what it could be. We already had a guinea pig, and we'd gone through a couple of hamsters, so it seemed unlikely that our parents might get us a bird. When morning finally came, we rushed downstairs and found a wrapped copy paper box (box and lid were wrapped separately). Out of the top of the lid were cut several holes, and poking out of one of the holes was a tiny paw! Our parents had gotten us a kitten! We'd never even dreamed that we'd ever have a cat. She was an adorable calico kitten, and we named her Ramona. In addition to Ramona, we received another life-sized doll that year: this time, a baby doll, probably 6-9 month sized. She came in a pretty Christmas dress, and we had fun dressing her up in real baby clothes. Seriously, I think Sarah was still taking care of Anna when she was in middle school!
- When I was in college, I worked at a daycare center in the summers and over my Christmas break. On Christmas Eve one year, I was subbing in the five-year-old room. It had been a gray December, with minimal snow, but when I woke the kids from their nap/rest time and began opening the blinds that day, we all were delighted to see the most beautiful snow falling outside. It was such fun to spend the rest of the afternoon with the kids, as they were so full of joy, wonder, and anticipation. It was difficult driving to and from church for the candlelight service that night, but that Christmas snow made everything seem extra calm, extra bright.
I am leaving out lots of other special memories, mainly because I need to get back to making memories for the here and now! It is so fun to reflect on these precious things, though...Christmas can stir up many difficult and undesirable memories and emotions, but it is good to hold onto the purely lovely ones!