Winsted-Lester Prairie Journal, Dec. 24, 2001

The Christmas memories come flooding back


Now that we have finally made it to Christmas (finally isn't really how it feels ­ it feels like already would be a more operative word), it's time to relax and enjoy the holiday.

Thank goodness the stressful part is over. Now, it's time to rake in the goods and pig out. Ha, ha, just kidding (I'm starting to sound like my kids!).

I'm exhausted. Luckily, the last minute shopping went pretty well, considering it was finished only a few days before Christmas and we had the kids with us.

What a zoo the stores were. Not only were there a lot of people to contend with, the aisles were stuffed so full of merchandise that it was hard to move around. I love to shop, but this was even beyond my realm of a good time.

I am looking forward to seeing the family, playing some cards, eating the goodies, and all of the other fun and sentimental traditions that come along with Christmas. Most importantly, I am looking forward to seeing the excitement in the faces of my boys. Sure brings back memories.

Those magical memories

What memories I have of Christmas time, both as a kid and as an adult. One of my favorite memories of Christmas is being around six or seven years old, and being so very excited about Santa coming that I couldn't sleep. I would watch the clock, and go wake up my Mom practically every hour, on the hour, to ask if it was time yet.

I don't think she got any more sleep than we did, and didn't seem to mind much until it got to be 4 or 5 a.m., when she had no uninterrupted sleep. Even then, although slightly annoyed, I don't think she minded too much.

We always had our brand new pajamas on, and as far back as I can remember and even when money was tight, we still got new pajamas for Christmas Eve. I really think it added to the specialness of it all.

A few years ago, I secretly had our old home movies transferred to video, and gave them to my parents and siblings as a Christmas gift. I didn't mark the tapes, and as hard as it was, didn't give any hints.

If you ever need a sentimental gift, that is one idea that will do it. My family hadn't seen the movies for years, and some of it not at all, so the Christmas footage of all five of us kids really brought back tender memories. (It also brought back some unpleasant memories, since the tape was from the time before braces, but that's a whole another column.)

There are so many memories that flood my head when I start thinking of Christmas. I remember the candlelight Christmas Eve services, where we were so tired, but excited to get to hold that candle and sing carols.

I remember looking at presents under the tree, shaking, and analyzing them, and feeling like there was no possible way that I would be able to wait all the way until Christmas.

I remember my Dad telling us, with very good reason, that we could not snoop for our presents. I also remember him telling us that if we did, we wouldn't get them. And we believed him, because we didn't snoop. He knew us all too well. We never did see them before Christmas, so we always got the gifts.

Now I know that he would have given them to us anyway, but being as snoopy as we were, he had to say something to stop us. He enjoyed watching us open them as much as we enjoyed getting them.

Now I see my own kids, and how exciting it is to them. I wish they could stay young forever.

My oldest is so excited for Santa that he can hardly stand it, but he's really scared that Santa will hold some of the not-so-nice things against him. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that if I had to venture a guess, Santa forgives most naughty things. With that in mind, I'm pretty sure he'll get his new Gameboy.

I'm excited to see what my youngest will do with the presents, because at a year-and-a-half, I don't think he's grasped all of the things going on around him. I think he will figure out how to open the presents, once we show him how, because he's always been good at being destructive. It's right up his alley.

I'm more concerned how he will handle the 11 p.m. church service on Christmas Eve. I'm hoping he will sleep, but we will see.

All of the memories of Christmas past have a way of bringing on nostalgic feelings. All of the little things play an important part in it all ­ the smells of candles and baking, the same Christmas CDs that I play year after year, the dressy clothes, seeing relatives that we haven't seen for a while . . . what a great time of the year.

I can say that now, because the stressful part is finally behind us, and we get to start the celebrating. I'm going to enjoy this time, because before I know it, my kids will have their own kids. Time stands still for no one, no matter how much we wish for it.

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