Making Holiday Memories
“A joyful heart makes a cheerful face,” (Prov. 15:13). That’s what our faces should reflect as we go about the busyness of the holiday season.
Looking BackNostalgia goes hand in hand with holiday happenings. Taking a trip back in time, I remember my mother telling us how fortunate we were at Christmas time. Her gifts were necessary homemade clothing and maybe, an orange.
One of my favorite memories is the wonderful school plays given in a one-room country schoolhouse. Blankets were strung on wire for stage curtains, the teacher sat on a bench with script in hand (no one sat close to the oil-burning stove in the center of the room), and after the play, an ancient Santa wearing a seamed face and lots of padding, rang out in his jolly bass, “Ho, ho, ho, M-e-r-r-y Christmas!” His voice resounded through the room as we waited to taste the delightful goodies he carried in that gunnysack slung over his shoulder: hard candy, nuts, chocolate-covered mints we called “haystacks,” an orange and an apple. Mmmm.
Christmas Eve was our Sunday school program and we were allowed to open one gift before we left for church. That was a necessary surprise we needed to wear.
Our trees were always spindly, sparsely branched cedars cut from the pasture or shelterbelt. We kids loved throwing on icicles to cover up the holes between branches. With so many small helpful hands involved, the glass baubles grew fewer each year.
My father’s parents made it a Mosel tradition to have oyster stew after church on Christmas Eve. That’s one I carried on, until my sons-in-law fessed up to not liking it. So we have a couple different soups now, and my husband and I eat oyster stew on New Year’s Eve.
Memories, Memories, Memories
What are you leaving as memories for your loved ones? You can (and should) build memories for your children and grandchildren. As soon as my kids were big enough to stand on a bench, they helped roll out and decorate sugar cookies.After being away from home a few years, I asked my adult children what they remember about getting ready for Christmas. I heard singing, buying presents, baking cookies, making decorations, the tree, and our living room. When they were small, that room was a Victorian parlor depicting the era. The kids would descend the stairs in wide-eyed wonder.
Traditions create memories and bind families. They vary from a birthday cake to Jesus and reading the Christmas story from Luke, Chapter Two, crazy gift-giving games or drawing names for handmade gifts, saving Christmas cards and praying for the sender through the year, or even starting the next year’s gifts by shopping the day after Christmas.
Whatever your memories, savor them because life is short and changing faster than we can voice an opinion. Take time to make new memories. Love one another, and may I challenge you to leave a legacy of joy.