Sunday, December 25, 2011

A Christmas Memory

WIth Johns family this year we made a memory album with everyone submitting a different memory or what Christmas means to them. I wanted to share ours.


I remember going to pick up many Christmas trees from Christmas tree lots growing up as a kid. I remember picking up one very special tree one year. We went for a hike into the woods, dug up the tree, and left a hole the size of a VW bug. We brought the tree home, roots and all. I don't know how Mom and Dad hid the roots beneath the tree, but we had more than presents beneath the tree that year.

I remember breaking a lot of things as a kid simply because we used to play so much inside of every house that we lived in. I remember being very sad for breaking each object but one sticks out in my mind a lot more so than the others. I can't remember whose it was but it was someone's baby's first Christmas ornament which hung from our Christmas tree that year. I remember being very sad because all of the baby's first Christmas ornaments that we had for each of our siblings were so sentimental to mom. I remembered all of this as I pulled mine from its box this year to set up for Christmas 2011. To whomever whose ornament I broke that year, it didn't go down very easy. Let me know whose is missing and I'll make a new one.

It's no secret that Christmastime was a huge part of my childhood. Anytime I see anything Christmas my heart swells with anticipation and I am enveloped about with a sense of home. While I love the decorations, lights, and music my favorite part of Christmas is giving gifts.

My parents did a lot of things to encourage us to love giving. I have very vivid memories of going to Thrifty's and walking up and down the aisles looking for the perfect gift for each member of my family. I'm sure many of the gifts I got my parents were little trinkets that they didn't need or necessarily want. But I was so excited to watch them open something I had thought so much about and tried so hard to find that perfect something for them.

We also baked a lot of cookies to give away during Christmas time. I mean A LOT of cookies! I remember being about 5 or 6 and pulling the wagon around the neighborhood with my brothers to all of our neighbors delivering plates of my Mom's special Chocolate Chip cookies. When we were old enough my Mom put us in charge of making the cookie dough. Each of us would take a day to make a huge double batch in our big orange Tupperware bowl. No mixers! It was all elbow grease and I hated trying to stir in that last cup of flour!

We probably baked 10-12 double batches each year to go deliver to our neighbors and Ward members. I can still remember some of the goodies that we got each year from our neighbors. Martha Kelly always made us a Rum Cake and the Peterson's at the top of Shamrock gave us the green, white, and red layered Jell-O.

Probably one of my favorite Christmas memories was the year we did the 12 days of Christmas for one of the families in our Ward that were in real need. I loved going shopping with my Mom for toys and clothes for each of the kids. We would drive over each night accompanied with anticipation and butterflies in our stomach, hoping that we would once again get away without being seen. I think on Christmas Eve we delivered all of the makings for a Christmas dinner.

I will never forget how good I felt that Christmas. I enjoyed opening my own presents but not near as much as I enjoyed giving presents to that family in need. None of the 5 of us ever told anyone what we had done and it has remained a secret all of these years

I want to instill that same love of giving in our boys that my parents taught us. I love being the Mom now and planning gifts that will surprise and delight all at the same time. There is something about giving that brings a happiness that cannot be replicated anywhere else.

The Spirit of giving is truly the magic of Christmas. As I think about what it must have meant for our Heavenly Father to give us his son, knowing that eventually he would have to suffer for our sins and sacrificed his life to save overwhelms me. But in the true spirit of giving the sacrifice of giving brought forth more joy and  happiness as now our Heavenly Father can have all of his children return to him.

It truly is better to give than receive.
That is what makes Christmas so special!





The Gallagher Family said...

Rum cake is always yummy! I definitely remember your Mom's Chocolate Chip cookies. I wish I still had the recipe....... Merry Christmas! :)

Sabrina said...

I love Christmas, every time I pass a decorated house or an ornament I think of your mom. I loved her Christmas cookies too. Merry Christmas!