Sunday, December 6, 2009

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

"Love is what's in the room if you stop opening presents and listen."
- Author Unknown, attributed to a 7-year-old named Bobby

There are ony a few Christmases that I can actually remember what I received from Santa, my family or my friends. I like it that way too because what I do remember are the stories we shared, the memories we made and the laughter that brought us all a little closer.

"Even as an adult I find it difficult to sleep on Christmas Eve. Yuletide excitement is a potent caffiene no matter what your age." - Carrie Latet

When my brother Josh, my sister Laura and I were little we would all pile in my brother's queen size waterbed and fall asleep, for only a couple of hours, until Josh would wake us up to go downstairs and see what Santa left for us while we were snuggled in bed. Josh would ALWAYS be the one who would wake us up. Once I was awake I was just as excited as him and Laura, being older and knowing at that time that there wasn't a Santa, would still wake up and come downstairs with us, see what we all got and then head back upstairs for bed. She was a true tropper and the best big sister for "playing along" on Christmas morning.

Joshua and I would stay up from 1 or 2 am until my parents and Laura woke back up to join us downstairs. We'd play with our toys, run around downstairs un-attended and really had the time of our life. It was so magical. It was almost like we were fitted with batteries that never died. I don't ever remember being tired or wanting to go back to bed. Our family tradition was that Santa would leave all of our presents out, un-wrapped, in each of our respective spots. Laura half of the large couch and the floor in front of her section for larger items, Joshua got the other half of the couch and floor in front of his spot, and I got the love seat. I believe Santa did this so "they" could sleep a little longer and we could go ahead and play with our gifts.

When mom and dad would wake up we'd all pile in the living room and get to open the presents that were wrapped from them, from aunts and uncles and friends. I loved the fact that Santa's gifts weren't wrapped. He laid the gifts so lovingly out in our spots. Clothes and shoes would be on one side, toys and what-nots were on the other side of our spots. He did a very good job of making everything look nice and neat. I mean, he has a lot of kiddos to visit so it was nice that he took the extra time at our house to set everything out for us. Now, Laura and her husband Chris follow the same tradition and Joshua and his wife Laura also do the same.

"The best of all gifts around the Christmas Tree: the presence family all wrapped up in each other."
Burton Hillis

Another memory that I fondly remember is when my brother and sister and I would put on a Christmas "Show" for my parents on Christmas Eve. Laura would direct us and we'd practice all day. Sometimes we'd dress up as Mary, Joseph, an angel and use one of my baby dolls are Jesus. Sometimes we'd sing. When Laura was in middle school and in the band she let me play her flute and Josh would play his violin. Sometimes it would be skits and just us being plain silly. Those were some fun times and it warms my heart when I look back and think about it. I can still see us in the living room, mom and dad on the couch, and us taking direction from Laura on what to do next.

"Our hearts grow tender with childhood memories and love of kindred, and we are better throughout the year for having, in spirit, becoming a child again at Christmas time."
-Laura Ingalls Wilder

Christmas is such a wonderful time of year that brings family together. I love it. Now that we are all grown and have in-laws that we have to visit and create memories and new traditions with, we all don't get together for Christmas. We also have the joy of added family. 6 kiddos have been added to our family and it's so much fun to see them create memories. I hope, and I know deep down, that when they are "old" they'll look back on Christmases past and smile.

Merry Christmas!

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