Memories of Christmas

How many of us get a bit nostalgic when the Christmas season comes up?

I sure hope that I’m not the only one raising my hand here. Christmas comes with a message of love, of family, and of the birth of Jesus. There are so many amazing things that are brought up during this time of year that make me feel all warm and fuzzy, even when I look back at what I don’t really have anymore.

I am pretty into Christmas. I love the cheesy aspects of it as well as the meaning behind it all. I love getting together with friends and family. I love the music and the movies. I love it all. If I had my way I think my house would be decked out. Buuuut I lack some of that creativity, the time it takes to decorate, and the amount of decorations I would like in order to make that happen. I bake and I love to sport that ugly sweater.

BeFunky Collage

All these fantastic memories of Christmas definitely make me think about those Christmas days of my childhood and the wonderful people that were a part of it, some who are no longer a part of it. I just wanted to take the time to share how I remember Christmas (though I don’t think I could ever in a million years paint an accurate enough picture for you)…

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My family always tried to celebrate Christmas a day before Christmas eve. My parents wanted to make sure that we were all able to have our own special day. We might eat something special for supper (or we would order a pizza. That was also a special meal that didn’t happen too much). We would play Christmas music (literally. My sister and I took piano lessons for a long time so my parents always had us pick 2-3 songs to play). We would read from the Bible about the birth of Jesus and talk about the importance of it. Then…we would open presents. Typically that meant that my dad would get yet another tie from us kids and Lucas would give us beanie babies (sorry kid, but you went a few years ONLY buying us beanie babies. It was nice, but we definitely knew what was coming eventually). I loved these small celebrations with my family, and I do miss it.

My dad is from a big family. Though my siblings and I are among the youngest of the cousins we still have quite a few on my dad’s side and it was always a big get together on Christmas day. Many pictures were taken (not everyone always too thrilled about those pictures, but looking back…it sure is nice to have some of those), lots of laughs were had, sports were watched, and lots of food was eaten. We still try to get together. There are still games played, laughs had, memories shared, and food demolished. Our gatherings are just a little bit smaller, but that’s what happens when we are all adults and when many have families of our own.

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A recent picture of me with my cousins. Still missing 3 as well as my 2 siblings.

Christmas is definitely different without my dad around. He loved getting together with his family and I still can just hear the laughter from him. Christmas hasn’t really gotten any easier without him. It’s just gotten so that it’s not all that’s on my mind. This time of year is definitely when I saw how much he valued family and his relationship with his own siblings, which is one of my many lessons he has taught me.

Then, there’s this awesome lady…

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Please ignore my ridiculous little brother who probably thought he made photo-bombing cool.

My grandma was super into Christmas. I honestly don’t even know if I can accurately describe just how into Christmas she was. Her house was decorated all over the place. She always had two Christmas trees. One decorated with glass ornaments that we were not allowed to help decorate because we probably would have broke them all. This was used for one of our two Christmas celebrations at her house with my mom’s side of the family. She had another tree in the living room that she always invited us over to help decorate. Not a single breakable ornament was put on that tree. I remember it so well though. She had colored lights with the big bulbs. She had every single version of a Santa ornament imaginable as well as some of our homemade ornaments. While we decorated she would watch and make sure we didn’t miss a spot and my grandpa would help with the high parts of the tree, or he’d be at the counter fixing lights so he didn’t have to buy anymore. They had a massive collection of Nutcrackers surrounding the fireplace. She had this environment of joy and warmth in her house, especially on Christmas eve with the presents literally all over the living room and the fire keeping us warm (and A Christmas Story on the TV…you’ll shoot your eye out!).

She had a large collection of the Department 56 Christmas village. Literally, her entire dining room was transformed into a village. There was no room to eat because of her massive display. We used to be able to play with them, but then one year I think we broke some of the people so it became off limits to us. She had the fake snow, she had all the characters, she had a Christmas castle. It is probably one of my favorite things that I remember, and if I had the money or room I would be collecting them as well.

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My sad attempt to recreate something I could never in a million years recreate

My grandma also was huge into Christmas baking. She would bake all year round and freeze the cookies. I can’t even remember everything that she made, but I know I had my favorite. I loved the sugar cookies and the star cookies and the thumbprints that were SUPPOSED to be red and green but ended up pink and light green because food coloring can be tricky. Our Christmas meals when we had gatherings at her house were just appetizers because she had so many cookies and sweets. It was just meatballs, a cheese platter, chips and salsa, veggies, and COOKIES! Once she passed away it fell to my family to attempt to make her cookies, and let me tell you…it was not easy. I honestly don’t know if we ever found her cut out recipe. I know I have never seen it. It was hard to try to fill her shoes because it just wasn’t possible. Christmas was definitely her season and us trying to recreate her cookies…it was tough. I think that I have finally figured out how to KIND OF make cookies like hers, but I know they aren’t the same. I honestly can still taste them. There are times where I watch Christmas movies and I just crave those cookies. She was known for her cookies and Christmas crafts. If you were to ask my childhood friends what one thing they remembered of her they would definitely say cookies.

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My sugar cookies. They are not QUITE the same, but they are definitely close!

I miss her a lot, especially around Christmas. I miss both her and my dad. It kind of hits me around this time of year just how different things are. And though I think I am finally comfortable with where my life is at I still miss them, and still think of what things would be like if they were still around. I know my husband doesn’t quite understand just why Christmas is such a big deal with my family. The cookies especially. I make a lot of cookies for Christmas, but I feel like I have to. It’s not that I worry about my family being upset, it’s just that I need to. He never got to experience what I call Grandma Christmas so he doesn’t fully understand, which is fine but definitely sad to think about.

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However, while I think of all these things that I no longer have I have to look and see what I do have and the potential memories that I can make now. As sad as I am to not having my dad or grandma here I definitely cherish this time of year. I mean my siblings and I haven’t all been in the same state since August. That’s pretty exciting right?

I’ve been a little sad about this stuff lately, but as I look to next week (NEXT WEEK ALREADY GUYS!) I am getting pretty excited to go home, to see my family and friends, and to make more Christmas memories.

What are some of your favorite Christmas memories?

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