This week Sadie suddenly waxed poetic in her 8-year-old way:
“One of my favorite things about Christmas is listening to the oven beeping, because I know that something yummy is baking and it’s almost ready to eat. And I like the way the trees smell. And I like to decorate and use all the sparkly glitter and pretty ribbons.” (She frequently asks the dreaded question: “Hey Mom, where do we keep all the glitter and the glue?")
“And I like the sound of bells and the smell of snow outside. And I like the way Christmastime looks – the dim lights and the lights outside and the way the snow sparkles in the sun.”
Wow. It appeared that she had been giving this list of Christmas favorites a lot of thought.
When she was three, she loved to sing “Have a holly jolly Christmas, have a holly jolly Christmas, have a holly jolly Christmas…”
Those were the only words she knew. She loved to look at Christmas lights and she’d say, “Oh, the lights are be-yoo-tiful!” Once when she saw an especially well-lit house she said, “Hey, look at that house! Those people must really love God!”
Her reminiscing led me to ponder my other kids’ favorites – and my own.
Josie loves the smell of pine trees and apple cider. She likes drinking cocoa, eating pumpkin rolls, sledding, playing with my Russian nesting dolls, and going to see Christmas lights with her Grandma and Grandpa. She loves when we drive all night to NC and she hears the turn signal tick-tick-ticking as we turn in to Great Grandma’s driveway. She likes to sing along to The Little Drummer Boy, Feliz Navidad and Silver Bells. When she was younger, she always said, “Oooh, ahhh” when she saw Christmas lights. She was convinced that Baby Jesus’ earthly parents were named “Mary and Jofus” and that “Frosty the No-man was a jolly happy SO.”
Adelaide loves making Christmas cookies and eating candy canes. She loves opening presents and helping to wrap gifts. She likes leaving cookies out for Santa and carrots for Rudolph and reading Christmas books from the library. She likes seeing Baby Jesus in the manger, going to Journey to Bethlehem, Christmas angels and singing Silent Night. She loves wearing new poofy Christmas dresses and sparkly shoes. This year she said, “Did you guys see that lit-up house? It was just faj-a-lous!” She also likes to sing her own version of the Elves’ song from the Rudolph movie: "Ho ho ho, Ho ho ho, Santa smells himself." Last year she sang “It's the most WONDERFUL time of da YEAR! Of da YEAR!” When her sister told her she was weird, she said, “No, I am not. It IS the most wonderful time. Of da year.”
Jedidiah is thoroughly enjoying this Christmas season. He rode a Christmas Train (“choo choo!”), ignored Santa when given the choice between sitting on his lap and eating a candy cane, and he learned four new words: “So-man!” “What!” “Why?” and “A coo-kie!” He made us laugh this year anytime we were riding together in the car because he likes to point out the window and say, “Ah, wights! Ah, wights!” and (wait for it) “Ahhh! Wights!”
And me? The old Disney's The Sounds of Christmas album is my absolute favorite Christmas-y thing. I listened to it every single Christmas until I was grown up, and now my kids listen to it with me.
On Christmas Eve, I always got new pajamas from my Grandma. I was never sure if I couldn’t sleep those nights because I was so excited or because the new pajamas were itchy.
I remember my mom hanging our little red jingly cuckoo clock bell from the doorframe and my daddy hitting his head on it every time he walked through the hall. I have that bell now, and that tinkling sound still takes me back.
I loved this weird “bird ball” that plugged in to the wall and made a crazy “woop, woop, wooo-ooooop woop woop” sound. When I was six, I was convinced that a tiny (yet very loud) bird actually lived in that little green ball. I always wanted to see what was inside, but I never did. Maybe it was a real bird.
I loved treat bags from my church, finding out what was in my stocking, calling my cousin to swap stories on Christmas morning, and listening to my Grandpa read the second chapter of Luke from the Bible. I loved doing skits with my cousins and staying up late on Christmas Eve and singing songs with my daddy and his guitar. I remember my mom hiding and jumping out to take my picture every Christmas morning and the year we got matching red and white striped footie pajamas WITH a trapdoor in back.
I remember parties and wrapping paper fights and Rudolph and Hermey the Elf and Frosty and acting out The 12 Days of Christmas. I remember looking up in the cold winter sky for the Christmas Star and singing Away in a Manger as I prayed and desperately wished for a southern snow.
And every year, I remember reading my favorite passage from The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson: "But as far as I'm concerned, Mary is always going to look a lot like Imogene Herdman - sort of nervous and bewildered, but ready to clobber anyone who laid a hand on her baby. And the Wise Men are always going to be Leroy and his brothers, bearing ham."
These are some of our Christmas memories. I hope that you hold your Christmas memories safely in your heart – they are truly your very own.
May this holiday season leave you and your family with more precious memories and plentiful blessings for the New Year.