- Spending Christmas in Florence. All the cousins slept on the floor in Grandpa's Study. The boys would wake me up really early and have me go look at what Santa brought us, and come back and report. And I did it. Also, all of us going to Grandpa's church and sitting in the front row. :-)
- Going to Utah for Christmas one year.
- Going to see the lights on the City and County building after church. And having my cousin be VERY upset because he'd rather be home playing video games. (He shall remain nameless but we all know who he is haha)
- That wretched video recording of us singing 12 Days Of Christmas and showing not only how unintelligent I was, but how loud and out of tune I was with my "5 Golden Rings". Yikes.
- The year my grandpa got me a JTT calendar. Seriously best present. ever.
- The year I got one of those dolls where you have to get the diaper wet to find out if it's a boy or a girl. My grandpa performed a baptism on it. And prior to Christmas, my mom pulled me aside and asked me if I would mind if my doll was black. I told her no.
- The year we were moving like a week after Christmas. And everyone came to our house for Christmas (that was poor planning on someone's part) and there was an earthquake. In Colorado.
- Tying the sled to the back of the van and having my dad drive us around the neighborhood on Christmas morning. SO MUCH FUN
- Playing "Santa". (This is what happens when you're the youngest. And you get stuck with the job every year)
- Going to church on Christmas Eve. As I got older it was more like reunion night where I got to see all my old youth group friends, catch up, etc. Definitely one of my favorite nights of the year.
- Once I started driving, after church I would always drive by our old house and look at the lights in that neighborhood.
- Me getting up early and making breakfast for everyone.
- My brother playing with the hot wax on his candle and spilling it on my leg.
- The running joke of who is going to set their hair on fire. :)
As I've gotten older, things have changed. Fewer of my friends came to Christmas Eve. My brother couldn't always make it home in time for church. Last year, he didn't get in until afterwards, my dad was super sick from the chemo he was going through and I ended up going to church all by myself. It was horrible.
This year things are a little different. And honestly, it doesn't even feel like Christmas to me. I have to work all week, for the first time EVER. I always get the week of Christmas off, but this year is different. So that is kind of weird. My brother and sister-in-law aren't able to come out until next week so we aren't even really celebrating Christmas until then. And now that I have a job at a church, I don't get to go to the church I grew up in on Christmas Eve. Which made me a little sad. I missed my friends and all those familiar faces I've known forever. On the flip side, it has been such a blessing to get to know this new church family. It's just very different. And the big part.... I miss my brother. :(
Tonight at church as I was standing in front of the congregation and we all had our candles in the air an we were singing Silent Night, tears came to my eyes for the old memories that I miss so much. But then I looked out and I saw all these people, a lot of them young adults who I've seen grow up over the last few years and that just warmed my heart.
After church, I drove back to my old neighborhood (because let's face it... I can't leave the past alone) and I was so sad at how none of the houses on my old street had Christmas lights up.
To me, Christmas is a day when we can just stop being so dang busy, be with our families and just relax. It's a day to think of how lucky we are and thank God for the wonderful things we have. I am so lucky to have all these wonderful memories of families and friends on Christmas Day. And though I may be a little sad tonight and not feel like it's really Christmas, I know when my family does celebrate it, we will have a wonderful time together.
May you and your family have a blessed Christmas.
What is your favorite Christmas memory??
What is the best gift you've ever received/given??