Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas as it used to be...

Sent to The Frederick Leader and The Frederick Press, December 20, 2011

Share your Christmas Memories

Christmas is a special time of the year, filled with family traditions and precious memories.

I encourage you to share your memories of Christmas with your family and loved ones. You can do that by telling stories from your past Christmases or by putting those memories in writing.

My mother was born in 1914, and as a kid I remember asking her about Christmas when she was a girl, living on the farm southwest of Tipton. She was one of eight kids, and part of a big extended family with many cousins.

She told about the family gathering at her grandmother’s house in Tipton at Christmas, and one of her uncles always dressing up to play the part of “Santee” for the kids. The children received an apple and an orange (special treats for Oklahoma farm kids), a candy cane, and one or two simple, inexpensive gifts. Christmas in those days was not the commercial extravaganza that it has now become.

Today, every Christmas, I think about my mother’s stories and imagine what it must have been like to be a child at those family Christmases in the 1920s. Even though those Christmas celebrations happened long before I was born, my mother’s sharing them made them a meaningful part of my Christmas experience.

That’s why it is important to share your Christmas memories.

You can simply tell your stories, but I really encourage you to put those memories in writing. When you sit down to write, you’ll be surprised at the flood of memories that will come to you.

What were the Christmas traditions when you were young? Where did your family gather?
Write about a particular Christmas that particularly stands out in your memory.
Were church services or church programs part of your holidays?
How did you celebrate Christmas at school?
How did your family decorate, and where did you get your Christmas trees?
Which gifts stand out in your memory?
What smells, sights, and tastes from Christmas in those days do you remember even now?
Who were the people who made your Christmases special?

Many of those friends and family members from your Christmases past are probably no longer living, but tell your children and grandchildren about those people who were important to you.

Sharing your memories of Christmas is a gift that won’t cost a dime – but it may be one of the most special, lasting gifts that you can give during this holiday season.

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