Christmas Cheer

~by Kim Luckabaugh

I remember how my mom did so many things to make the season special for my sister and me. She used to bake Nestle Tollhouse cookies and we'd eat them fresh from the oven while watching the Lawrence Welk Christmas special and all the cartoon and claymation Christmas specials. And who can forget the Charlie Brown special with Linus reciting the Christmas story and all the children singing "Hark, the Herald Angels Sing" at the end? For some reason, it makes me cry every time I watch it now.

 

I remember her baking pies for family dinners. Granddaddy loved chocolate the best. She'd make a mincemeat pie for my other granddaddy, her daddy.

There was a special book of animal Christmas stories that had a pop-up house with Santa entering the chimney in the front of the book, which we loved watching open when she read it to us!

And then there were the church dinners and skits. The food was always incredible and the desserts were a marvel to the eyes. They seemed to go on forever!

And Christmas day used to go on forever. We'd wake up early, but couldn't go out to the tree until 7:00. My dad's parents would visit in the morning and sometimes have breakfast with us. Noon brought Christmas dinner with my mom's family. My grandparents lived across the dirt road from us. We'd be over there until 3:00-ish, when we'd have to load up and go back home so Mom could make her delicious and traditional macaroni and cheese for my dad's family dinner at his parents' home that night.

The noon meal was always quiet since the family was relatively small and older. My dad's family is huge and loud, quite a contrast. The first was always orderly, in a nice way. The second one was absolute chaos -- sweet chaos to a child! Gift wrap would fly all over the place with everyone shouting thank-yous to the gift-givers.

After the hustle and bustle of the day, we'd finally make the short drive home and listen to the final hours of Christmas carols on the radio, which for some inexplicable reason ceased promptly at midnight.

I wish all this for my children. Since Christmas was always such a special time in my home growing up, I want to make it just as magical for my kids. I want them to always experience the soft glow of a Christmas Eve service. I want them to grow up with memories of baking, shopping for their siblings, wrapping gifts, watching the TV specials, writing a note to Santa to go with his milk and cookies, hanging their stockings, reading favorite Christmas stories and driving to look at the neighborhood Christmas lights as carols from a CD or radio set a special Christmas mood!

Whatever your hopes and dreams are, those of the past and those for the present, may they fill your home with love and joy which will be remembered for years to come.