What’s your favorite Holiday memory?

What’s your favorite Christmas or Holiday memory?

When I was young, I got so excited for Christmas.

I loved going out to cut a cedar tree. We would always pick a tall tree, probably 15 feet or more. My dad would tell us that we would have to cut a hole in the roof and drop it in to get it in the house. Then he would find one that was more the size we needed.

I still love the smell of fresh cut cedar. I haven’t had a cedar tree for many years, but the smell brings back memories.

We would get the tree in a bucket with rocks to hold it in place and add water and green food coloring to keep it alive and green.

We would decorate it with lights, handmade ornaments, and some ornaments we had collected over the years. The final touch was always the icicle tinsel.

Picture five boys and me putting tinsel one piece at a time, neatly on the branches. It didn’t take us long to get tired of it and throw handfuls of it at the tree. It became a contest to see who could get the most to stick.

We still thought it was beautiful. My mom tried to make it look better after we were in bed.

I always found the presents before they were wrapped. I knew all the hiding places. My mom tried her best to hide them and I didn’t stop until I found them.

I was always the first one to wake up on Christmas morning. I would go downstairs before dawn and turn the lights on the tree. I would find all my presents and put them in a pile so I could get to them fast when it was time to open them.

About the time I got them in a pile, I would hear my dad yell, “Go back to bed, it’s not time to get up yet!” My mom would say, “Judy Kay I know that’s you!”

I scurried back to my room and laid in bed, usually for only a few minutes before I woke my brothers up so they could join me in my secret mission to sneak back downstairs, sit by the tree, and patiently, quietly wait for my mom and dad to get up and get some coffee.

Okay, there was nothing sneaky about going down steps that creaked with every step you took. I’m sure my parents could hear us, but if we could make it to the family room and sit quietly, they didn’t make us go back to our rooms.

Of course, the silence didn’t last long. The excitement was too much to contain and sometimes, okay most times, we started fighting and got sent back to our rooms. This might happen two or three times before my parents thought it was time to get up. Mind you, I would get everyone up before 5 a.m. and it was usually 6:30, which was sleeping in for my parents, when they got their coffee and said we could open gifts.

Our Christmas for sure didn’t look like a Hallmark Christmas, but the memories make me smile. Some might think they’re not great memories, but I know they shaped who I am and I’m grateful for that.

Take some time to intentionally create just one little memory to carry with you.

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