In the December issue of a magazine I subscribe to there is an article about Christmas memories. Twenty people were asked what their favorite Christmas memory is. All were from their childhoods. That doesn’t surprise me. Childhood Christmases are memory makers.
I recall with great warmth in my heart the last doll Santa brought to me. I was in third grade and at that time a doll was still the ultimate gift from Santa for girls my age. On Christmas morning, I fell in love with “Nancy” the doll that set propped against the bucket of sand that held our Christmas tree in place. The Christmas paper the bucket was wrapped in provided a great background for her.
Nancy had yellow braids, wore a pink dress, a white pinafore, white imitation leather shoes, and pink socks. Her eyes would open and close. She was absolutely beautiful. Mom and Ma Hughes knew what Santa was bringing me and they used their sewing talent to make several outfits for Nancy. They were in a box sitting beside her.
Oh, the hours I spent playing with that beautiful doll and those clothes! I still have her but she is showing her age and is in very fragile condition. I remember fun summer days in my playhouse that she spent with me and the winter days when she made playtime so happy, even though we were confined indoors. Nancy is not the only Christmas gift from my childhood that I have saved.
When I was 10 years old, I wanted a cedar chest to set on my dressing table. My cousin had gotten one for Christmas the year before and I thought it was grand. When Christmas came again, a cedar chest was my request. On Christmas morning I was so excited to see the small cedar box with the heart shaped lock and key. Inside the chest was a lovely assortment of stationary. All the stationary was used up quite rapidly but the chest remains special to me. It now sits on the console in our bedroom. It holds old greeting cards, a few photographs from back in the day, and some priceless pictures drawn by our daughters when they were learning the joy of putting crayons to paper.
But not all best Christmas memories are from my childhood. After Ruble and I married I was always amazed how he, even when money was tight and we only concentrated on making sure our girls had a good Christmas, could find something he could afford and that was thoughtful. After the girls were grown and he could do more, each year he gave me generous gift cards to my favorite place to shop for clothes. One year I lost my card. I dreaded telling him. When I did tell him, he went on a search and found it! It was behind the couch cushion where we had sat opening presents. We went shopping after all!
In addition to my childhood gifts that I have kept, I have several gifts our daughters gave me when they were growing up. I now have a collection of grandchildren gifts to treasure. These are the thoughts that meander through my mind after reading the Christmas Memories magazine article. And, I must say my heart rejoices as I remember the Reason for the Season and thank God for the Gift of His Son. I am also thankful for so many good Christmas memories. As we hurriedly speed toward Christmas Day 2019, let’s slow down enough to enjoy the trip.
LaVale Mills is Publisher Emeritus of The Red Bay News.