My favourite holiday memory is both sad and joyful…
In January, 1984, my father suddenly passed away and my son was born two weeks after his death.
The next Christmas, I went with my 10-month-old son to spend the holiday with my mother. I commented to her that it was sad not having Dad there at that time and that one of my biggest regrets was that Dad never got to see his first grandson. He had been so excited about my pregnancy and had said he hoped the baby would be a boy. After all, he had five daughters!
The next day, my mother was heading to the mall for some pre-Christmas shopping. She asked me if I would like her to take my son with her and have his picture taken with Santa Claus. Of course I said yes.
When she returned, I asked to see the picture and she handed it to me but with a funny look on her face. Of course, I immediately looked at my son but when I looked up at Santa’s face, my jaw dropped. You see, my father had a very large and unusual nose but also the most gorgeous blue eyes. When I looked beyond Santa’s beard, I saw the same nose and the same beautiful eyes. It was if my father was dressed as Santa and holding my son. Could it be that this was a sign that my father did actually see my son from the afterlife? I will never know for sure, but that one incident brought me so much joy in thinking, “Just maybe he does see him…”
Guess A Gift
For 26 years now I have been playing what we call ‘The Guess A Gift’ game.
Years ago I was at a friends house and they played this game on Christmas Eve. A wrapped present is passed around on Christmas Eve and everyone gets a ‘yes or no’ question and a guess. Whomever guesses the gift gets it.
This game has taken up to an hour and been as short as a minute. The first time I played the present was wrapped to look like an umbrella, it was actually a book. Trick wrapping is key.
Lots of fun and everyone loves it.
The True Meaning of Christmas
I was a young girl, about 10 years old.
I had an older sister and a younger brother.
My mother was a part-time librarian and my father had worked as a letter carrier for a number of years (since I was a baby).
Back then, even at the tender age of 10, I understood that caring for others who were less fortunate was just what one did when you could. Even though my parents worked, there wasn’t a lot left over each payday when the groceries were bought and bills were paid. My mother still refers to our family in those days as “the working poor.”
One day, shortly before Christmas, my father came home from a long day “on the beat” with a story about a family he had met while delivering mail.
They had just arrived in our small town a couple of months prior and had no family, no friends and no money to buy gifts for their three young children or even a turkey for Christmas dinner. He told us that he had invited them to have Christmas dinner with us and informed us that our gifts would be minimal because we needed to buy gifts for the three young guests that would be coming for Christmas.
He explained it in a way that made us happy give up whatever was necessary in order to give this family a Christmas.
I will never forget the feeling I had watching those kids open their gifts, seeing the excitement on their faces and the look of gratitude on their parents faces.
Once the family had left for the evening, my father exclaimed that THAT was the meaning of Christmas!