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Christmas at Our House

I love Christmas! I love the lights, the cheesy Christmas movies, the music (with the exception of that unruly drummer boy who keeps waking up the baby and annoying everyone in the stable with his dang rumpa pum drum.) I even like ugly Christmas sweaters.

Every year there are new memories to treasure; like my two little granddaughters shrieking and scratch-fighting like animals over the Baby Jesus doll in our traditional pageant. And the unforgettable performance of the donkey, who bucked off the seriously pregnant Mary. It was magic!

Some of my Christmas memories are bittersweet, like the Christmas my dad passed away unexpectedly. He was only 62. That Christmas has a distinct place in my heart. After that, every Christmas with my family became even more precious.

Christmas at our house is always memorable. My daughter wrote a story about one of her favorite Christmas Memories, and I can't resist sharing it. Enjoy!

THE GIFT

By Holly Winegar

It was Christmas Eve 1983. The snow was falling softly, sticking to the ground.

“Holly!” My mother called from the kitchen. I ran down the stairs sliding across the smooth entryway floor in my fuzzy warm Christmas socks.

“Holly! Check out the presents!” Cory pointed.

“When did those get under the tree?” I asked my brothers.

“I don’t know.” Weston said as held up one of the beautifully wrapped packages.

It was almost as big as him. We rummaged around trying to find our names.

“Holly! Boys! I need your help finishing up before Grandma and Grandpa get here,” Mom called from the kitchen. My brothers and I went to see what task mom needed us to do. She gave each of us an assignment. I gleefully skipped around the house lighting all the candles. The house was perfect. The fire was crackling in the fireplace and Christmas music echoed from room to room. I couldn’t wait! The doorbell chimed a festive We Wish You A Merry Christmas.

“I’ll get it!” Lonny yelled, racing Weston to the door.

“Grandma, Grandpa!” We shouted.

We hung up Grandma and Grandpa’s coats and headed toward the inviting smell. It beckoned us to the dining room. Candles flickered on the table and the food was spread from one end to the other. We gathered round and as Grandpa gave the prayer I squinted an eye. I could see all my family’s favorite treats. I snatched a homemade roll from the basket hoping no one was watching.

“Hey!” Cory whispered elbowing me.

Then reaching out, grabbed one too. We grinned, devouring them before the prayer was finished. We had a feast, a feast like no other! We laughed, told stories, and listened to one another, enjoying every second. After dinner my Dad asked us to all gather in the living room. My brothers and I eyed the presents as we walked past them.

“Your mom and I want each of you to know how much we love you. Our family has been so blessed. With this in mind, we want to ask each of you a question.” Dad put his arm around my mother. “We want each of you to pick a gift from under the tree. Make sure that it has your name on it.”

Mom nodded, giving us the okay. We raced to the tree, wrestling to get there first. Each of us picked out what we thought was the very best gift. We sat on the floor with our soon to be toy in front of us. I could hardly hold in my excitement.

“We were wondering if each of you would be willing to give the gift you have chosen to a family that isn’t going to have a Christmas this year?” Tears welled up in Mom’s eyes as she spoke.

Lonny pulled his present a little closer and Jordan and held his tight. I looked down intently at mine, considering the possibilities before making up my mind.

“I’ll do it!” I shouted

Mom looked at me proudly. One by one we made the decision to give up our presents.

“Thank you for your decisions. I want you to know that I am very proud of each one of you.”

Dad beamed, scooping up Baby Megan in his arms. Mom sat down next to Jordan and rubbed his curly hair.

“Go ahead and open your presents. We want you to know what gift you will be giving.”

We each took our turn, from youngest to oldest, opening our presents. I carefully unwrapped the cute snowman Christmas paper.

“What could it be?” I thought to myself. I turned it around and my heart sank. I touched the box gently and held back my tears. This was the one thing I wanted for Christmas! I tried not to make eye contact with my parents.

Just the day before there had been a news report that mothers were actually fighting with each other to get one for their kids. Everyone wanted one. I wanted one! Would I ever have a chance to get another? I felt my mother watching me and looked up. I wanted to trade this gift for another. I stared intently at the precious gift. I touched the box softly with the palm of my hand.

“So long, my brown-haired, blue-eyed Cabbage Patch Doll.” I whispered, carefully wrapping it back up.

I often look back to that Christmas Eve so long ago. It is not often we give the one thing we really want to someone else. It was an extra special occasion. One that I will never forget.​

Original Watercolor

By Gail Winegar