The holiday season is a time for celebrating, being with those we love, and remembering special times from the past that hold special places in our hearts. This holiday season, the Storyteller team wants to share a few of our favorite holiday memories, and sending good wishes that this holiday season brings lovely new memories to you and yours.
Amy's Holiday Story:
I don't have "one" favorite holiday story; instead, my favorite thing about the holidays is the nostalgia and the memory of a time when magic was real. It's the combination of Mom's homemade fudge, of watching Garfield's Christmas special on TV, and of the anticipation building as we got closer and closer to the big night when Santa would come and would have special surprises waiting for us in our stockings and under the tree. I was older than most kids when I found out "the truth." I wasn't upset; I was old enough to know, but Christmas wasn't as fun for years after that.
Then, my mom told me a story about a time when I was five. All I wanted from Santa was the key to my dress-up trunk. It'd been lost for nearly a year. Mom said she'd looked and looked and looked for that key. Christmas Eve, she decided to look through the toy box one more time, and low and behold, there it was. I was elated to get that key on Christmas morning; boy, did I think Santa was real then. Mom said that even though Santa doesn't fly around the world every December 24 delivering presents, she believed in the magic of Christmas. As I got older, I learned magic wasn't in the getting, it was the giving. Every time we help a family in need or answer the summons to an angel tree senior or child, I get that feeling, like I'm being lit from within by fairy lights.
Now that I'm a parent, I'm loving seeing the magic of Christmas all over again in my children when their Elf on the Shelf changes places or when they see Santa Claus during the holiday season. I love sharing the pretend magic of Christmas with them, of making memories cooking sugar cookies and holiday fudge, of reading stories, and of watching the same Christmas movies I remember from my childhood. As much as I love this, I can't wait for them to experience the real magic of Christmas...the part where you give love and spread joy to others.
Lauren's Holiday Story:
I loved Christmas as a child — and still do — for all the traditions and time together with family. Every year, the five of us traveled to a Christmas tree farm and selected a tree. Each of us got to vote for our favorite. Once we had come to a consensus, my dad chopped it down and strapped it on top of our minivan. One year, an exceptionally cold one for north Georgia, we rushed through the selection process. The tree we hauled into our living room was crooked. No problem, we thought. We still loved it, just like Charlie Brown’s tree. Following tradition, we had hot cocoa and listened to Christmas carols, strung the tree with lights and tinsel and hung our ornaments with care. Late that night, we awoke to a crash. The tree had toppled over. We had a few decorative casualties, but we got it upright again. After a few more falls and some hilarious shared family laughter, my dad rigged it with rope and bungee cords. And despite it all, that beautiful tree served us, with a generous lean to the right, in our living room until the big day.
Laura's Holiday Story:
It seems like each holiday season brings its own magic moment that lives in memory's infamy, but a few that continue to burn vividly in my mind's eye are these:
The Christmas of my third or fourth year, my sister and I both received bicycles - albeit with training wheels - and they were standing proudly beside the tree when we woke up that morning. These were the kinds of bicycles that all little girls want, with fancy glitter decorations and shimmery tassels hanging from the handlebars. And each bicycle also had a wicker basket on the front, inside which was a Pound Purry (a stuffed animal kitten with big, loveable Disney eyes.) We were beside ourselves and wanted to go instantly outside to test our new bicycles, but even though this was south Mississippi, it was too cold that early in the morning. So my Dad opened every door on the first floor of our house to make a large circle, and my sister and I rode laps around the house. I'll never forget the song that was playing, either. Not a Christmas tune, but The Beatles' Eleanor Rigby. I don't know why that song, but it was magical. And I don't know why this memory, but it was such a wonderful time before life was complicated and growing up was necessary.
Other wonderful Christmas memories that stay with me involved adventures with my husband, where each Christmas seems to be special in its own way. Like when were living in California and took a train out to the Inyo National Forest to find and chop down a tree that was then loaded onto the train for a return back home. Or the time we were moving to Arizona during the holidays and found ourselves in Sedona on Christmas Eve where we checked into 'the last room at the inn' and set up a makeshift Christmas 'alter' with presents surrounding a television playing a yule log video on repeat. Or the Christmas Eve we went hiking in the desert outside of Phoenix and came across a starving dog that we had to bring home to bathe and feed that would eventually become "Nan," a beloved member of our family. Or this Christmas, where we find ourselves one month away from the due date of our first child, a son we'll call Wilder, and each holiday motion seems new and different as we prepare for the new life about to begin for our little family. Wrapping gifts, and laughing at my ever-expanding waistline, and putting together cribs, and wondering each day if he will actually wait until the projected due date or make an appearance for the holidays. It gives a whole new light on the holiday season, and it's nothing short of magical.