The approach of Christmas reminds me of our family celebrations of years past. It's the memory of out-of-the-ordinary celebrations that remain the strongest.
There was the year (2007 I think) that we all flew to Southern California on Christmas Day. Our home teacher drove us to PDX on Christmas morning and we told him that his service could count for a year's worth of visits. We enjoyed a sunny holiday with family in California and in Tucson Arizona that year.
In 1984 we moved into our current home on our 10th anniversary, Dec. 19. Even with all the busy-ness of moving our furniture and goods into the house with 3 small children "helping," and me being pregnant-sick with our 4th child, Craig still found time to grab a Christmas tree off a lot and set it up that first night in our home.
Christmas 2004 was a sad time. My Dad was dying. Our family spent Christmas Eve the usual way with a humble dinner, a simple program centered on the birth of Christ, and the treasure hunt we do for family members, where they have to solve clues to find a hidden gift. Early Christmas morning I boarded a plane for Pittsburgh to be with Dad during his last days.
For some years we involved our children in a dramatization of the Nativity. Bathrobes subbed for shepherd garb, Craig was the donkey, and the youngest child was always the newborn babe. The year Teresa was about 4 she was the Christ child; Bridget (8) was cast as Mary. Teresa was lying down in a blanket pretending to be the baby while "Mary" cooed over her. Suddenly Teresa piped up, "Mary! Your breath stinks!!" We couldn't continue . . .
One of my most amusing holiday memories pertains to the second Christmas we were married (1975). We were college students living on nothing. Buying a tree and decorations was out of the question, but how dull it would be to have no vestiges of holiday cheer in our tiny apartment. Craig had an idea. Plenty of students who lived in the dorms on campus had money to decorate their rooms for Christmas. And, they were required by student housing to remove all trees and decorations from their rooms before leaving for home to enjoy the holidays.
We waited until school was out and students had left for home. Then we scrounged through the dumpsters behind the dorms and pulled out a nicely decorated tree just the right size for our apartment. Our lovely tree brought in a holiday mood, and no one ever knew we had stooped to dumpster-diving to get it.