Tonight we had a Porch People Birthday Party for Tula and Glenda. The dinner menu was barbeque and brunswick stew. We all gathered at Sherry and Keith's house and ate, fellowshiped, opened gifts, sang Happy Birthday....oh yeah and watched Alabama win the SEC championship game against Georgia. It was a great deal of fun. Sherry and I were sitting in the recliners after the game was over and she told me that she did not like getting gifts....she liked giving them....and she loved spending time with people she loved. If I had not been facing her I would have thought it was me talking. I too LOVE giving gifts and spending time with people I love. I sat and mellowed in the conversation we had just shared...and thought about all the times I have spent holidays and special times with people I love and just what we did. My mom loved Christmas before Alzheimers set in. From the time I was a little girl we would do special Christmas events. A few of my favorites were:
- Making Christmas cookies. Mom and I baked iced Christmas sugar cookies each year. It was a time to talk and laugh and I loved it. The cookies would be for the mailman, the milkman, my teachers, and some friends and family. The year I was in 5th grade she bought me a Betty Crocker kids book and I made a drum cake for my teacher, Miss Reynolds. I loved her.
- After we put up the tree momma would go and get the wrapping stuff out and we would wrap all the gifts together! Sometimes she would make hot chocolate with the big marshmellows cut in half. We would see who could wrap the prettiest package. I usually won because I loved making bows....momma used sticky bows.
- We would feed friends and family for the holidays because most of us did not have family near by. My mom would make the turkey and stuffing and all those who attended would bring side dishes. This is a wonderful time to bond over tradition, family and yummy food. My mom always made the best stuffing.and homemade cranberry sauce. The food was always plentiful, the conversations jovial, and the love over-flowing.
- One of my family’s favorite parts of the holidays is the decorating. My dad was always in charge of decorations(inside and out) and I was his assistant. This was time for me to spend with my dad. He was a stickler over the placements of each bulb of light and each ornament.
- Before Christmas my mom would make me go through all my toys and donate them to Goodwill or needy children. Sometimes I wish I still had that first Barbie.
- Before each event during the holidays my mom, dad, and I would all join in and clean the house thoroughly so my mom could enjoy the holidays as much as everyone else. I have to admit that this was one of my least favorite parts of the holiday. I hate cleaning bathrooms.
- My mom was adament about sending hand written notes in each card we sent. She was also a big one of hand written thank you notes after the holidays. I loved sitting at the dining room table with her and either addressing, licking stamps/envelopes, or writing letters with her. She would make me keep a dictionary beside my cards so I could look up any unusual word. I was supposed to try and use a new word in every letter I wrote.
- My mom and I both loved giving homemade gifts. We would sew, cross-stitch, french handsew, candlewick....needlepoint, and bake. I loved creating with my mom when I was little. I still love giving homemade gifts and getting them. If there’s any artsy activity that you both do, sit down together—or get up and go—and get creative. It might even make good gifts for your other loved ones. To me homemade gifts are from the heart and say you took some time to do this.
I have to be honest. I miss being young at Christmas. I miss my mom and dad. I miss my children being young. In the past my family has always gotten together at Christmas....but now we are all too busy....the kids have kids and want to stay at home with them.....some of us have to work.....and Christmas, well it has just changed focus.