Look Forward, Backward in December — Part IV — Merry Christmas!

Everyone talks about the “best Christmas ever.” That this year’s Christmas is better than last Christmas, which was better than the year before. It shows appreciation, but should we compare? Maybe. If you were to ask me, I don’t have a “best Christmas ever.” I have maybe my “top memorable Christmases” and a few “tough Christmases” I remember. Looking back to remember is important while appreciating the “now,” the present time, We can still look ahead to the future—with hope. #LookForwardBackwardinDecember #amwriting #MerryChristmas @donnalhsmith @a3writers TWEETABLE

My Top Christmases

I may not know the exact years, but there were some when I was a child that I remember—which could be a miracle, because most Christmases from childhood blend together.

I remember a couple of Christmases where I got the best toys I’d asked for. I got the board game I wanted, or maybe the doll. My Christmases growing up were fun and sweet. We had a Christmas Eve tradition of hamburgers for an early supper, around 5:00 p.m., because we were going to have snacks after opening Christmas presents later.

The family “program” was to sing Christmas carols (especially after we got a piano), read the Christmas story aloud from Matthew and Luke, then open presents. My grandparents joined us for the evening, and sometimes, my Grammy Whitwam, Mom’s mom.

I can remember being taught by Mom that it wasn’t how many presents were under the tree, even though Nana would always exclaim “Look at all the presents!” She loved seeing many presents. I suspect it was because she didn’t have a lot growing up, and this sign of abundance was a blessing to her, I think. Mom would always counteract that (she didn’t grow up with wealth either but wanted to make sure I didn’t feel I “needed” all that.)

In 1987, Kirby and I spent our first Christmas together. We’d been married 20 days. I spent Christmas with his family for the first time, while Mom went to California to be with my brother.

Our first Christmas in our “new” house (16 years ago), it snowed about six to eight inches. But it was cozy with Mom here (she’d been living with us since 1999 at that point), and Kirby’s dad and companion Esther made it a cozy dinner. Maybe friends came, because Dale had a pickup truck.

Tough Christmases

When I was six, I had the chicken pox over Christmas. Oh, was I sick! I just remember being miserable over Christmas. Everyone sitting at the table snacking after presents, and me on the family room couch trying not to scratch. Nana was properly sympathetic and comforting.

Christmas 1982 was the first Christmas after Dad died. I went home to be with Mom, Nana, & Poppop. We were sentimental about Dad. It wasn’t the same. We actually had Christmas at Nana & Poppop’s, especially since, I don’t remember Mom putting a tree up that year, and we’d gotten Nana a microwave because Dad wanted her to have one.

I remember in the early 90s, when I was sick over Christmas, and Kirby spent a lot of the day with his family. But, when he finally got home, hed’ brought me home some food. I stayed home and watched television all day.

Christmas 2005 was difficult, because that was the first Christmas after Mom died. Our friends decided to have Christmas somewhere else, and I got angry. It was a few years before our friendship was restored, and I credit my friend Darla for that. She had better character than I did.

Current Christmases

Christmas is a laidback affair at our house. Sometimes friends come over later in the day, sometimes we go to friends later in the day.

For Christmas 2012, I started a new tradition of making a pot of chili. 2012 was my father-in-law’s last Christmas, and he was in a home. We weren’t in time to get tickets to have Christmas dinner with him, so I made a pot of chili. We were able to watch him eat his Christmas dinner, and the home was generous and let us have a piece of pie for dessert.

I’m looking forward to watching “When Calls the Heart” Christmas special. I’ve also DVRed “Meet Me in St. Louis” and “Babes in Toyland” in case I need something Christmas-ey to watch that’s not a Hallmark romance.

And of course, I’m making a pot of chili.

Whatever you’re doing today, I hope you’ll stop to think about past Christmases, appreciate the day, no matter what it brings, and look forward to next year. We never know what life will bring us. Appreciate the day. Remember the past. Look forward to tomorrow. #LookForwardBackwardinDecember #amwriting #MerryChristmas @donnalhsmith @a3writers TWEETABLE

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