I haven’t done a list of 25 in a while. How about a list of 25 Christmas memories? Yeah, I thought you might like that. If nothing else, there will be some funny stories about Jay and Mom.
1. I was in college before my mother asked if she could please put the gifts out before Christmas night so that she wouldn’t have to wait until we were asleep to do so. I hate being an adult.
2. One late night before Christmas when I was about, oh I don’t know 10 or so, my parents’ good friends and their 3 kids came over really late—like I was in bed late. The eldest son, Tommy, *sigh* came into my room and got a board game out for us to play while Jay and the other two kids were in the playroom. That was a pretty romantic night for me. I didn’t quite know why or how, but I knew it was.
3. That same night, the middle son, who was my age and mean spirited, kept telling his little sister that there wasn’t a Santa Claus and we kept telling her there was.
4. Our first Christmas after Dad left, Mom, Jay, and I painted wooden ornaments for the Christmas tree. We sat at the dining room table, and I wished that I was as good at painting them as my mom was. I still have many of those ornaments, and they are on my tree right now.
5. We couldn’t wait to get the Sears Christmas catalogue so we could circle all the things we wanted for Christmas. I circled a lot of things.
6. The first Christmas that we couldn’t go home and no one could come visit, we were in upstate New York and a little homesick. On Christmas Eve, Al and I went to see A Muppet Christmas Carol. When we came out it was dusk and snowing. It was so beautiful and hadn’t made the roads slick yet, so we drove around and looked at Christmas lights. Is it any wonder I love that movie?
7. Jay and I always searched the house for our Christmas presents once we realized who Santa really was and usually found them. They were usually in Mom's bedroom closet.
8. My Nana Ruby (Mom’s mom) caught me trying to peek into Mom’s closet when I young.
9. One of my favorite gifts was a Baby Alive doll. She was so cool because she ate and pooped, like a real baby. But it wasn’t so cool when I asked Mom to buy some diapers for my doll.
10. Mom would start taking down the Christmas decorations the day after Christmas, sometimes even starting that night. I thought that was very sad and too soon to be putting everything away. I think that’s why I leave mine up until after New Years.
11. I actually asked for and got an autoharp for Christmas one year. Our music teacher used one and I thought it was very cool. Did I mention I was very young and didn’t know better?
12. My Nana Creta used to give my cousin and me the same thing for Christmas, usually something she had made. I have a picture of us in matching tutus. Luckily, my cousin is a girl.
13. Jay would get so excited about Christmas that he would be sick on Christmas day and spend it sitting on Mom’s lap.
14. When we were little and our folks were still married, we always went to Yellville to my grandmother’s house on Christmas Day. I really loved that. But when my folks split up and Dad remarried, his new family (wife and 2 step-daughters) got to go instead. But I’m not bitter. (The hell I’m not.)
15. Mom and my dad’s family went out of their way to have a Christmas with us on a different day. They did the best they could with what they had.
16. Once my Dad passed away, all of a sudden we were invited/expected/wanted to come to Christmas. We did, but I just felt out of place.
17. When Al and I got married, my Mom told him that there was a law that you always go to the daughter’s mother’s house for Christmas. We did as often as we could, then because of his work schedule, it was easier for her to come visit us.
18. I enjoy having a full house at Christmas.
19. While living in San Antonio, we were part of a Mazda Miata driving club. Every Christmas we had a progressive dinner, and I always cooked either the main meal or the desserts. The last year we were there, we had over 40 people at our house.
20. It was warm enough to drive with the top down, so Al strung Christmas lights around the roll bar and wore a Santa’s hat while leading the 20 or so cars to our house. It was quite a sight to see.
21. When we were in Florida, we were members of an amazing church with a fantastic choir who stood in front of a stained-glass window. During their cantata, while they were singing “Mary Did You Know” and the song was building—The blind will see/The deaf will hear/The dead will live again…—the wind picked up and the shadow of the trees were whipping around behind them, also building with the music. Then, at the crescendo at the end of that verse, the wind stopped and the trees stood still as they quietly sang the last verse. It was heart-stopping.
22. When Al got me an engagement ring for Christmas, he gave me the clue that my gift acts like a clutch. I had never driven a standard and didn’t realize that a clutch engages the gears. Isn’t he clever?
23. The first year I shipped Christmas presents to Al’s family, I told him that if someone got a gift, I didn’t send that person a Christmas card. Therefore, his extended family got cards and immediate family got gifts. His grandmother was pissed that I didn’t send her a Christmas card. Now, cards for everyone!
24 While Granny (Al’s grandmother) was alive, I always sent fudge because she loved it. After her first mild stroke, she was starting to have trouble talking and getting around, but I was still sending the fudge. One Christmas, my mother-in-law said she got over to Granny’s house and she had chocolate all over her mouth and said, “Kelley sent candy” just as clear as day. I wish I had been there for that.
25. I send out over 50 Christmas cards every year. I’m blessed with many wonderful people in my life.