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Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Passing Down The Christmas Spirit - Part 1

I think we've pretty much established that I love to decorate our home for Christmas. Some people look at it as a chore, some look at it as an expectation, and others choose not to do anything it at all. For me, it is a joy. (Not to say that I wasn't exhausted the other day when I was all done.) but I love doing it, I really do.

I also love to Christmas shop (although I am VERY behind this year.) I love to buy thoughtful gifts for people. I try really hard not to buy something for someone just for the sake of giving them a gift. I love to give gifts that are thought out based on what I know somebody really wants or needs.

I've said before that my parents always made Christmas special for us. From the tree to the decorations to the gifts to special times together with family and a kid, it was a magical time. I have wonderful memories of Christmases past. 

Over the years I've also realized that a lot of how I feel about the celebration of Christmas was passed down to me from my Gramma. (Yes, I know that's not how you spell it, but that's what she was. Not Grandma or Grandmaw....just my Gramma.)

She loved Christmas! It would actually all begin on Thanksgiving day. By then she had received the Sears and J.C. Penney Christmas catalogs in the mail. It was a given that we would write out a wish list for her to shop from. So my sister and I would pour over the catalogs and make our pages, circling toys we hoped for, writing down sizes. Then we would have to explain our list to Gramma, so she knew EXACTLY what she was looking for when she went to the store. We didn't have extravagant Christmases. We didn't get everything on the list. But what we received from our grandparents came directly from those lists we made because Gramma knew it was our hearts desire (at least for that year anyways) and she loved to make us feel special.

(I'm sure my mom has lots of pictures of Christmases past with Gramma, but this is the only one I could find that I had. It made me laugh though because this was so typical. Gramma was down on the floor, making sure all the grandchildren's gifts were passed out.)

And the house would be decorated too. Usually it was the same decorations that were pulled out, including the many ceramic figures that Gramma had painted. There was a Santa that played "Jingle Bells," and a set of carolers, amongst others. Every year she would buy a new ornament or two to add to the tree. Part of the tradition was that when we arrived at their house we had search the tree to find the new ornaments for that year.
She also did a lot of baking and  bought lots of candy for Christmas. It was also tradition that on Christmas Day, it was my and my sisters job to arrange all the cookies and candy in special Christmas dishes that she had also painted in ceramics class. Maybe that is why I love Christmas dishes so much.

We would have a big Christmas meal and the main dish was roast beef. Always. (And I've discovered over the years, that is not common.)  Gramma would send Grampa to the meat market (not the big chain grocery store) ....where they knew the butchers by buy the roast for Christmas.

We had a lot of traditions and it was always very special. Gramma put her heart into  every detail. She passed down her spirit of Christmas to everyone in our family. I miss her often, but never so much as at Christmastime.

And so I do what I do at Christmas, not to try to impress anyone or because I feel like I have to. I do it because I love my family. I was given a great gift from my parents and grandparents and I hope that someday my children will realize that I passed the Christmas spirit on to them as well.
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- Jill


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