One of my favorite Christmas memories was in the mountains of Colorado when all the kids were still young. We stayed in a condo nearly above the tree line in Summit County and experienced as white a Christmas as one can experience. We did it all. We built a snowman, took a sleigh ride in the snow singing Christmas carols, went skiing on the slopes, ice skated on Keystone Lake at night under the Christmas lights, and enjoyed a Fondue dinner with German music and dancing at over 11,000 feet which you could only get to by gondola. Lastly but most importantly, we attended a Christmas Eve Service in a log cabin church. It was such a special time with the family!
My favorite Christmas memory was spending Christmas in Kauai. Most people want white snow and cold on Christmas, but I was more than happy having white sand and sun. We had an amazing buffet that morning at a nearby hotel and spent the rest of the day playing in the sun and surf and exploring the island. One of these days, I will make it back to Hawaii for a white sand Christmas!
I am right there with Jenna when it comes to my favorite Christmas memory. I loved being able to spend Christmas in Hawaii with Bob and all of the girls. I made a traditional Christmas dinner like my mom used to make for my brother and me. That was one of the last vacations that we had together as a family. I think we all agree that this was one of our best family memories, so that must be a clue that it’s time to go back.
I enjoyed going to my grandparents house in Kansas, sitting around a table enjoying delicious homemade dishes and desserts, opening presents of handmade wooden toys from my grandfather, playing football out in the backyard, listening to my crazy uncles harassing each other and my grandfather telling stories.
My favorite memory is getting together as a family at my parents’ house on Christmas Eve. My mom would always go all out decorating the house, the tree and the nativity scene on the mantel. We enjoyed a great meal which traditionally included King Ranch Chicken casserole, tamales and my Mom’s fresh fruit salad and then we would open gifts. We were a little uncivilized about it and we would all open our gifts at once. It was a madhouse.
Most years included a trip to midnight mass to top off the evening and celebrate the birth of our Savior. My mom worked hard at making everything as nice as she could for her family. She put a lot of herself into it. This was how she showed her love. She passed on that gift to me and I am extremely grateful. Mom passed away this year after a long battle with dementia. I will miss her.
When I was about eight, my three sisters and I woke up Christmas morning and went to check out the Christmas tree only to find one lonely, small, package underneath. We opened the gift with my parents and found inside— an aquarium pump. While we were getting over the shock of only receiving an aquarium pump to share, my dad started pulling gifts from under the couch and other hiding places. My dad’s playful sense of humor made that morning one we’ll never forget!
Presents are always fun to open, but the trash from the wrapping paper piles up really quickly. My family made a game out of it by using a trash bag as a basketball hoop and seeing if we could make it from across the living room. I was usually the one who passed out gifts from under the tree so I also got to hold the hoop. This way, were were able to keep the fun going and save ourselves from having to clean up after all of the presents had been finished off.
When Janet and I were first married, we were both in school and did not even have two quarters to rub together. We purchased gifts for our immediate family, paid our bills, and wished we could afford a Christmas tree, but there were not enough funds. One afternoon, the Holy Spirit gave me an idea about a Christmas tree. He reminded me of a an old short wooden step ladder, and a box of Christmas decorations with lights, ornaments, and a stained glass tree topper. Using these materials and green crepe paper I transformed the ladder into a Christmas tree. When Janet got home from work and walked through the front door, she lit up like a small child with the Joy of Christmas in her eyes and smile. To me, that homespun Christmas tree reminds me of another Gift wrapped in a manger all decorated in an eternal display of God the Father’s best gift, His Son Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.