I have fond memories of Christmas. Sadly, I can't really remember one specific Christmas that stands out to me. What I DO remember is the feeling of the Christmas season.
*Every Christmas we would have a baking fest at least a few days before Christmas Eve. The house would be filled with the aroma of pies, cakes, and cookies. Christmas music would be playing on the radio and we would be busy decorating. On Christmas Eve (and sometimes Christmas Day) we would deliver all of the goodies to family and friends spreading holiday cheer. We kids would sit in the back of the truck, singing carols, counting all of the Christmas trees, and saying HI to the police officers at the different sobriety check points. Even the policemen would get cookies!
*Decorating the Christmas tree was always a fun ritual. We grew up with a fake tree but my mom grew mini pine trees and those would be decorated with mini Christmas ornaments and set outside. The main tree would usually be set up on my sister's birthday in early December and taken down on my brother's birthday in early January. Perfect timing for the holiday season.
*Christmas in the Pacific falls during the summer season so I grew up with green, warm Christmases. The day would be celebrated with either a barbeque, an 'umu, or going to the beach. When someone received a bike or some outdoor sports equipment, they could actually use it on Christmas day instead of waiting for warmer weather.
*Some years we would have special visitors from off island like family members coming home for the holidays. Those were especially fun because there would be a lot of visiting, excitement, and more swimming!
*The anticipation of Christmas funneled into Christmas morning. My mom's tradition of setting up chairs for each child with their gifts on them is something I have continued with my own children. Those chairs were not set up until Christmas Eve night after everyone was asleep because Santa had to deliver the gifts. When we woke up in the morning, we weren't allowed out of our rooms until Dad and Mom were in the living room. Only then could we come in and start opening presents. The excitement of Christmas morning is still with me today with my own kids. The look on their faces is priceless as they see what Santa brought.
Christmas memories are truly special! With my own children, I'm hoping to carry on the tradition of making those memories.
*Baking cookies for family and Santa. Santa gets his cookies with a Pepsi because these days, Santa is lactose intolerant.
*Setting up chairs for each girl on Christmas Eve night. A couple of Christmases ago we were staying at my mother-in-law's house and we were having a hard time not having our own home. I thought of how I could make Christmas special for my girls and decided to create a treasure hunt. When they woke up Christmas morning and went into the living room, they didn't see the chairs but saw a note from Santa. He sent them on this treasure hunt and by the time they returned to the living room, their gifts had appeared.
The similarities with all of the Christmases, both past and present, are that they are filled with family! No matter how difficult times are, there is always family to help make the day special. Add good food, laughter, and games, and that's what Christmas memories are all about!