What Are Your Christmas Memories?

New post, new holiday… the last couple weeks I have really been remembering a lot about this time of the year growing up. I realize now, as I’m sure many of us do, that I was so blessed. My mom was the bomb diggedy! She is and was the most amazing mother and woman. Holidays was her time. I look back and I’m amazed and so thankful for all she did.

The house had the aroma of Christmas, the tree, the baking, the wood burning in the fireplace… wow, I love those memories and how special that time was. My mom baked and baked and baked, we would spend days baking cookies and bars. Decorating cookies, man I looked forward to that all year. She would mix up all the colors for the icing and break out all the cool stuff to decorate the cookies and then set us free. She would decorate cookies with us and hers were always so elaborate. She broke out the toothpicks to really get the detail on those cookies. I cherished those cookies, I never wanted to eat them they looked so good! Of course they tasted amazing too, so I used to sneak as many as possible. It never stopped there though, she must have baked dozens of different kinds of cookies. I remember all the dough in the fridge waiting to be shaped and baked. Even after I grew up, moved out of the house, had a child… she still continued to do all the baking. To think of all the work it took to make all those goodies, it just amazes me.

Of course baking was just a part of the holidays, my mom was so crafty! She made ornaments and we all pitched in. I have all the ornaments on my tree and every time I decorate the tree, all those memories come flooding back. We would sit at the dining room table and she would teach us how to make these cool ornaments. We would be the pain in the ass kids and she would just keep going. I cherish all these beautifully crafted ornaments, the time she spent making them is so apparent in the detail.

My mother would put up the nativity scene with the christmas lights put up around them with all the angels and the sense of global awareness. Ornaments and angels from all around the world, recognizing the importance of the season. The time and effort that she would put into the decorating, I loved it and I miss it now. Of course, I didn’t appreciate the effort at the time as much as I do now that I have taken over all the decorations. Now she gets to enjoy the decorations that we put up in our home.

I remember being at home and she would go in her room and shut the door and tell us we couldn’t come in. They hardly ever closed the door, but we knew she was up to something in there and on Christmas morning all these beautifully wrapped gifts would be under the tree with our stockings full of goodies. Trying to figure out what was in the presents and getting to pick one present to open on Christmas Eve… brings such a great feeling of happiness.

These memories are so important as I attempt to instill the holiday feeling in my own home now. I am not even close to the holiday elf my mom was. She now sits back and enjoys the grandchildren during the holidays. It’s now time for us to carry the holiday traditions forward.

Growing up we used to always go to my grandparent’s house and hang out with the aunts and uncles and cousins. I loved those days! Driving down to L.A., the anticipation of getting to the house, unpacking the car late at night, tired as hell… but so excited to be there! My aunts and uncles and grandparents have passed now, I can’t imagine how difficult this must be for my cousins. It must be so different for my folks as well, different doesn’t mean bad, just different. I’m sure you understand what I am talking about.

We have created new traditions in my family since marriage and children. We always drive down Christmas Tree Lane in Palo Alto to see all the lights on the houses, we bake cookies with our best friends and the kids make crazy sugar cookies. Christmas Eve we go to our best friend’s house to celebrate with them and our Godchild, Christmas day we stay home (like we did growing up)… my brother and parents come over in the morning and the kids open their presents. The rest of the family comes over throughout the day and we eat and sleep all day. Thank God for the friends and family who continue to makeĀ  Christmas so wonderful. My own craftiness comes in the form of scrapbooking. I make calendars and put the best pictures from the year to create a memory from the previous year.

I thank you for giving me this opportunity to share my most cherished holiday memories with you. I hope you share yours with me.

Remember the reason for this season and I wish you all peace, no pain and happiness during this time.

Hugs to all of you (gentle ones of course)!

Tamiko