Sunday, September 15, 2013

Memories of Christmas

Gems of Reflection: #34
So, it seems like Christmas has been a major theme here on the blog lately, thanks to our random, little Gems posts. And I know it's only September, but I don't mind. Christmas was always one of my favorite holidays as a child, and it continues to be a truly magical time of year for me. Growing up, there was always so much excitement to look forward to, and I welcomed the season with open arms.  

For starters, we would go shopping every year (usually a few weeks before Christmas) for a beautiful, deliciously fragrant, REAL Christmas tree from one of the nearby lots. We'd bring it home and decorate it with lights, garland, and an array of ornaments and homemade decorations. We'd blast Christmas music and sing along as our family bonded over hot chocolate or egg nog, and memories of Christmases past.

Also, my great aunt, Helen, has thrown her annual Christmas party (since before I can remember) on the Saturday before Christmas at her house, where everyone comes together for a potluck and enjoys good company and great food. Some things we always anticipated with pleasure were her chicken soup and homemade biscuits. They were a staple at these parties, and we looked forward to indulging in these yummy, little delights from the turn of every season until the day the party arrived. We would always fill our bowls with her delicious mashed potatoes, and then would cover them with chicken soup. Oh man, it is making my mouth water just thinking about it. Her chicken soup is the best, and it's something I look forward to still.

As a tradition, she has also made dozens of shepherds cakes every year, which she wraps individually and gives to each family as a special gift from her. The kitchen counters were always covered in mountains of decadent desserts too: succulent pies, cakes, fudge, divinity, my mom's pumpkin rolls (another Christmas staple of my childhood), you name it. It was one of those events where one liked to pretend that calories didn't count for the day, for sure. Haha. But yes, some of my favorite Christmas memories are of Christmas parties at Aunt Helen's house. Good times.

Christmas around our house was always exciting too. During the holiday season, we'd often visit opportunity village. It was always so much fun walking through the magical forest, looking at all of the Christmas lights, while sipping on some yummy hot chocolate. Then, on Christmas Eve, we would make sugar cookies with frosting to leave for Santa. Afterward, we would drive around the neighborhood looking at Christmas lights, and would often return home to watch Christmas movies and drink egg nog. 

When Christmas morning arrived, we'd wake in anticipation at like 2:00 a.m. to see what Santa had brought us. My parents finally set a rule that we were not allowed to wake them up on Christmas morning until 6:00 a.m., so that they wouldn't be too drained throughout the day. It didn't hinder us from continuing to wake up so early every year though. We just started utilizing that time to sort gifts and start shaking presents from our pile, trying with wide eyes and energetic smiles to guess what was inside.

To this day, Christmas is one of my favorite holidays, and I hope to pass that magic on to my children as they grow and experience the wonderment of the holiday season.

Anyway, In the spirit of our "Christmas in September" theme, I just wanted to remind you all about the awesome giveaways happening over at All Things Purple this week in celebration of her third annual half-birthday. Today, she has a giveaway for an amethyst healing crystal. There is also still plenty of time to get in on the Blackmoore giveaway, and the giveaway for Cragbridge Hall, The Inventor's Secret. Good luck to all, but do not delay. You won't want to miss out on these awesome giveaways. :) 

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