They say that copying someone is the biggest form of flattery. Well, let the flattering begin! My dear friend writes a blog that I really enjoy. She has been telling stories of her family's Christmas memories over the years. You can stroll on over and visit her if you like. Just click here and get you a warm cup of tea or coffee and settle in for some great reading. Reading her blog is like sitting and having a heart to heart conversation with a great friend. (which she is!) So in honor of my sweet friend, I will share some of my own memories.
I love hearing about what other people do for holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas. Everyone has their own family traditions that make special days "complete" in their minds. I usually spend part of one class period at the end of school before Christmas break having the students share something about their family's traditions. It is so much fun to listen to them get excited about the smallest things! Isn't it really the little things that mean the most?
My Dad is a minister and therefore our family was always extremely busy during the weeks leading up to Christmas. Christmas music rehearsals, Hanging of the Green, children's choir programs at church, handbells, the Singing Christmas Tree, and of course the Christmas Eve service. My Dad always planned the Christmas Eve service. Our extended family lived in Alabama and we were in Florida. While my grandparents were living we would travel to Alabama for Christmas some years. We would finish the Christmas Eve service and head home to have my Mother's chili. We would eat chili and crackers every Christmas Eve. After that my brother and I would go to bed and around midnight they would come and transfer us to the car for the all night drive. My Dad would drive all night and my brother and I would fight over who got to sleep across the back seat and who had to sleep in the floorboard of the Oldsmobile. With not having to wear seat belts, sleeping on all night trips was pretty easy. When we woke up the next morning we would stop for some breakfast and then finish the drive and arrive by lunchtime. Somehow Santa always found us at our grandparents' house. It always amazed me.
One year I remember the usual chaos approaching Christmas. I remember having to pack the suitcases and get everything ready for the trip. As we got older we were responsible for packing our own suitcases. This one particular year my Dad was pushing us to leave on time and wanted to get on the road immediately after the Christmas Eve service was over. "Are you suitcases packed?" "Do you have everything you need?" "Is it ready to go in the car?" We heard these questions over and over again. The last statement will forever ring in my ears. I believe it went something like this...
"If you don't have it when you get up there, we are not buying it! You will just do without!"
We made the journey and arrived in Alabama. The next day we were supposed to have a family portrait taken with all the cousins, aunts, uncles and my grandparents. We went to get dressed for the picture when I heard my parents discussing something quite loudly in the next room. Apparently my Dad had reminded everyone to pack their suitcases....but forgot to pack his own. He had no clothes but the clothes on his back. At least that's the way I remember it. Nice children would have sat silently and never commented on the irony of the situation....but we had too much fun saying...."If you don't have it....we are not buying it!"
Every time we look at that family portrait and see the shirt my Dad had to go out and buy for the picture we tell the story over and over again. It never gets old!
And to this day...my favorite saying is....
"If we don't have it when we get there.....we'll just buy it!"