Posted by: angelnorman | December 16, 2008

Christmas memories are irreplaceable.

When I think of Christmas, I think of my family gathering around my grandmother’s piano and singing carols, my cousins and I asking for permission to walk down the road to stand in awe of the most wonderfully lit up house we’d ever seen, and finding a good spot in the 4×5 hallway (if that) near my cousins to open presents. I think of tinsel on the Christmas tree… finding my picture in an ornament on the “grandkid tree”, and then locating the pictures of my father in the main tree in Nanny’s living room. I think of french vanilla creamer and coffee almost as white as snow. I think of A Christmas Story and football and something yummy that my Uncle Bill cooked, like the Christmas goose or something else as wonderfully spectacular. That was Christmas with my dad’s family.

I also think of my Granny’s tiny house being filled with noisy people all laughing and smiling, and the year I was finally asked to read the Christmas story while everyone in the entire family listened. I remember my cousins always filming random things, like the time my cousin Scotty went into Granny’s bathroom and filmed the toilet flushing as the “intro” to the family Christmas gathering video. I remember the exact layout of the room on some of those Christmases. I remember Granny’s tree. I remember opening presents there and thanking everyone.

I was so fortunate to have two wonderful sets of grandparents that we visited on Christmas. Truth be told, I remember more about visiting their homes on Christmas Eve than I do about any Christmas morning with my parents ever. I was thinking of this the other night because I was contemplating whether or not Mike and I should make this our last year that we go to every individual home and visit with family. It’s very hard to fit everyone in to those two days being that we have 4 sets of families to visit, excluding my step-relatives who we usually see only at the Christmas breakfast, and feelings are always hurt between the grandparents because someone is always forced to have their Christmas celebration a week earlier. For the first 5 years Mike and I were married or living together, it was my mom who was forced into an early celebration. The past couple of years, it’s been Mike’s parents who have had their Christmas celebration a week before Christmas, and it leaves them with no visitors and nothing to do on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. That bothers me. It makes me ache for them, a little… and so I was thinking that maybe I’d have everyone who wanted to see us here on Christmas Day. That way, I could make my own traditions, still visit with whatever family was willing to show, and cut out the stress on us.

But then I thought, Well heck. What if my parents had done that? What if they had demanded their parents come to our house to see my gifts and decided not to visit with the family? I wouldn’t have those same wonderful/borderline silly memories of Christmas that I have with my cousins, with my aunts and uncles. I might have different wonderful memories of being with my parents, sure, but I wouldn’t want to trade the memories I have now for anything in the world– not even for more memories of say, baking cookies with my mom or picking out a tree with my dad (I never did those things; I’m just sayin’). I mean, my memories of being with my *whole* family on Christmas Eve are all I really have of Christmas AT ALL, outside of a few vague memories of Christmas morning at each of my parents’ homes.

Who am I to take that away from my son? After all, Nicholas is blessed with 7 grandparents, 3 great-grandparents, a boatload of aunts and uncles as well as half a dozen cousins, tons of great-aunts and uncles, and several dozen second and third cousins all who want to see him. He’s not going to remember every little thing about Christmas with these people, but he will remember some of it and fondly, I’m sure.

Perhaps he will remember gathering with his cousins in Meemaw’s floor and trying to check out everything he got amidst a whir of wrapping paper and thank you’s. Or maybe he will remember going to Gran’s and playing with Aunt Courtney and Uncle Juan. Perhaps he’ll have fond memories of seeing Papa Joey and playing with Uncle Micah and Uncle Joseph at Nanny Dot’s house. Maybe he will remember the way Gran’s food tasted, the way Gran and G-Diddy’s and/or Grandpa and Grandma’s tree looked, playing with Grandma and Grandpa’s dancing snowmen, and he’ll for sure remember watching the ice skaters Grandma lets him turn on every year because those are his favorite things. And hopefully he’ll remember some of the same things I do– singing Christmas carols around my Nanny’s piano while my Aunt Vicki plays (we still do it! we did that just last year, in fact) and eating Uncle Bill’s Christmas goose while watching Ralphie decode the secret message on the tv in the den.

Most importantly, he’ll remember special things all his own because that’s how it works. Sure I can go out of my way to make every Christmas morning memorable with loads of gifts, but ultimately it’ll be Nicholas who defines what Christmas means to him, just like it’s *I* who defined Christmas for myself as a time where we saw and celebrated our love for our entire family because that’s just what we did. And that’s what I want for him too, really.

I don’t care how much stress it costs me, I can’t imagine a life without those memories and I certainly wouldn’t want to try and replace that with anything for Nick. Christmas, if nothing else, is a time to remember and honor love– firstly God’s love, and then your mom’s love, your dad’s love, your MIL’s love, etc. Whatever love you’ve received should be honored. And sure, Mike and I could do that here but it’d just be us and a bunch of reluctant grandparents who honestly didn’t want to make the trip to our house and who are miffed that we had passed up their festivities to stay at home all boring-like… and where would the fun be in that? Ha!

All I know is that I couldn’t give any of it up, no matter how often I’ve dreamed of staying in my pj’s on Christmas Day.


I am so super excited about Christmas. Can ya tell?



  1. Just come on over in your pj’s to our house that night. We don’t care how you are dressed we just want to spend time with you. That is what it is about. Well the Lord Jesus first and then spending time and making memories with your family. We can play some games. I wish we could get Wii. lol!!!

    I love you!


  2. Yes, pajamas will be worn. No doubt about that. 😛

    Want me to bring our Wii? I totally will if you want.

    I love you too!

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