I thought about what I wanted to write as a Christmas
letter to all of you, and I realized that I was not fully
into the spirit of the season. As I went thru my reading
list, I came to Jennifer's The Country Mouse blog and
she wrote to us about her Christmas memories growing
up as a child in Kentucky. Well, by the time I was
finished reading, I had the true spirit of Christmas in
I have had the most incredible 7 months due to my
discovery of blogs and then beginning my own blog.
I have met people from all over the United States and
the world. Some people don't comment, that's ok if
they just read along and learn about new places and
new things. Some people comment on every post, and
some of you and I have become friends. Many of you
expressed such caring and thoughtfulness when we
had our trees come down in October. Many of you
sent such kind and beautiful comments and emails
when my daughter Ashley lost her second baby. The
outpouring of genuine kindness brought me to tears
of happiness. Some of you still send your prayers and
continue to ask how she is. I am humbled by your
thoughtfulness and my heart is filled with gratitude.
For anyone struggling this year with illness, physical
pain and limitations or emotional pain please read the
post below from Jennifer. If you are happy and feeling
blessed and pleased that you have done everything on
your list, please read it anyway. You can't feel too much
I am looking forward to reading along with all of you
on your journeys and continuing to write along with.
Merry Christmas, Primmies...
CHRISTMAS MEMORIES Link to original post on The Country Mouse
As many of you can probably relate to living in a rural area things are not always readily available when you need them.Well 40 + years ago living in this small town things really were hard to come by for most folks.There were only small mom and pop type of grocery stores and no big department stores either. Our big department store was a small Ben Franklin that went out of business many years ago.My dad and mom were farmers,mainly tobacco and a smallish dairy farm.We, like a lot of the area grew up in a time when you grew most of what you ate and I can remember momma making a lot of our clothes ,and thinking back I consider those the good old days.Christmas was always big at my house ,because through out the year there was not a lot of toys or gifts bought ,times were tough and it just did not happen .It was not that my family was poor but you just used your money for things that were more important .As a child I had all the necessities and had plenty of toys don't get me wrong .We were a happy family and always took joy out of the smaller things in life ... going on a picnic down by the creek ,playing ball out in the yard or on hot summer evenings just sitting out in the yard on a quilt looking up at the stars listening to momma and daddy talking about their day. Oops ! I started to ramble to much, now getting back to those Christmas memories.... At Christmas we always had the same tree ...it was daddy and momma's first tree.Wow, is it ever special,the lights screw directly into the end of the branches and momma has lots of the antique German glass ornaments.They were paper thin when I was a tiny thing so you can imagine how fragile that they are today.That tree is still the family tree ,it gives me such a warm fuzzy feeling when it goes up for the holidays. It was an old tree when they bought it at a second hand store.
As those of you that grew tobacco know ,December is usually the month that you sell your crop if you are blessed to have had just the right conditions to get it processed for market.Well daddy and momma usually managed to do just that and it meant that they could give their kids a big Christmas and that is what happened most years.They always managed to make our wishes come true,but it wasn't about the gifts it was about the winding down of all their hard work for the year and joy of sharing . Momma always cooked yummy things and cleaned the house till it was gleaming . When it came time for the tree to be trimmed, daddy would get the limbs straightened out and the bubble lights burning, then mom and all of us kids would gently hang the ornaments. Just seeing a bubble light today brings a smile to my face.
As I said earlier there were not any big grocery stores ,so soon after Thanksgiving there would be vendors sitting up tables usually on main street selling holiday fruit ,candies and such.My dad hardly ever went to town, he was content to stay at home and do his farming duties but at Christmas time you just knew he would be going to town .He and momma would go shopping and oh the treats they would bring home!One thing I can say about them ,they always treated us kids equally.They made sure that we each had a favorite fruit or candy by the time that they came home. My parents always bought a car load of fruit and candy, not just for us but so that when people dropped by house that they could send fruit and candy home with them ,they always shared what they had with others. I learned early on that Christmas was about giving not receiving.Our home was open to all at Christmas time.
Back when I was a child, Kentucky would get snow and lots of it, that doesn't seem to happen much these days.Some of my fondest Christmas memories are of us all bundling up late in the evening and going for car rides to look at Christmas lights .There was just something magical about being in the back seat of a car, with your brother and sisters on a cold winter's night watching for Christmas lights,squealing there are some..Daddy would dress our house and outside trees up with all kinds of lights and momma took care of the inside.It was such a special feeling then and even now as I wander down memory lane.
There is a memory of one particular Christmas morning that has always stood out in my mind.It is of me (probably 5 years old) sitting in the doorway of the kitchen coloring .I had opened up a new coloring book and one of those big boxes of crayons and momma was cooking breakfast.I can still feel the warm feeling of love I had sitting there watching momma cook for all of us .I was happy as a lark ,with just my crayons and book.See folks it is the little things that matter.Momma's smile that Christmas morning still warms my heart today.
As a child, a favorite Christmas treat was to have an orange fixed momma's special way.She would make a hole in the top of an orange with a knife and insert a stick of candy ,you know the old time sugar cane sticks, and we would use it like a straw to suck the orange juice from the orange. A triple treat in one ,a sweet stick of candy ,slurped orange juice and then the yummy orange. Looking back I wonder if she did that so that we wouldn't be so messy while peeling the orange.LOL! Can't say I would blame her with four kids in the house.
Christmas day was a day spent with the family at home.We would be up early, have breakfast ,open our gifts and always have a wrapping paper fight till we just about giggled out. Cleaning up the mess was never as much fun as making it.LOL! By the time we had that done momma would have our Christmas dinner ready, we all loved chicken and dumplings so you knew that along with the turkey and fixen's there was going to a big old pot of dumplings.I can still see daddy standing at the stove stirring the pot for momma.
To me this is what Christmas is about... the loving memories that families make together and the true reason... Jesus.It is not about driving yourself crazy to buy that one perfect gift or worrying yourself silly that someone is not going to like what you have bought.Don't misunderstand,Christmas is about being generous,caring and wanting to bring others happiness too but you don't have to spend money to do it.How about a homemade Christmas gift ,giving a hug, visiting someone that is house bound , and yes even a simple smile can make someone's life a lot brighter.I am not a scrooge and don't have a problem with gift giving ,in fact I love to do it but Christmas should not be such a stress on people.It has become far to commercialized in my eyes and thus a lot of people have lost that special Christmas joy.So I have said all that to say this ...let's enjoy the day for what it is really about ..our family , friends and Jesus!My family is missing one of it's key elements with Daddy being gone but I know that with my memories he is still enjoying the day with us.
To all my blogging friends ,I wish you the Merriest of Christmas's ! If you are traveling to be with family I pray that you have a safe and happy journey!Thanks for wandering down my lane of Christmas memories with me. God Bless You All! Hugs,Jen
Thank you, Jen for allowing me to reprint this lovely story.