Anyone out there remember the Sears Toy Catalog? Oh my goodness, I would wait by the window for our mailman each day and practically pounce on him before he could even reach into his bag for our goods. I would snuggle under our festively lit Christmas tree and mark all the pages with the toys I hoped Santa would deliver. It was so hard to choose which doll I wanted each year. There were the ones that came with bottles and strollers; crying babies; drinking and wetting babies; long – haired babies who were begging for me to braid their golden locks right from the page . . .
How about the decorations you had in your childhood home? Did you have any favorites? I loved my mom’s nativity scene. She inherited it from her mom. I loved setting it up each year and holding the little Baby Jesus in my hands. I also loved our stockings. My mom hand knit all of them. Five children, two daughters-in-law, five grandchildren, and two great children later, she is still knitting everyone’s stocking. They are treasures for sure!
Do you have any family traditions at the holidays? My Grandmom always came to our house for dinner and sometimes we had a few neighbors who didn’t have family nearby. With four siblings, it was always a good time playing with our new toys, wearing a new outfit, and eating our homemade cookies. Bedtime was usually met with a new pair of pajamas and a stuffed animal to cuddle.
For New Year’s Day, a few relatives from my dad’s side of the family would come to our house and my mom always had “fancy snacks” out to celebrate with them. My dad was an amazing piano / organ player . . .he could play any tune requested by ear and we would all sing along. When my brother and I got older and we were each playing an instrument, we used to play along with him. We called ourselves Family VonSullivan 🙂 . Not nearly as talented as the VonTrapps, but we had fun!
I love thinking about all the ways my family made the holidays special when I was little. We didn’t have any grandiose traditions, but what we had worked for us and made us happy. My mom, especially, worked really hard to make this time of year magical for all of her children. It wasn’t about the huge piles of toys under our tree, but much more about the gathering of family, the welcoming of anyone who needed a warm and friendly place to celebrate, and most importantly, the remembering of the real reason for the season.
Whatever it is you do; whoever it is you celebrate with; however it is you build memories , please find the time to remember the true meaning of this joyful season. Please cherish the excitement of the young people around you. Please find a way to make this season special for someone who is struggling. Please make memories that will last a lifetime and make family members smile years from now, remembering how much fun it was just to be together.
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