Ah, Christmas Eve! The anticipation, excitement and FUN! Just knowing that SANTA is coming tonight! What a magical feeling! I think that most of you will agree that once we found out that Santa was not real, quite a bit of the magic went out of Christmas Eve.
I used to always beg mom to let me open JUST one present before Christmas morning. I finally wore her down and she agree to let me open ONE on Christmas Eve. It became a tradition.
On Christmas Day, after we had opened all of our presents, we would cross the highway in front of our house and go to my Grandpa & Grandma Burnette's home and open gifts with them. Then, we would load up the car and travel 20 miles to my Grandpa & Grandma Vaughn's house where all of my mom's brothers, sisters, and all of my cousins would have a wonderful dinner. My mom would allow me to take one of my new toys with me to show to my cousins.
I remember going to church on the Sunday morning that was closest to Christmas for the Christmas service. The church would make up little brown bags filled with candy, gum, and oranges to give to all of the kids. Some years we would have a special nighttime program where the kids would get to participate in acting out the Christmas story. I remember that one year I was an angel and my Grandma Burnette made me a beautiful white dress to wear. My mom made me wings out of cardboard covered in white paper and outlined in silver rope tinsel. My halo was also made from the tinsel. I loved it because I got to stand on a chair so that it would be like I was appearing in the sky.
As tonight approaches, I really cannot help but get a bit depressed. For me, Christmas is always a joyous occasion undershot with a healthy dose of melancholy. I know Santa does not exist, but one part of me still wants to REALLY believe that he does It just feels like there is SO much magic in the air! (If you want to believe too, you should read The Autobiography of Santa Claus by Jeff Guinn.)
I miss my family year round, but at Christmas time, it is especially difficult. This will be my 33rd year without my mom and my 11th without my dad. Even though I have shared the last 12 years with my wonderful and loving husband, there is still a big empty place that wishes to spend another holiday with those who knew me since I was a baby.
My husband and I started a tradition our first Christmas together. We always get a Christmas ornament with our names and the year engraved. There should be fourteen years worth of ornaments on the tree, but the one from 2007 is missing in action. I am pretty certain that it must be in this house SOMEWHERE, but I don't have a clue where! That year, I had the flu and pneumonia on Christmas Day and was admitted to the hospital the day after. I don't remember too much about opening presents or much of anything that year. The ornament got misplaced and it hasn't been seen since. I just know that one day, I will find it.
Here is this year's ornament:
I hope that you all have a beautiful Christmas. Be sure to hug the people that you love.