Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Writing challenge: Christmas Activities

So, Amy's writing challenge today regards the activities that lead up to Christmas. The first thing to come to my mind is one year when our family visited The Spaghetti Factory at Trolley Square shortly after Christmas.

I think I remember this little trip because I have the aid of a picture that was taken of me, my mom and sisters in front of a little gazebo outside Trolley Square, as well as a few photos taken inside the restaurant. I must have been in first or second grade, and I remember I was holding up my doll that I had gotten for Christmas. I think that we may have visited Temple Square that day, but I can’t be certain. It was a tradition for us to eat at Spaghetti Factory; it seemed like we couldn’t visit Salt Lake without eating dinner there. It’s funny because the same round table where we ate dinner is still there, as is the gazebo. I thought of that picture this autumn when my mom and I walked right by it on our way to lunch at Trolley Square.

(Thanks to Amy for sending this picture to me!) There I am with Amy, Suzette, and my mom.

I also remember our cousin Christmas gatherings. These were always held on a Sunday before Christmas. I remember one year thinking, I’m going to keep my shoes on this year, and end up looking messy at the end of the party. I look back at that and laugh, because I see how my kids are when we return from family parties, all dirty and disheveled and hyperactive. I just thought I was a little rough, but I guess all kids are that way. What I remember most from these parties is opening presents (we drew names with our cousins) and sitting on Santa’s lap. I was convinced that our Santa was the REAL Santa because he was the same, year in and year out. It seems like he even remembered our names.

One year I found a list that my mom had written of what each of us had told Santa we wanted. It was my first clue that maybe Santa wasn’t real. I never intentionally snooped, but I did find Amy’s Cabbage Patch doll one year hidden in our junk room. I showed it to her, and then we carefully hid it back where we found it. When it showed up on Christmas morning, it was a big clue that the big man was really a blond lady. I kept up a rouse for years after that, however; I was a brat and figured I’d get more presents if I didn’t tell that I knew. And, to tell the truth, once I had told, most of the magic died away. One year, my mom would go in her bedroom, put a present in a box, and bring out the boxes to Amy and I to wrap. I think we even wrote our own names on the tag and put “From Santa.” Because of this, I don’t ever want to admit to my kids that Santa doesn’t exist. I think I will always “play” Santa for my kids. Even if they know, I will still try and make it magical for them.

I also want to resolve to make some activities that my kids will remember doing during the holidays. Even if it is just making a gingerbread house, I want them to have something that they remember doing that MEANS Christmas to them.


Lucy said...

I know what you mean about the traditions and memories. When I stress about it, though, I remember my own pleasant feelings towards the holiday, and when it comes down to it, the traditions and memories vary from year to year. The most solid of them all is my dad simply reading the Christmas story on Christmas Eve while our living room was lit solely by candles and after the story, we'd sit around and sing as many carols as we can think of. That simple.

So, when I feel the "I'm not doing enough" plague of doubt enter my mind, especially when I talk and hear about others' traditions, I know that no matter what we do, as long as we keep Christ as the center, our own children will have the memories they deserve.