Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas, everyone!!

I'm thinking that it would be fun to do an entry to commemorate what a special day it is. However, since I decided that this afternoon, I've been wracking my brain to figure out precisely what said entry will be about and I've found it difficult to narrow down what topic I want to talk about. I guess that means I will write about several of them. This may be kind of random so just bear with me as I try to communicate what's in my head and heart on my blog.

First of all, one of the things Christmas means to me is family. Christmas is one of my most favorite times of the year for many reasons, but one of the top would be because I get to spend an extended period of time with my family. I used to anticipate Christmas break when I was in school and I still do now that I've graduated, even though I don't technically have a break since I work full time. It's the one time of year when I get to spend an extended period of time with my family.

This year is just a little bit sad because most of my siblings couldn't come for Christmas. We did get to all be together for Thanksgiving, which was great, but I sure do miss having them (especially the kids!) for Christmas. Plus, now that my parents, my brother and I are old and boring, it's fun to have little kids around on Christmas morning. They get so excited, and it just helps bring the magic of Christmas Day back again. It helps me to remember what it was like when we were all little kids and we couldn't wait to get up on Christmas morning (usually earlier than the 7 a.m. time frame my mom established) to find out what Santa had brought us. I just love being around my siblings, and since I have no children of my own, it's doubly special to be around their kids and get a small taste of what motherhood will be like someday. Plus, it's such a hard job but somebody's got to be the favorite aunt. . . Of all the things I am known for, that one's probably my favorite. The point of all this chatter is that Christmas, to me, is about family. I'm incredibly grateful for what a wonderful family I have and that we're so close to each other.

I was also thinking it would be fun to share some of my favorite Christmas Day memories. I'm going to narrow it to my top 5 because I know that given the chance, I could write something about many Christmases.

1) When I was 5, I found a little red spot on my behind on Christmas morning, but I didn't think much about it. I was a little kid after all. We had a fun day and it wasn't until that night, when my mom was putting me in the tub, that she discovered I was covered with little red spots, commonly known as chicken pox.

2) My mom set a rule that we were not allowed to open any presents, or wake her and dad up, before 7 a.m. However, that didn't mean my siblings and I couldn't sneak out into the living room to check things out before then. Every year my sister and I would make a "Christmas schedule" about waking up at 6 a.m., going out to the living room to see the presents, playing with the present we were allowed to open the night before and then waking our parents up on the stroke of 7 a.m.
One year we had asked Santa for a doll stroller, and we were delighted to discover that's exactly what we had received. We got up at our customary early hour of the morning and snuck into the living room. The strollers came assembled which I'm sure made them difficult to wrap so they were both covered with bags, my sister's with a paper sack and mine with plastic. My sister kept poking holes in hers and I kept lifting mine up so we could "preview" our gift before opening time.

3) In light of the fact that our family has grown so much, we decided to start doing a sibling exchange and only getting a gift for whichever sibling's name we had. My younger brother had my name. He knew that I wanted an iPod really badly, so he set out to make it a reality. With a little help from my parents (okay, let's be honest--a LOT of help from my parents), he was able to get one for me. He was so pleased with himself.
Part of the fun was for him to disguise his gift so I wouldn't have any clue what it was. He took the tiny little iPod box, and put it in about 8 other boxes, the one on the very outside of which was ginormous. He took great delight in watching as I went through each successive layer, only to discover yet another one beneath. The crowning moment was when I opened the final box and found my iPod. He even had it engraved so it says "Tammy's iPod" which I love. The gift means that much more to me since I know the love that went into it--and that it was accompanied by teasing.

4) One year when I was really little, my family went to my aunt's house in Sandy for Christmas. I have vague memories of the trip itself (I think I was under 5 at the time, judging by the photos we took) but I remember being so excited to spend Christmas with my cousins. That's part of why it's so touching to see my nieces and nephews now, because they love their cousins so much, just as we did at their age.

5) Two years ago, my brother had been on his mission for about four months when Christmas time rolled around. Of course one of the highlights of the day was the phone call with him. This call was especially memorable because it was the first time we'd talked to him since he went into the MTC (except for me since I made a little illegal trip to the airport to see him for the 10 minutes between the time when he came and when he had to go up the stairs and through security :) ) ,and we had such a wonderful conversation. I think he was pretty excited about his captive audience that was gobbling up every word he said about his experience in Paraguay. Who could have foreseen that almost two years later, my parents and I would have the chance to see it for ourselves?!

Anyway, I know this is a long post, and I should go now so I can help with the final dinner preparations. However, I hope everyone has had a delightful Christmas!!

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