With Christmas quickly approaching (only 4 more days!), I find myself thinking more and more about what I love about this time of the year. The memories I have collected over the years are priceless, but there are a few very specific memories that make Christmas special for me.
As an adult, I notice each year how things evolve and change. How traditions shift to the new generations and how hard it is to let go of the traditions you held as a child and allow them to change with growing families. So, in honor of making and keeping memories at Christmas, I thought I would share with you for the next 4 days, some of my cherished memories from this wonderful season.
From the time I was a wee little one until later in my teenage years, Grandma Edith and Grandpa Horace (my mom's parents) would give each of us grandchildren a gift at Christmas. Since most of us were girls (except my poor brother who was the only boy for many years until he was joined in ranks by my youngest cousin "N") Grandma Edith and Grandpa Horace often got us all the same gift. We were all aware that our gifts were likely to be the similar and so when it came time to open them, we would count down and everyone would open their gifts at the same time. We were clever, weren't we? This way, we could avoid any "spoilers". We were always grateful for the gifts given to us by our grandparents. We knew they took lots of time to find the perfect gift that we would all love.
The truth is, I don't really remember many of the actual gifts they gave us over the years. Except one. The Birthstone Ornament. Grandma Edith loved the Christmas Season. After she passed away, Christmas was always very hard for my Grandpa and the entire family. We would get together and follow all of the same traditions from years past, then when we would sit down and Grandpa would read the Christmas story from the Bible, tears and sniffles would start. We were all missing Grandma Edith. But, for the years following Grandma's passing, Grandpa was always determined to keep up with the gift giving.
One year, we all happily opened our packages. This year the gifts were the same but also special, precious, and unique. You see, when each grandchild was born, Grandma and Grandpa had bought a Birthstone Ornament to hang on their tree. That year, Grandpa gave us each our ornaments. There was a note tucked inside the box....
"Dear Melissa, Grandma and I bought this ornament when you were born and each year we hung it on our tree, and later Grandma put all 8 of them on a ribbon and each year at Christmas we hung them on the hall clock. I want you to have it now and each year when you hang it on your tree, do as in memory of Grandma. Love Grandpa."
Now that Grandpa is no longer with us, each year I hang this ornament in memory of them both. Each year, I unfold the note, and admire Grandpa's words. The note tucked inside the box brings tears to my eyes every Christmas. Each year, I open the box and on the label, written by my Grandma the year I was born, is my name and birthday. Each year I hang this ornament on my tree and think of the precious memories I made with both of them. I always make sure to find the perfect spot, safely hung on a sturdy branch at the top of the tree.
Although this ornament sometimes makes me sad to think I wont spend another Christmas with Grandpa Horace and Grandma Edith, I cherish the happy memories it brings. And, every time I walk past my tree, the glittering red ornament catches my eye and makes me smile.