Reading all the wonderful stories in the comments on Wednesday’s Christmas Memories post was inspiring and heartwarming. Truly, there were so many beautiful sentiments shared, that there had to be more than one winner. These stories illustrate the warmth of family and the resilience of our spirit, perfect for these times. I’ll reprint the winners here, but I also encourage you to go back and read them all. Especially if you need a lift. Our holiday spirit is indomitable, even in today’s world.
First, from Carolyn – “My grandparents often hosted Christmas at their 100+ year old farmhouse in Michigan’s snow belt. One year our family arrived early on Christmas Eve day as we had to travel out from Chicago and more snow was predicted for later that night. ( Many a year Grandpa would have to plow out the long, sandy driveway and pull our car out of the drifts so we could reach the house.)
There was definitely a different feel to the house that year: too quiet, empty cookie jar, no good cooking smells, no greetings at the back door. Oh, my grandparents were there, smiles on their faces, sitting in their favorite chairs with presents sitting on another. But, not a sign of tree or any other Christmas decor, no baking or cooking smells, just quiet. My grandparents had been ill, were recovering and had done all they could; but there was such sadness in that house.
My family went into overdrive, Mom in the kitchen-baking pans out, Dad emptying out the car, shoveling out the walkways, my sister and I left for the woods. We gathered evergreen branches, ivy, even a scruffy little tree. Back we came to decorate the mantle, tables and, yes, even that “tree”. All presents could now claim their rightful place under it. We pulled out every Christmas decoration we could find and used every bit to fill that old house, and all of a sudden, there was laughter, movement, hot chocolate, coffee brewing, cookies baking, good cheer, Christmas was here!”
From Linda – “Fun to sit here recalling memories that your blog sparked! Some of my best ones involve my grandparents who lived in Garret County Maryland. One year we left the DC area as a family to drive up to their farm for Christmas, but the weather turned to snow. This was 60 years ago approx. No interstates, just Hwy 50. We were one of the last cars the police let start up a significant mountain, and my dad had put chains on the tires just before we started the grade. Remember that? We did fine, but it was slow going. When we were within 1 mile of the farm, following the snow plow, the snow plow went up 219 instead of continuing on 50, and there was a wall of snow. Fortunately, the church my grandparents attended was right there at the intersection, it was unlocked, and we went in. My Dad had to start the furnace in the basement and I can still recall that smell. Soon there was a tractor trailer in the same plight, and three young men came into the church with us. We spent the night there together, and in the morning sometime we heard the snow plow going down the highway past my grandparents driveway. We had to park across the street because the driveway was drifted so high that when we tried walking up the drive, my younger brother was completely out of sight in a hole. We trudged through, and the three young men came with us and we all had a wonderful breakfast of buckwheat cakes and sausages and were so thankful we arrived safely!”
Be safe this year. Although we really cannot have the same kind of holiday we have had in the past, it is only going to be this one year. We are having a Zoom Christmas to keep my mother in law safe. Even though we believe that we are not carrying covid, it isn’t worth the risk. Our spirit will carry us through, and soon we will be back to sharing hugs, having dinners together, gathering for parties, and enjoying our lives again. Merry Christmas!!