Christmas Memories

Christmas Memories

"Have a holly jolly Christmas!"
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As a little girl, I loved Christmas. Christmas meant that our house was going to be decorated from top to bottom and that Christmas music would be playing 24/7 in the house and in the car. It also meant that there would be two weeks of winter vacation. The day after Thanksgiving was always the day that decorating and holiday festivities began. We had an entire half of our attic just dedicated to Christmas stuff.

Every year, we went to a Christmas play/musical put on by our family friends' church called 'Glorious Christmas Nights.' If you're from Richmond, you probably know what I'm talking about. The play always put all of us in the Christmas spirit.

My mom was the Christmas fanatic. We had a fake tree we put up in our sunroom. That tree had the non-breakable ornaments on it, which was important because our two cats would attack the tree and the tree skirt every year. We would sometimes have a train going around it. There was always a little Christmas scene on top of the piano. In our family room, my mom decorated the mantel with a wreath, our stockings, and little Christmas trees. Even the dog and the two cats had their own stockings. Then, in the living room was our live tree. We went to the YMCA or The Great Big Greenhouse to get our tree every year. I always wished we could get one of the really tall trees, but we had to settle on a 6' or 7' tree. It was always the best night ever when we turned the Christmas music on and decorated the tree. We had about three or four 'Baby's First Christmas' ornaments. By the way, I was an only child at the time. My mom always insisted that we put an ornament I made in kindergarten on the tree. It was a purple, paper mache ball that had a gold bow on the top. It was definitely not a pretty ornament, especially because when I popped the balloon on the inside, it broke part of the ornament. The smell of the Christmas tree would waft throughout the entire house.

Every Christmas Eve, my grandparents, my mom, dad, and I would watch the Celtic Women sing on T.V. I was never very interested in it, and just wanted to fall asleep. I usually did on my grandmother's lap.

The best Christmas ever was when I walked downstairs on Christmas morning and saw a brand new bike sitting there from Santa. That was the number one thing on my wish list that year.

Every year, my grandmother and I would make homemade "candy canes." Now these weren't the typical hard, peppermint candy we all know and love. No, these were way better. They were mashed up cranberries, bits of orange peel, grinned up pecans, and apple juice all wrapped in homemade dough. Then, we would form them in the shape of a traditional candy cane. One year my grandmother had made three or four dozen of these before they came into town, and my dog being the foodie she was and still is, jumped up on the counter and ate about ten of them. Every Christmas morning, we ate the candy canes, banana bread made by my dad, and German Stollen from the bakery downtown.

The first thing we would do was go into the family room and unpack our stockings. The cookies we made for Santa would be all gone and he would write me a letter back from the one I wrote him the night before.

After stockings, we moved into the living room where we opened our Christmas presents one by one. It usually took close to two hours because my family had to completely analyze each gift. I was guilty of this too. I wanted to rip the Barbie out of the box immediately and play with her. I wanted to charge my Nintendo GameBoy to play my new game.

To this day, I love Christmas very much, but my favorite days are the days leading up to Christmas where all the stores are playing Christmas music, all of the Christmas movies are playing all day, the malls are all decorated for Christmas with the enormous Christmas trees, the weather is getting colder, and holiday cheer is being spread every where. That's Christmas to me.

Cover Image Credit: Crazy Frankenstein

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To That One Friend Who Deserves The World

Since I can't give you the world, I hope giving you this article is enough.
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My wonderful friend,

You deserve love.

You deserve to marry your best friend.

You deserve appreciation.

You deserve that no matter who comes in and out of your life, every selfless thing you do for someone is acknowledged.

Have Your Voice Heard: Become an Odyssey Creator

You deserve kindness.

You deserve to have the nicest people in the world surround you all of the time.

You deserve support.

You deserve to have someone there for you at the beginning of every good day and at the end of every bad one, to have someone who wants to fix all of your problems.

You deserve hope.

You deserve to always be optimistic.

You deserve laughter.

You deserve to never stop smiling and actually mean it every time you do.

You deserve forgiveness.

You deserve to be able to be given second chances because without a doubt you are worth it.

You deserve friendship.

You deserve to have a friend who can be just as good of a friend as you are.

You deserve honesty.

You deserve to always be told the truth.

You deserve motivation.

You deserve to never want to give up and always push yourself.

You deserve success.

You deserve to have everything you have worked so hard for.

You deserve faith.

You deserve to always know it will get better.

You deserve loyalty.

You deserve to have that one person who will never leave and always be there for you.

You deserve happiness.

You deserve to be genuinely content with your life.

You deserve the world.

If I could give it to you, I would.

Yes, life gets tough sometimes. The unthinkable happens and your world feels like it is crashing down but you can get past all of this.

Thank you for being so selfless. It amazes me how you do it sometimes, but thank you for always making everyone your main priority when they need you.

I know I may not say it enough, but truly thank you for all you do for me. I don’t always know how to show how much someone means to me, especially when it is someone as great as you because I don’t know what I did to deserve you, but thank you.

I love you.

Cover Image Credit: Liz Spence

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To The Stressed Out College Student, Be Optimistic For Spring Quarter

I am looking forward to a productive spring quarter.

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As a strenuous ten weeks of winter quarter is finally coming to a close, there is no better feeling than to be rewarded with a week of spring break. For most colleges and universities, this period of time is one of excitement and relief, as students approach a summer vacation that begins in May. Yet, for students with schedules revolving around the lovable (and often hatable) quarter system, it feels as though summer is far from our reach.

On a personal note, my previous ten weeks of classes have been bearable at best. I can proudly say that I have been counting down the days until spring break since our winter quarter began in January, though now that the week is finally approaching, I am reminded by the fact that I have yet another ten weeks of school in the near future. Interestingly enough, I have not started the countdown to June 18th quite yet. Instead, I am looking forward to a productive spring quarter that will leave me feeling energized and accomplished as I enter into a fresh summer.

I believe that the spring quarter withholds a sense of refreshment and newfound energy in comparison to that of fall and winter. Though students on the quarter system will end classes later than others, there is something to be said for spending days on campus when the warm weather finally breaks. Time seems to pass faster than it did in the dark and ominous weeks of winter quarter, and everyone seems to have a more positive attitude - as we can all see that vacation is approaching.

To the stressed out college student, be optimistic for spring quarter. Though tests and finals will still be ever-present, the completion of another ten weeks of classes is excellent motivation to achieve success and reward yourself within the coming months.

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