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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10 Bible Verses For Thanksgiving

Psalm 34:1
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The Thanksgiving season is a time we spend with our loved ones giving thanks for the blessings we are given. Here are 20 Bible verses that remind us of what Thanksgiving is all about:

1) 1 Chronicles 16:34

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.

2) Colossians 3:15-17

And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

3) Philippians 4:6

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

4) Psalm 30:12

That my glory may sing your praise and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever!

5) Isaiah 12:4-5

And you will say in that day: “Give thanks to the Lord, call upon his name, make known his deeds among the peoples, proclaim that his name is exalted. “Sing praises to the Lord, for he has done gloriously; let this be made known in all the earth.

6) Hebrews 12:28-29

Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe; for our God is a consuming fire.

7) Jonah 2:9

But I will sacrifice to You With the voice of thanksgiving. That which I have vowed I will pay Salvation is from the Lord."

8) 1 Timothy 4:4-5

For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected, if it is received with gratitude; for it is sanctified by means of the word of God and prayer.

9) Psalm 28:7

The Lord is my strength and my shield; My heart trusts in Him, and I am helped; Therefore my heart exults, And with my song I shall thank Him.

10) Psalm 100:4

Enter His gates with thanksgiving, And His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him; bless His name.

Cover Image Credit: Wallpapers Pro

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6 Confessions On What Makes Christmas SO Special From A Christmas-oholic

Why November and December reign as the best time of the year — no ifs, ands or buts.

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Christmas is right around the corner people! It's time to celebrate my favorite holiday of the year.

Below are six reasons why Christmas is undeniably the most wonderful time of the year. Let the countdown to Christmas begin!

1. Gift-giving is my specialty

Look no further, for you've come across the right person. Whether it be family or friends, I am able to find something meaningful. Big or small, I've made peoples' year because of the thought I invested into what I picked out special for them.

I have a strong gut that helps me decide on items and I always make a point to listen to someone's likes or interests and store them in the back of my mind. I enjoy wrapping gifts in fancy paper and decorating them with pretty bows.

Seeing their face light up whenever they rip open the gift is the best part. I love making people realize how special they are to me.

2. Everyone is joyful

The Christmas spirit hits people right after Thanksgiving wraps up. Thinking about cookie decorating, wrapping gifts and buying presents puts them in the mood. It's amazing how people come together during this time and can spread the holiday cheer.

People manage to wear a smile and converse more, rubbing off on others. Christmas caroling encourages others to get into the spirit.

Even though it's cold and snowy, Christmas is a saving grace in getting everyone through it. I find myself become happier towards others when the thought of Christmas is mentioned. 25 days will never be enough. Smile and find your inner joy!

3. School is off 

Say goodbye to homework and stress. Being released for break means students can focus on making their Christmas a great one. Most colleges even go as far as giving kids near a month off.

School becomes the least of our worries and makes Christmas a priority. We're given a long opportunity for relaxing and spending time with loved ones, all in the name of Christmas!

4. Christmas movies for everyone

ABC Family's "25 Days of Christmas" and Hallmark's Christmas movies fill our screens during this time of year. As corny as they are, these movies are a staple to bringing in the Christmas spirit.

They're only here for a few short months, so it's important to make the most of them. Nothing beats sitting by the fire with a cup of hot chocolate watching these movies.

5. Santa is watching you

Even at 21, sometimes I still believe Santa is keeping a close eye on my behavior. Being a good person should be a yearly thing, especially towards those you're close to. The deliverance of gifts is the highlight of my holidays.

Seeing kids who wait for Santa brings back memories of when I was their age. To them, he is their idol and does anything they can to prove they've been good this year. Nobody wants a bag of coal in their stocking!

6. Christmas charities

Giving donations to the needy is critical during Christmas time. With bitter weather and dropping temperatures, those that are less fortunate suffer. Kind-hearted people make blankets, ring bells for the Salvation Army and make food for those who need it most.

Christmas is a time for giving to those you know and don't. Hearts get bigger and reach out. People who don't have families to celebrate the holidays with are given a reason to smile from others bringing cheer into their lives.

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