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Friday, December 23, 2016

The Best Christmas Memories

It's funny; as I look back at Christmases past, I don't remember the gifts as much as I remember the feeling of the holiday, the time with family and friends, and the little things that might have seemed insignificant at the time but which have withstood the test of time.

As a child growing up, I was always excited about the Santa Bag I received each year. My father put them together, and they were filled with oranges, apples, a variety of nuts and hard candies, along with a few prized chocolates.

As an adult living in Washington, DC with my sister Neelley close by, we always enjoyed getting together on Christmas Eve. It became a tradition of watching movies and The Christmas Carol was always among them.

We drank hot chocolate with marshmallows or sometimes hot apple cider. Sometimes we put peppermint sticks in our hot chocolate, which would melt. It's something I still enjoy doing today.

And occasionally, when we were feeling especially brave, we would cook. One year, we baked cookies, cakes and pastries. I doubt that any of it was edible but we enjoyed it nonetheless.

One year, my brother John was also living in the Washington, DC area and after we ate Christmas dinner, we drove downtown to tour the Christmas trees. You see, most people only think of the single White House Christmas Tree that the President lights each year. But there are actually more than 50 trees, one for each state and territory. Each one is decorated with items from that state that depict their state symbols, from birds and flowers to industries that have defined them.

There was usually a nativity scene with live animals and huge logs burning. And on that particular Christmas Day, I remember snow on the ground and standing in front of those logs, warming up our hands. They also offered free apple cider, which warmed us up on the inside.

So this Christmas as I settle in, I'll be remembering those times with family and the special memories we made.

What are your favorite memories?