Well, we have survived Halloween and Thanksgiving. There are several other holidays to celebrate during this new month – Chanukah, Christmas and Kwanzaa to mention a few, followed by the New Year.
Beautiful lights and brilliant colors accompany all these holidays. So do memories.
I started doing this column a year ago this month. Since then, I have met some fascinating people and learned all kinds of new things about them and myself. I have both appreciated and enjoyed the chance to grow.
In our home we celebrate Christmas. Now that our family has new little faces to look forward to this holiday with all its magic and anticipation, it is more fun for the adults.
When I was a child, we eagerly searched the Sears Catalog for items to dream about. There were no electronic devices, but there were dolls and doll houses, baby carriages, sleds, board games and stockings filled with fruit and candy.
The Christmas tree was always fresh, and somehow, the aroma of baking from the kitchen melded beautifully with the smell of the outdoors brought inside.
Until I was eight, we lived in Quincy, Illinois, so on Christmas Eve my sister and brother and I plastered our noses to the window watching for snow. When it was bedtime, we laid awake for what seemed like hours listening for the sound of sleigh bells, signaling the arrival of Santa.
Of course, we never heard the bells, but when we woke up the next morning the gifts under the tree assured us he had stopped by.
Christmas was never the same again
Our move to California was quite a culture shock. No hope of snow in sunny southern California, and no fireplace in our new home brought about anxiety and concern. Somehow Christmas was never quite the same.
… until Washington
Christmas in Washington brought back all these memories. We may or may not have snow but we have rain, wind and frosty mornings. And we have my great-granddaughter Prairie Tom, and this year, her little brother Willow the Warrior, to share the holiday with.
Prairie Tom is three now and has really found the spirit. She is excited, and so am I. By the very fact he has thrived after premature birth and is now home with his family, Willow is the best gift anyone of us could hope for.
I have ten grandchildren, six great-grands and one great-great-grand living in California that I will not be able to share the holiday season with, but thanks to the magic of electronics we can visit via Facetime and that helps.
Packages will be mailed shortly, including ginger snap cookies that have become a tradition. Trees will be decorated to ooh and aah over. Get-togethers will be arranged with family and friends, baking will be done and presents will be purchased for all, including the family dogs, but not the chickens. I draw the line at the chickens.
In short, our celebrations might mirror yours in many ways.
There will also be empty chairs at the table, and we will honor them with stories of Christmases past.
I have shared my holiday season with you and now I would love to hear about yours. Email me at Kathleen@theJOLTnews.com if you would like to share.
Maybe you are far from loved ones too, but your memories are just as precious as mine, and sometimes it helps bridge the distance just to share…even with strangers.
Kathleen Anderson writes this column each week from her home in Olympia. Contact her at kathleen@theJOLTnews.com or post your comment below.
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