A Family of Christmas Celebrations Enjoying the Holidays Every Year
pick up different items I could use for my train. Most of them were out of scale, but I’d use them anyway. They picked up little toucans, small houses, or whatever they thought I could use. I would spend hours watching the train go around and around on its track whenever I had the chance. I got years and years out of that train set. Another fun memory was the annual raising of the “Christmas Stick.” Although my mother hated fake trees and always had a real one when she was little, somewhere along the way, we picked up a fake Christmas tree. This was an old artificial tree when we got it, but when we were young, it didn’t matter — after all, it was the Christmas tree! As we got older, we realized this tree looked more like a green broom handle with a bunch of holes in it where the rest of the fake tree limbs went every so often. Even though it was a sparse, skinny thing, it was in our house every Christmas until my sister and I moved out. I think it was my sister who first called it the “Christmas Stick”, and every year thereafter, my dad, sister, and I would sing “O Christmas Stick, O Christmas Stick ...” to the tune of “O Tannenbaum”whenever we got it out. Mom didn’t appreciate it as much as we did, but it still makes me laugh as I write this. The best part of Christmas isn’t just remembering all the good times I’ve had with my family; it’s about making even more memories. As I look forward to another amazing Christmas this year with my family, I wish all of you happy holidays!
As I think about past Christmases, I think one of the best gifts I ever received was when I was a kid: a brand-new train set. I had wanted one for a while, but it was always too expensive. That year, it was my “big present.” When I opened that gift, I was very excited! I remember my dad and granddad building the train table in my room and all the work that went into making a semirealistic setting for my train to run through. I had a lot of fun making little dioramas of mountains, plains, and fake trees, as well as laying down grass. I remember the time I spent building, with the help of my dad, a little hill my train would climb up and creating a tunnel under the mountain with a stream underneath that. Those were my ideas at least, and my imagined scene was always better than what ended up on the table, but at that age, it was a blast anyway.
When it comes to Christmas traditions, my family has quite a few activities we look forward to every year. My wife’s family has a unique Christmas tradition I’ve always thought was the best idea. They have a tablecloth they use every year that you sign your name on if you are with them for Christmas Eve or Christmas Day dinner. Usually, the guests and first-time family members sign, then others sign if it has been awhile (or if they were kids, and every few years, we see their signatures change). Then, once the holidays are over, they embroider the signatures into the tablecloth. The next year, we look at the signatures and remember those who aren’t with us this year so even those who have passed are still remembered and loved. This is a tradition we’ve carried into our own celebrations, though our tablecloth doesn’t have nearly as many names on it yet. (And truth be told, we probably have it packed away because we rarely have Christmas at our own house, but I still love it when it comes out).
My grandparents also provided some of the props I used. They’d go traveling around and
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