In light of the recent tragedy that struck in Newtown, CT, we here at GGS have been holding off on posting anything for a few days. We wanted to pay our respects, gather our emotions and spend time with our loved ones. Our hearts are broken and there really are no words that could possibly be right in this situation. We can’t change what happened, and we can’t take the pain away. We are so very sympathetic and our thoughts are with the families involved in this horrific and senseless event.
What we can do is remind ourselves to hold our babies tight, tell our parents we love them, opt out of picking petty fights with our partners and spend more time with our friends. Life is short and precious. The things we remember as we travel along this journey are not always the huge events and grand gestures. Sometimes they are little things. So we put together a short compilation of some of our favorite holiday memories, in the hopes that it would encourage all of you to reminisce on special time spent with your loved ones, whether they are with you now or not.
We wish you all the love your heart can take this holiday season, and always.
Wow, thinking back over the holidays it’s hard to choose just one memory. My family puts a lot of effort into making the holidays super special and really memorable. Since I have such a big family, celebrations go on for days at a time. When we were little, we would go to my grandmother’s house in Owensboro and stay with her. She would have Christmas trees in two different rooms because she couldn’t possibly fit all of the presents under one tree.
It was so hard to go to sleep on Christmas Eve because we were so excited about Christmas morning. We would sleep upstairs and we were given a broom to keep beside our beds. We were told to use the broomstick to bang on the floor when we woke up to see if we could come downstairs yet. If we heard nothing, we had to stay in bed because Santa hadn’t come yet. If we heard someone banging on the ceiling from downstairs with their broom, we could come downstairs because it meant that Santa had already come. The “broom system” was VERY important because if we came downstairs while Santa was still down there, he would get scared and leave and he wouldn’t have time to give us our presents.
When we did eventually come downstairs, there were at least triple the presents that had been there the night before. They overflowed into both rooms and each cousin had their little “area” where we had stockings and signs with our names on them and presents waiting for us. It was amazing.
When I was little, of course it was the presents that made me so excited. Looking back now, what really touches me is the time and energy that my Gama and my Mom put into making Christmas the most special time of year for us. Sure, the presents where wonderful, but it was wanting to make us so happy and wanting to making Christmas so magical that is the most meaningful thing to me.
My Mom has totally carried on this tradition to this day. In fact, even though my siblings and step-siblings range in age from 27 to 33, she still closes the door to the main living room, makes us all sit on the stairs and wait until everything is perfect, and we still have a “big reveal” of the Christmas tree and all the presents, followed up by the most wonderful and delicious brunch ever.
These days we spend the few days before Christmas in Owensboro, Christmas Eve at my Mom’s house with my Stepdad’s side of the family, Christmas morning at my Mom’s with immediately family, Christmas afternoon at my Dad’s with just him, and Christmas evening at my aunt’s house with my Dad’s extended family. That’s how it’s been for the last decade or so. So this Christmas will be an interesting one…a hard one for sure. It will be my first Christmas without my Dad.
I can’t be certain how I will feel on Christmas Day, but I know one thing, I am immensely grateful for all of the amazing memories I have with him from Christmases past. And I will try my best to be grateful for my family who is still here, and the memories we will make in the future.
Christmas was a pretty routine tradition for me as I was growing up..
I remember being SO excited for Christmas when I was a little girl. On Christmas Eve, my mom, dad, older brother and I would usually watch a movie together until it was time to go to bed. I would leave cookies and carrots out for Santa and his Reindeer.. then head up to bed, sometimes to sleep in my room or my older brother’s room.
Each year, I would wake up SO early and eager to see what was under the tree… I’m talking 3am. So I would creep downstairs to see who’s names were on what presents, empty my stocking and then wait until 6am (house rule) to wake everyone else up. I would wake my parents up with a greeting card that played music when you opened it (I think I still have the card saved in a memory box). We’d go downstairs, my parents would make coffee, turn on the candles in the windows, christmas music and we’d begin opening gifts which usually took a few hours as we’d take turns..
These days however, my parents wake me up to start Christmas morning …but the rest remains tradition. Can’t wait for the wonderful warm & fuzzy moments.
We never really made a big deal out of the holidays in our home growing up.
My parents are both Iranian immigrants, which meant they didn’t celebrate Christmas, so there weren’t any long standing traditions or holiday parties.
There are a few things I remember: packing into my Dad’s old station wagon to drive around and see Christmas lights, a ski trip when I was 4 to Mount Baldy when I skied for the first and final time, the Mickey Mouse roller skates I begged my parents for and the year my mom, sister and I decorated the tree with candy canes and strawberry hard candies-then topped it with an orange.
But the memory that stands out the most in my mind is the first Christmas after my parents divorced. I was 7, and we had taken a road trip with my Dad to Arizona to visit a friend whose son was in the children’s hospital. I remember being on the burn unit, and seeing so many kids-my age-who had been through horrible ordeals.
Later that day we went to a diner to eat. I think I had turkey and mashed potatoes. On the radio, I heard Last Christmas by Wham! and I recall feeling very sad-not just because of the divorce or the kids at the hospital-but because my Dad seemed so lonely and I felt helpless. It wasn’t until I was older, in college and moved out of the house, did I truly realize how much he had sacrificed for my sister and I.
My Dad moved out of the country a few years ago, right around this time. I haven’t spent a Christmas with him in more years than I can count, and I miss him every single day. These days, I do my best to make the holidays special for my little boy, and to teach him that the love, magic and joy we share over this time of year is meant to carry us into the next.
We don’t get snow very often in Western Kentucky, and when we do it’s usually just a dusting. That’s more of a snow-tease if you ask me. Well, on Christmas Eve of 2010 we got half a foot of snow (for where I live, that’s a lot!). And it was awesome. I absolutely love snow, and I love playing in it even more. On Christmas Eve and on Christmas morning I was outside sledding with my dog, building a snowman (that the neighbor dog mauled and peed on), and made snow angels. It was perfect. That day was also filled with tons of awesome food and quality time with my amazing family.
This Christmas is particularly special for me because I was blessed to marry my best friend earlier this year, and this is our first Christmas as a married couple. I’m truly blessed and joyful.
My favorite holiday memory takes me back to the week of Christmas in 2009. I was living in Las Vegas at the time but traveled home to Salt Lake City, Utah to spend the holidays with my family.
I’d always been very close to my Grandma Mitzi. My beautiful, unintentionally funny, little Japanese grandma has had my heart for as long as I can remember. I lived with her nearly my entire life until I was 18, and then on and off again for a few years until I was 24.
I loved the holidays with my Gram. She always cooked all of my favorite foods every time she found out I was coming into town, and she loved to feed our family. Holidays with her were never about gifts, but they were about being together and enjoying the food she worked so hard to prepare for us.
I’d open her door and immediately be greeted by her pug Tashi, and then hit with a variety of food smells. Our holiday dinners with her were always an eclectic Japanese/American mix: turkey, ham, sushi, egg rolls, apple pie, teriyaki chicken… the works!
This particular Christmas Eve of 2009 was a very special one with her. She and I stayed up until 2am making what may very well be the world’s biggest batch of mochi, which is a ricey Japanese type of treat that I absolutely loved – and still do! It was a favorite of mine growing up and she bought a mochi machine so that she could make piles of it. While we were cooking, she dug up a bunch of her kimonos and made me try them all on and oooh’d and ahhh’d over me as she made me spin around in circles and model each one. I can still hear her voice that day and how excited she was as she dressed me up and showed me how to wear them. She packed them up for me and gave them to me as a gift, which I absolutely cherish.
The memories I have of her, particularly during that wonderful week of Christmas, will forever live on in my heart.