Sunday, December 9, 2007

The magic of Christmas

Hello all! Due to the time of year, I've been reflecting on my childhood Christmas memories. What fun to walk down memory lane, you know, because I'm so old. Some of my favorite Christmas memories are when we used to go to my mother's parent's ranch in White Bird, ID. It was only a four-hour drive from our home in Spokane, but I remembered it as taking forever. We would pile in our 1984 Ford Clubwagon XLT, complete with racing stripes or some special striping. I loved that van. It could fit eight adults and 2 weeks camping equipment comfortably. We called it The Beast.

My grandparents didn't live in White Bird proper, but rather all the way up the hill, where it felt like we had the fields and forests to ourselves. The drive up was very exciting, especially when my dad drove. For some reason (probably due to my mother's complaints/corrections), we all thought my dad drove like a madman. As we climbed the hill to my grandparents, one side was a hill and the other a canyon. I remember us all leaning towards or piling ourselves on the side of the hill in the hopes that it would keep us from falling over the canyon side. We kids saved our lives about twice every year with that technique.

Christmas in Idaho meant lots of snow. I think my grandparents always got a real Christmas tree. My grandmother cooked on a real wood stove (which I hope to have one day). My grandpa would always make bug juice for us. I have no idea what ingredients make up bug juice. Grandma always had the candy dish fully stocked with candies and fudge. We kids all slept in the living room area on the hide-a-bed. One year I was awakened to my sisters plugging my nose because I had been snoring. Rude. And we could hear and see the coyotes howling on the plains near their home. The hide-a-bed was placed next to a window and you could see the stars so clearly there, so far away from city lights. We would go sledding, load logs for the wood stove and wander around the ranch. It was a kid's paradise.

I think my favorite memories/feelings of my childhood Christmases are warmth and togetherness. It was fun to be with family, to play together and work together. And one of my favorite Christmas gifts was my doll, Cynthia. On Christmas Eve after going to bed, I had to get up to use the bathroom. I came out into the living room to find my sister Amy and my mom working on something. I knew by their faces that it was for me, but I didn't see what it was. They had been gluing her strawberry-blond hair on. I love that doll, and I hope my daughters love her too. Thank you, mom and dad, for wonderful childhood memories.

Now that we have a daughter, I want to make Christmas a magical and fun, as well as meaningful. We have ideas of some traditions we want to establish, and I'm sure some will be made as we have more kids and they give an input as to how they want to celebrate. What are some of your traditions?


amypete said...

It's funny how we have different takes on Christmases we both experienced. You were a lot younger than me at the ranch. I remember some things the same, but some things not quite. I do remember thinking I saw Santa there once. What fun!

Michael Family said...

Oh yeah! I remember bug juice. I think it was kool-aid and squirt. And I remember leaning when the van turned so that we wouldn't die. Dad really is a crazy driver. It is a miracle we made it through childhood (remember skiing in Utah, and he almost killing us on the way home?)

I loved the ranch!