#christmas

CHRISTMAS FAMILY PHOTO

One of my favorite parts of Christmas is not the joy and merriment we make…it’s not the presents…or the food…it’s the family photo that we take.

 

Our yearly Christmas photo, a gift that can’t be bought…shows the changes within our family another year has brought.

 

Change is subtle…occurring gradually throughout our days and nights…our Christmas photo, capturing a moment in time, brings our changes into the light.

 

Some changes are easy to see…they don’t involve a lot of thinking…like how our children and now grandchildren have grown taller…while Deborah and I are shrinking.

 

It is easy to see the changes we’ve all made physically…but each year our Christmas photo makes me think of the changes I cannot see.

 

What were our highs and lows this year…who had joys…who had heartaches along the way…who finished school, who changed jobs, who came home…who moved away.

 

But my favorite part as I view those who in this years photo are cast…is the moment I take this years photo and compare it with Christmas photos of the past…

 

Looking back…I can see all the changes in our lives that have taken place…but I still see the same smiles…the same love on every face.

 

I think that’s why I love our Christmas family photos so much…why they give ma such a thrill…because I can see the things about us that have changed…and the one thing that never will.

 
 
 
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FROM PRESENTS TO PRESENCE

When I was young there were many joys of Christmas and one of the biggest joys for me was opening up my presents I found underneath our Christmas tree.

 

I’d hold the present in my hand with a smile a mile wide, then rip the wrapping paper off to see what was inside.

 

When I grew a little older my focus shifted off of me and I found my joy in the presents for my family underneath our Christmas tree.

 

I’d see them hold their presents in their hands with smiles a mile wide then watch them rip the wrapping paper off to see what was inside.

 

When I grew a little older still…my focus underwent another shift for when it came to Christmas every year I wished for but one gift.

 

It wasn’t the presents I’d give my family or the presents they’d give to me…it was the presence of my family around our Christmas tree.

 

Children grow, they move away…that is what families do and it gets harder and harder every year for my one wish to come true.

 

But when it does you can see me all night with a smile a mile wide…having opened up my present to find my family inside.

 

 

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DEAR SANTA

Dear Santa, 

 

(this little girl loved talking to Santa as she wrote but this year her voice quivered.). “Every year I’ve asked you for toys…and every year you have delivered.”

 

But this year is a little different (just this year…let me make that clear!) for I am old enough now to have been aware of what’s been happening this year.

 

Although school has been a combination of real and virtuality

I have learned a bunch of new words…like this one…humanity.

 

Which is why my first wish this year would be to please start intervening and help every person in the world to understand its meaning.

 

This year I wish you, Mrs. Claus and all your North Pole elves…could make people think a little more about each other…and a little less about themselves.

 

I wish you could make it easy to love one another…easy to forgive…and I wish you could help us take better care of this planet on which we live.

 

I wish everyone felt safe, secure…that no one had to live in fear…I wish no one ever felt oppressed (another word I learned this year).

 

I wish everybody could grow up kind and wise and strong…I wish there was no hatred…no wars…I wish everybody got along.

 

This year I also learned the word poverty…I’d like you to fix that if you could…(Hey Santa, with all these new words I learned this year…don’t you think my teacher’s pretty good!).

 

So teachers, doctors, nurses…all those essential workers…with great speed…this year, wait! make that every year…give them anything they need.

 

In conclusion Santa…this year if you could fill the world with Peace and Love and Joy…then next year you can get back to delivering all those toys.

 

To show the faith I have in you Santa…now that this year’s list is done…I’ve already begun my list of toys…for Christmas 2021.

 

Love,

Your friend

MISSY

 
 
 
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HARD TO BUY FOR

When it came time to picking names for Christmas presents…their Dad was the name no one would vie for…because they all knew, when it came to presents, their dad was hard to buy for.

 

It didn’t matter who put their hand into the hat and drew out their dad’s name…when they asked him what he wanted…his answer was always the same.

 

“I’m surrounded by the beauty of nature and as long as we don’t destroy it…I’ve already been gifted with a number of ways in which I can enjoy it.

 

I can see sunrises and sunsets, hear the birds and smell the flowers too. I can taste the mushrooms from my garden and touch the morning dew.

 

I have a few aches and pains from growing older but I am lucky to be healthy…and though I don’t have a lot of money in the bank…in so many other ways…I’m wealthy.

 

I have a roof over my head, clothes on my back, food to eat and books to read.  I have the love of my wife, my family and friends…what more do I need?

 

Then he would smile, stare at whoever asked the question that year and say…”I think the best gift would be…if everyone in the world was as hard to buy for as me.”

 

Yes, his children had a hard time buying a present for their dad when it came to Christmas Day...but looking back on all their Christmases together...they wouldn't have had it any other way.

 

 

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GRANDMA'S GINGERBREAD HOMES

My Grandma was a little different., Dad used to say it was in her chromosomes, 

For example at Christmas we didn’t make gingerbread houses, she called them Gingerbread homes.

 

“We’ll make a nice home for when a gingerbread man and a gingerbread woman wed.

“After all”, she’d say, “even gingerbread families need a nice roof over their heads.”

 

Grandma would say, ‘It’s my hope that long after I’m gone…long after I am dead 

You’ll remember the lessons you learned as we made homes out of gingerbread”.

 

And today as my wife and I make gingerbread homes with our grandchildren…as we watch them sprinkle on the snow I remember the lessons Grandma taught us…in her kitchen all those years ago.

 

She said, “have fun when you’re in the kitchen…don’t worry about making a mess.”

When we asked her to do something she’d say, “it’s easy to say no to your children…sometimes try saying yes.”

 

On days when our homes fell down and we didn’t think ourselves very good cooks Grandma would say, “a house made with love is never as bad as it looks!”.

 

It didn’t matter how our homes turned out Grandma was always thrilled…and if she saw we were dejected or crying…she’d help us to rebuild.

 

“This is another beauty of life and gingerbread homes,” she’d say, “for no matter how many times it takes…every time we rebuild or make a new home…we‘re learning from our mistakes”.

 

“Every time we make a gingerbread home .” She’d say, “as we make more and more and more…each new home turns out a little better than the home we made before”.

 

This year our grandchildren outdid themselves…the kitchen was a total mess

and when they asked if they can add more snow to their homes…remembering Grandma we enthusiastically told them YES!.

 

For its our hope they will remember this moment…these lessons long after their Grandma and I are dead…lesson they will pass on to their grandchildren as they make their homes out of gingerbread.

 
 
 
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A Florida Christmas EVE

We had just finished reading Twas the Night Before Christmas

“Good Night children.” Their mom and I said.

“Wait a minute Dad…something’s not right. We live in Florida.” Our eldest son said.

 

“It’s too warm down here for the reindeer.” (Our second son said sounding defeated). “How does Santa deliver the presents if all his reindeer become overheated?”

 

“There’s no snow, it’s not cold and we have no chimney.” (This statement was made by our daughter) “How does Santa deliver presents to those of us who live on the water.”

 

I looked at my wife and smiled…my hands thoughtfully covering my mouth.  “You mean we’ve never told you”, I said sitting down, “how Santa delivers presents to the south?"

 

“Santa’s reindeer love to fly…high across the winter sky they soar…but even they get tired so when Santa’s sleigh reaches our shore he gives his reindeer a break on the beach with some suntan lotion and a bale of hay…and hooks up nine Florida dolphins who take over guiding his sleigh.”

 

“Thank you for helping all my dolphin friends!” each year Santa happily exclaims.

Then one by one they smile and nod as Santa Claus calls them by name.

 

On Aqua, on Ocean, on Brooke, on Marina…Noelani are you ready for me?

On Splash, on Delta, on Raindrop…it's time to guide me out over the sea.”

 

“Over and under the sea we will swim…look smart, please stay in two rows…and when it gets too dark to see out there…on Coral…please light up your nose.

 

“You see Santa is very resourceful.” Dad said…”I hope you now understand…how he can deliver his presents on the water as easily as on the land.”

 

“Many children all over the world see Santa and his reindeer and instantly believe...but only the children in Florida see Santa and his dolphins on Christmas Eve.”

 

If you look out your window tonight you might see…on the water…in the moon light arise...a sleigh pulled by nine dolphins, Santa in short sleeves with sunglasses covering eyes.

 

And if you're lucky you even might hear him exclaim as he and his dolphin drive out of sight.

Happy Christmas to all the children in Florida…

and to all the children in Florida…

a good night.

 
 
 
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DEAR SANTA

Dear Santa,

 

On the lines below you’ll find my Christmas wish is listed:

Simply: could you take us back to a time when we didn’t quarrel…when we all co-existed?

 

A time when all the Earth was one…when we followed nature’s order…back before we thought we owned the land and quarreled over our borders.

 

Back when we thought of every person in the world as family…everybody as our kin…before we quarreled about the way we look and the color of our skin.

 

Back to a time when we didn’t quarrel about how our world interconnects.

When we treated the Earth and all her animals with kindness and respect.

 

Back when we didn’t quarrel about our food…across the world it was evenly dispersed…back when no one died of hunger, poverty or thirst.

 

Back when we all cared about each other and when the day was done…we didn’t solve our quarrels with violence and guns.

 

Back to a time when the Earth, the sky and nature were all we needed to be awed…before churches and religions made us quarrel about our Gods.

 

What’s that Santa, you say in all your years this has never been the Earth you knew…

In that case Santa, 

this Christmas

could you make my wishes come true.

 
 
 
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5 STAGES OF CHRISTMAS

It’s funny as I’ve gotten older…as my book of life has added a few more pages I have come to realize that Christmas is made up of five distinctive stages.

 

Today I can sit back and smile…when I take the time to pause…

knowing, for me, those five stages have revolved around Santa Claus.

 

During the first stage I was so young it was easy to believe how Santa Claus could drive a sleigh and bring me present on Christmas Eve.

 

In the second stage I’d grown up a little…and thinking I was wiser than before I figured I was too old to believe in Santa anymore.

 

In the third stage I was older still…and was happy to hear my wife’s and children’s applause when I put on that big red suit…and I played Santa Claus.

 

In the fourth stage I was older yet…my white hair and beard made children pause…

They’d smile, point…they’d wave and say, “look Mommy I think that’s Santa Claus”.

 

I’m now in the final stage of Christmas where I smile every time I see a Christmas decoration or hear a Christmas song because I realize not only do I still believe in Santa Claus…but I believed in him all along.

 

What makes this such a wonderful stage…is realizing Christmas is more than Santa Claus or songs or the different gifts we are receiving…

that Christmas is…

that Christmas was…

that Christmas all always be…

In the magic of believing.

 

 

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THE BEST CHRISTMAS TREE EVER

 

Each year Deborah and I share one Christmas tradition-we do this religiously.

Together the day after Thanksgiving we buy our Christmas Tree.

 

As we head out to purchase our tree we are filled with anticipation

for we know the gift lies not in the tree itself, but in its decoration.

 

From the moment we open our storage bins and rediscover the ornaments they contain

It’s not just a simple trimming of the tree...it’s a trip down memory lane.

 

There is a special feeling about finding an old ornament time and time again

Holding it up and saying....Hey Deborah do you remember when....

 

Each ornament adds to the story of our life as we’ve watched our family grow

Most are significant only to us and carry meanings only we would know. 

 

We have ornaments that remind us of our children,”Hey, isn’t that Ryan’s baby shoe?”

There’s a photo of Ali and me, Bryan’s manatee and pickles for the grandchildren too.

 

There are ornaments from old friends, a few of Whitman: he was a great dog!

And the ornaments of places we’ve been form a lifelong travelogue.

 

Each year when we’re finished trimming we have more than just a tree

There in the corner stands memories of our life...it’s an album in 3-D!

 

Every year when the tree is finished Deborah says, “Now you might think me mad,

but I’m sure this year, this tree, is the best we’ve ever had!”

 

As I stare at the tree and nod my agreement I think I can now attest

to understanding why every year our newest tree is the best.

 

Last years tree was the best we ever had…that was easy enough to see

but we’ve added another year of memories to the boughs of this year’s tree.

 

So as wonderful as last year’s tree was it’s the new memories we’ve amassed

that make this year’s Christmas tree a little better than the last.

 

And I’m sure as another year of memories in 2021 we add

next years tree will take it’s rightful place as the best Christmas tree we’ve ever had.




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