As Christmas draws very near, my thoughts are drawn to memories of other Christmases.

Maybe I’m feeling nostalgic because I’m away from home this year, or maybe I should just be honest enough to say that I’m just a sap every day.  Okay, you caught me. It’s a combination of both!

Mom and I are watching The Weather Channel, as we’ve been doing a lot since I came down here to be with her last Thursday.

They were talking about the Santa Tracker, which will show all adults and children where Santa is on the world map at every moment during his delivery tour this Friday and Saturday.

I told her I thought that was very cute, and loved the innocence of it.  I also told her how I didn’t need the Santa Tracker when I was a little girl.

I remember watching the skies from the car when my Dad would drive the three youngest Leyes children to Hollys for a treat after Christmas Eve dinner to help us pass the time while we waited for Santa to come.  For some reason, the two oldest got to stay home with Mom.  Hmmm…

I remember one time being so certain I saw his sleigh in the sky that I have talked myself in to a vivid memory of it to this day.

I also remember always coming home from ice cream at Hollys to find out Santa had delivered our presents! His timing was absolutely perfect every time!  How did that happen?

I remember in later years when we would come home to South Bend from school, and later after I got married, to be with family.  There were many Christmases when we would go to midnight mass at Sacred Heart, the unbelievably beautiful cathedral at The University of Notre Dame.  If you’ve never been there, you should go. We would get there at 11PM just to get a seat.

I remember loving Mom’s Nativity scene, which many call a Creche.  She would put lights around it to make it even more special.  Do you know what is so magic about the Nativity scene?  It wasn’t expensive at all.  The figurines were made of plastic, and the manger was printed cardboard.  She would put it on puffy felt with sparkles in it that looked like snow.  One of the first things I had to do, even after I left home, was to camp out in front of it on the hearth, just to look at it, and all of the people and sweet animals that make up the real story behind Christmas.

The message here is that the most important parts of our lives are not expensive, not even close.  They are the things and people that remind us of the true meaning of Christmas, of all holidays, of relationships, of love, of support, of a hug, both furry and not, and of what pure joy really is.

You, my friends and family, are those reminders to me.  How can I thank you for being so important, so special, so supportive, and such a wonderful part of my life, except to say…

“Thank you, and I Love You very, very much.”

Yes, all of the preparation and scurrying around that you are doing is important too.  Most of it is what memories are made of, but I encourage you to please take the time to remember what makes this holiday, this holy day, important.

I would love it if you would spend a moment to share what you remember from Christmases past or present, and what makes it important to you.

Photo credit goes to my Mom for taking us to visit Santa, for having our picture taken, and for that red plaid coat.  I wish I had one my current size!  Thanks, also, to my dear husband, John, and Sharon for scanning this photo for me while I’m out of town.

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  • In recent years, my husband and I have started a tradition of going to our cousins and unveiling our gifts to them and then going to the movies on Christmas Day. Though it may seem mundane, certain years ,we’ve managed to make it a double feature and give ourselves a treat of two very special movies with friends. It is truly delightful and something we look forward to year in and year out. Thanks for sharing your wonderful memories.

  • Nancy,

    I love this story! You have no idea the memories you have evoked within me of my childhood. I tend to forget the things I should remember but you have reminded me of all the things that I need to talk about and tell others. All the good things that have happened to me this time of the year!

    Marry Christmas!

  • I love that Laura! I think going to movies on Christmas Day and Thanksgiving Day is a fun tradition. We’ve done that on Thanksgiving many years. Thanks for sharing your special memory!

  • Justin, I’m so glad this made you remember too! yes, share those memories as I know they are very special. I’m so glad you commented!

  • Nancy:

    As you know, this is a tough time for my family right now due to some illnesses with my wife’s mom. But you have envoked some nostalgic memories with this post. My memories are not just as a kid, but as a father. I loved being a kid at Christmas, but watching my little girl tear into those presents at Christmas is absolutley wonderful. My parents always come over on Christmas Eve. We bake chocolate chip cookies and go see Christmas lights in our pajamas, and have hot chocolate. We come back to the house and Tabby opens one present. We then set out the milk and cookies and send Tabby off to bed.

    I love this time of year. Thank you for friendship. I am wishing you and your family the best this Holiday season.

  • Nancy, I love the photo with Santa! This is a great message and I wish you a very Merry Christmas. I know it’s trying right now and I send you all the hugs I can from St. Louis to Florida! xoxo

  • Aaron, I know you have been going through so much lately. Thank you for sharing your wonderful traditions. They are a great reminder of what is truly important.

  • Gini, I can’t believe I missed replying to these last two comments! I am so sorry…I think I read them, then got sidetracked with things going on down here. Anyhow, thanks for your comment. I felt your hugs all the way from St. Louis down here when I read that…you’re pretty special.