As I try to make the most of this Christmas away from my family again, naturally my mind wanders to happy memories of all the past Christmases I spent with my family over the course of my lifetime. Here are some personal memories of mine from Christmases long past that I now share with you here:
Twenty years ago, I remember going to my father’s home on Christmas Night to open gifts from him. I remember walking into his apartment and seeing half of his entire living room floor FILLED with Christmas gifts for me and my brother. Dad REALLY spoiled us that year.
A few weeks before that Christmas, Dad gave me an early Christmas/late birthday present by sneakily taking me to the eye doctor to replace my big coke-bottle eyeglasses with contact lenses. I had sneakily been saving up my allowance in a jar at his apartment in order to eventually get contact lenses, and he had been adding some funds to the jar as well. When I had finally accumulated enough money in the jar to cover the remaining costs that my eye care insurance didn’t cover, Dad sneakily took me to the eye doctor one evening to have me fitted for the lenses so that I would be able to wear them to my second basketball game match that I was cheerleading for that same night. I emphasize that this was all done sneakily because we did it behind my mother’s back. Due to the fact that my mother had a raging case of Narcissistic Personality Disorder, she refused to let me wear contact lenses because she enjoyed knowing that I felt ugly and self-conscious in my big dorky eyeglasses. So when I arrived home later that night after the game without my glasses on, she was NOT pleased that my dad had taken me to get contact lenses behind her back. But it was already done and over with, and there wasn’t anything she could do about it. And since my father was the one who had taken me to get them, he took full culpability for it so that she couldn’t lash out at ME for it. My father did me a HUGE favor by taking me to get rid of those horrible glasses so that I could feel better about myself, and I’ve been grateful to him for that ever since.
In addition to defying my mother and taking me to get contact lenses, my dad had asked us for a list of things we wanted for Christmas. I had been using an old CD player of his that he had given to my brother and I to share, and I had just begun to accumulate a small collection of CD’s. That Christmas I received a HUGE stereo system from Dad along with a large box filled with about two dozen CD’s from my Christmas Wish List. The CD player could hold five discs at once and had a remote control, which was pretty impressive back in 1996. I had recently informed my dad that I was really getting into the music of Sting and Peter Gabriel, which really surprised and pleased him since he was a big fan of both musicians as well. That year Dad went above and beyond and bought me a few Peter Gabriel albums and EVERY SINGLE ALBUM that Sting had ever produced up until that time, both as a solo artist and with The Police. He even found an extremely rare album that was a collection of studio recordings of Sting’s very first rehearsal sessions with the other members of The Police right after they formed in 1976!!! Dad has always been extremely skilled at finding rare, obscure recording material by different music artists…it’s one of this skills that he prides himself on as a musician. That particular album is worth some money, and I hope to meet Sting in person and get it autographed by him someday.
In addition to Sting’s entire musical catalog, he also got me albums from every other artist I had listed on my Wish List along with a school cheerleader letter jacket, a brand new piccolo for me to play in marching and orchestral band at school along with my flute, matching blue lava lamps for me and my brother, and a bunch of other stuff that I don’t recall. I heard him mention that he had voluntarily put in a lot of overtime at work in order to spoil us rotten that Christmas. And of course, Grandma helped behind the scenes just like she always did with everything.
That year it was MY turn to spoil my Dad for Christmas. I had begun my new job working for the government earlier that year and was making really good money. So that Christmas I went hog wild and spoiled EVERYONE in the family that year, especially Grandma and Dad. That’s the year that I gave Grandma the big illuminated outdoor Christmas statues, which now sit on my own outdoor porch area. And I spoiled Dad by giving him a large box filled with DVD collection sets of his favorite TV shows, both old and modern. Dad had been involved in a horrible auto accident right before Christmas that year and was still in recovery at Christmastime. So I’m sure the DVD collections of his favorite shows helped him pass the time while he was stuck at home recovering from his injuries. I spent right around $1,000 on Christmas gifts for the family that year, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
My kitties, Bailey and Lexi, were spoiled by Santa that year, too. They both had a Christmas stocking filled with toys and treats (that they actually opened themselves) along with some large wrapped gifts under our tree (which they also opened all by themselves!).
What’s funny about this is that skunk toy quickly became one of the cats’ favorite toys, and Lexi still plays with it to this day. After eight years of being chewed on and carried around, that skunk is starting to look pretty rough!!
And of course, no holiday family fathering would be complete without The Infamous Uncle Mark and his special brand of insanity…..
I was still working for the government that year and had since been promoted to full-time Program Representative I, so I was still spoiling my family and my furbabies rotten at Christmas. Bailey and Lexi made out like bandits that year…..
And once again, it wouldn’t be Christmastime in our family without Uncle Mark doing something weird and crazy. That was the year he began wearing his “Ebenezer Scrooge” top hat, glasses, and sweatshirt at Christmas. He even wears it to his company Christmas parties.
On a more serious note, we had a very beautiful White Christmas that year. God I miss that house so much!!!!!
That was my final Christmas in Illinois before I moved to Florida the following year. It was also the Christmas that crazy Uncle Mark got my little cousin Adriana a toy dog that poops. When he handed the gift to Adi and told her to “make sure she opened it in front of her parents”, we KNEW it was gonna be good!! And of course, there was no way we WEREN’T going to get plenty of videos of us demonstrating how the toy worked…..
I don’t know which is funnier about that video: the pooping toy dog itself or the various comments about it from my relatives in the background.
This was the last Christmas I spent with my family in my home with Grandma. The following year right before the 2015 Holiday Season, Grandma suddenly passed away at home and our house and property were sold. It was a perfect two-week long holiday vacation at home for me, and I will never forget it.
This is a little video I took after I woke up on the morning of Christmas Eve. Lexi was snuggled up in bed with me, of course, and Grandma had put the old “Victorian Christmas Tree” in my bedroom right next to my bed so that I could enjoy it. I now own that tree and set it up in my own home each Christmas now in remembrance of Grandma and Great-Great-Aunt Alberta. Many of the ornaments on it are from the 1910’s. The large sized Victorian doll standing next to the tree also belongs to me now. I keep it displayed in my bedroom year round in my home here in Florida.
This was a difficult Christmas for me because I wasn’t able to make it home to spend the holiday with my family as I had planned and hoped for. So instead, I had to make do on my own here in Florida and enjoy it with Lexi instead. I was DEFINITELY missing Grandma and my old home yesterday while thinking back on the happy memories I had in that house every Christmas for over three decades. I was very bummed out about not being able to see my family, but I did my best to spoil Lexi and make sure she had a good Christmas. She had a full-sized stocking filled with gifts from Santa that she opened herself, and it was the cutest thing to watch.
She spent much of Christmas Day carrying her new toys back and forth around the house in her mouth. I had planned to take a Beach Day for myself on Christmas Day, but I ended up not going because it looked as if it might suddenly start raining. So I spent a good part of the day catching up on some badly needed rest. Next Christmas is a long way away, but I am committed to making sure that I will spend it with my family, no matter what it takes.