For my second Christmas giveaway, I'll randomly draw one name from the comments to win a copy of What She Craves, which doesn't actually release until next Tuesday.
When I was growing up things were tough for my parents. They both worked a lot of hard hours, but there wasn't a lot of money. Actually, there was barely any. Now that I'm older I can see that they had to be pretty creative with the budget just to make ends meet. With 4 kids, three of them big, hungry boys, I can imagine that Christmas was a stressful time for them. Keeping a roof over our heads and food on the table kept them on their toes, so the holidays must have been esp. rough.
Still, I never knew that then. To me, Christmas was magic. Seeing the tree filled with all our homemade ornements, smelling my grandma's wonderful cookies in the air, counting down the days until the big day, that's what Christmas was for me. Big smiles and lots of fun.
We had our little traditions in my family too. We always watched the Charlie Brown Christmas, mom and dad always waited until after we were asleep the night before to wrap all the presents and put them under the tree. I think it was their way of keeping our child's heart alive. When morning came, my brother Bobby would come into my room and nudge me awake, then whisper, "Sissy, wake up, Santa came!" The four of us would head out to the family room and just stare at all the presents that had magically appeared overnight. After mom and dad woke up and had their coffee, we'd get the go ahead to dig in.
The truth is there weren't tons of spectacular gifts in those days. We didn't get the latest and greatest toys. I remember teddy bears and dolls with pull strings. Sometimes new mittens or a new coat. Still, each present with it's colorful paper wrapped wih a parent's love sent a flutter of excitement through me.
Now that I'm a mother, I can look back on those days and realize just how hard my parents worked to give us kids as many happy memories as possible. To maybe give us what they never had. Even when I was older and in high school, my brother would wake me on Christmas morning and whisper those wonderful words, "Sissy, wake up, Santa was here!".
Today, I still get excited on Christmas morning. My heart still flutters when I see the presents under the tree. The only difference is that now my husband and I are the ones staying up late and wrapping the night before. We're the ones keeping the magic alive for our girls. And I have my mom and dad to thank for that.
Mom, if you're reading this, and I know you are because no matter what I do you're always there to support me, I want you to know that I appreciate how hard you both worked. You kept the magic burning bright for all of us. Thank you for always making it special, even when things looked pretty bleak. I love you both!