Caroline Clemmons–ten days and counting.

Another oldie from Christmas last year. Giveaways over with.

 Our next guest, romance writer Miss Caroline Clemmons, is waiting by the fire to assail you with her memories of Christmas past. 😉 *Steps inside, closes door* What’s that? Yes, I promise, I’ll douse the flames before Santa shows up.

Ah, Caroline, good. We have guests waiting to meet you, dear, so anytime you’re ready, the floor is yours.

Ten Days and Counting…

by Caroline Clemmons

Yes, I’m as eager for Christmas Eve as any six-year-old kid. Anticipation swirls through our home. I’m a big list maker, so I’m checking off the list as if I were the real Mrs. Claus. Wait, maybe I am. LOL Tree up and decorated, cookies made, candies made, gifts wrapped (thank goodness for gift bags!) and under the tree, stockings hung by the chimney with care. Now I can relax and enjoy the holiday. Uh-oh! The cards, the Christmas cards aren’t addressed and stamped. Ah, well, that’s for this afternoon.

What are your favorite Christmas memories and traditions? Are they from your childhood, handed down for generations, or did they originate with you?

My parents each had dismal holidays as they grew up. When my dad was four, his mom died on Christmas Day. He and his siblings were never allowed to celebrate the time because my grandfather thought it would be disrespectful to Dad’s mom. My mom grew up very poor, and her stepfather showed marked favoritism to his own children. One year when my grandmother was ill, she sent my step-grandfather to town with the money to buy gifts for my mom, her sister, and her stepsister. Unfortunately, Mom’s stepfather bought her an orange, her sister and apple, and his daughter a doll. Sad year for my mom and her sister.

I don’t want to be Debbie Downer, so please let me tell you the happy result of the bad times my parents endured. As a child, I was always given a wonderful Christmas. (Actually, I had a wonderful childhood.) We didn’t have much money, but my parents made certain I didn’t realize it. Except for a Red Ryder B-B gun (my mom and dad really did say I’d put my eye out), I received everything I asked for from Santa. So did my brother–except for the year he asked for a pool table. Where he thought we’d put one in our small house, I have no idea. Anyway, Christmas was always a BIG day following a month filled with dreams and anticipation.

My favorite childhood Christmas was when I was three. I remember everything about that Christmas Eve, even where I sat and who was there. That year, we lived in Southern California and the Christmas Eve celebration was at our home. All the relatives were there. Santa arrived with gifts for each of the children. Imagine how impressed I was that Buster Reed knew Santa personally and arranged to pick him up at the airport just for us! Wow, who knew one of my favorite relatives had that kind of pull? Years later, I learned Santa was really Buster’s older brother, Roy, in a very realistic red velvet suit. Buster, Roy, and their brother Chester also had a sparse upbringing. Buster knew how to overcome adversity, and he determined to spread joy wherever he went…and he did for all of his life.

Fast-forward almost twenty-five years and my husband, our eldest daughter, and I were visiting the Reed family for Christmas. Once again, Santa appeared, this time crawling through the Reed’s two-way fireplace so that it appeared he’d come down the chimney. His appearance was so realistic that the college-aged non-family guests couldn’t believe Santa hadn’t slid down the chimney. The suit may have been the same one, or a very good copy, but this time Herschel Johnson wore it. My daughter’s eyes were as wide as mine must have been years and years earlier. She didn’t even look at the doll Santa gave her until he had to leave for the North Pole.

The point is, traditions don’t have to be many generations old. We can build our own traditions that we choose to observe each year. We have the opportunity to build new memories as we embrace the old ones. What traditions are your favorites? What traditions began with your generation?

Merry Christmas to you and yours!

*wipes tears from eyes* Oh, Caroline! How funny. Thanks so much for coming by with some Christmas Cheer. 😉 Folks, if you’d like to learn more about Caroline and her fine books, check out her website at: