Memories of Christmas (And a Giveaway!)

I have such great childhood memories of the Christmas season. My mom loves the holiday, and her enthusiasm was infectious to me as a child.

She had wonderful collections of ornaments that she carefully stored wrapped in their original packaging. She would take each one out and tell us the story of where it came from and who gave it to her. She purposed to create similar collections for each of us kids.

Mom made delicious recipes that she prepared only at holiday time, like her fantastic dessert called Toffee Dream Pie. It’s definitely worth arm wrestling over the last piece.

We decorated cookies together. We consulted over how best to adorn the tree. We brought out the best dishes and polished the silver together. Overall, mom really included us kids in the festivities.

Our life was pretty full back then. My dad worked several jobs; my mom taught college classes at night and cared for us children by day, and for several years my parents also ran their own business in addition to all their other responsibilities.

But come Christmas time, Mom always made an effort to bring beauty and excitement to our home. She taught all of us, even her very hyperactive boys, to enjoy a quiet evening in the dark, listening to carols and watching the fire flicker and the tree lights blink. She was quick to extend hospitality to anyone without a place to go, and set a great example to us of feeding a crowd. As a result, all five of us children love to feed people and enjoy welcoming others to our homes.

Today, she handknits gorgeous stockings for our kids, following her own mother’s traditions. (I keep telling my sisters that one of them needs to learn how to knit for the next generation. Maybe now that knitting is hip for men, we can convince one of our hyperactive brothers to take up the mantle….)

My ever-creative and industrious mom recently designed a beautiful, customizable, handknit stocking. It features a simple and elegant Christmas tree that you can embellish with suitable button and charm “ornaments” as your child grows. Perhaps a little duck button for Baby’s first year and later a baseball button when he hits Little League. The options are endless as you create a miniature Christmas tree ornament “collection” on a stocking. And if you’re a minimalist, you can just leave it as is.

True to her trademark generosity, my mom is sharing the wealth with you all! Today’s giveaway features two of these beautiful stockings (teddy bear not included). TWO winners will be randomly selected. Each will win ONE stocking. This contest will stay open for 48 hours, until Wednesday at 9 AM CST.

Simply share your favorite Christmas memory (from then or now) in the comments section. How can we make beautiful memories with our families?

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  1. sheila howe says:

    Enter me in…your mom does such a great job and these are very darling. Although I have four children and you are only giving away two! Ha…you’re mom might have to go into business. 🙂

  2. sockiepuppetsmom says:

    Growing up we always spent Christmas with my mother’s family. We would stay up and open gifts after midnight mass and celebrate and party until the early hours of the morning.

  3. Matt and Betty Morris says:

    I am the oldest of eight children, and on Christmas morning Mom and Dad cover the living room entryway with wrapping paper and make all of us kids BUST through the wrapping paper to enter into a living room full of presents and stockings and Christmas music playing. It is something I will never forget and I will pass along to my children. Enter me in the contest!! I love those stockings!

  4. My favorite Christmas memory was when I was in junior high. I was one of five and my eldest sister (then 15) was in a Children’s hospital five hours from our house. Our family had been planning the trip to stay a week with her. But then two days before our trip, my father lost his job. Also the Christmas bonus my family had counted on to get us to visit my sister didn’t exist either.

    That Christmas I have never felt more blessed in my life. People gave so generously to my family so we were still able to make the five hour drive and pay for a hotel for a week. I remember my two younger sister being showered gifts from complete strangers. Also I remember my parents sacrificed what they needed and wanted to bless us and not allow us to see the pain they were going through during this time.

    I know that this was my best Christmas I have ever had because even though we felt like we had lost the world, I had never felt more like a family and loved by them than I did during that Christmas season.

  5. Zimms Zoo says:

    I would love to win one.

    We take the kids each year to North Pole City and let them pick out one ornament for something that was important.

    We write them down and each year they take turns putting on their own ornaments.

    We also buy one family ornament each year.

    We will let them each take their own ornaments when they leave the house.

  6. On Christmas Eve my grandparents would come and stay the night. The next morning we would open presents, then eat breakfast. After that we would all pile up in our van and go to my other grandmothers’ house where we would have a wonderful dinner with the whole family. My Grandma was a wonderful cook, so those memories are so nice today when I make some of her recipes.

  7. intime0 says:

    oh just beautiful…will these be for sale if we dont win????

    My favorite memory was from last year. Every year we do Advent activities. Last year we started reading a book, during our time, called Jothams Journey. It was so good and left us on the edges of our seats. Every day someone would be talking about what was about to happen, even the adults. Waiting for the nights readings and special time was something we all looked forward to.

  8. the christmas candy calendar! Loved those. They doubled as decoration and a special treat. Where is my candy calendar??? I’ll have to call Mom and get it or make new ones. What a sweet memory! Tying the candies on and getting to have one each day. Not a huge fan of hard candy but what a treat!

  9. The Joys of having Boys says:

    Our family enjoys Advent every year. We light the candles and talk about the Christmas story and read from the bible every night after dinner. We also have a wooden nativity ornament calendar that the kids get to participate in. This has been a great way of bonding through this hectic season and slow down to talk about the true meaning.

  10. windycindy says:

    Happy Monday! Your mother is very talented and it is very generous of the two of you to offer her handmade stockings! When I was young, my dad at one time worked 3 jobs to make a living for our family. My mom stayed home with my older brother and sister and me. The only time they used credit was to buy our Christmas gifts from Montgomery Ward. One year, I wanted the “Chatty Cathy” doll more than anything! That Christmas morning, there was Chatty Cathy sitting under our Christmas tree right in front of everything. That was all i received, but I didn’t care. i know the love that was behind my gift. Please enter me in your delightful drawing. Many thanks, Cindi

  11. Rebekah says:

    As I was growing up, my family didn’t have a Christmas tree. We would just enjoy the one at my grandparent’s home. Some of my best memories are from when my sister, brother, and I would spend the night with my grandparents, usually the first weekend of December, and help them put up the tree, decorate the house, and start the baking of Christmas goodies (fudge, peanut brittle, divinity, and lots of other stuff). It was such an exciting time and wonderful bonding with our beloved grandparents.

  12. Courtney says:

    When I was little, my parents would make us stay up in our rooms on Christmas morning until we heard the Christmas music playing. I suspect that’s so they could get everything under the tree, or enjoy a cup of coffee before the kids were all up. Anyhow, one year, my sisters went downstairs without me, and everyone started unwrapping gifts. I sat on the steps and started crying because no one played the Christmas music. A favorite memory? Not at the time, but I laugh over it now. And that was the end of that tradition!

  13. Mrs. Pear says:

    Sometimes I think it is the simple things.

    There are certain desserts I make every year. We do the “dainty tray” which is a tray filled with slices and cookies, and while occasionally there is something new thrown in, it always has the old favorites – I know this because I keep a list!

    Also, I keep my husband’s family tradition of making blond Christmas cake every year (not the gross alcohol soaked one that everyone makes fun of). This year our daughter was 2 and a half, and it was her first year making it – we took pictures and everything. It was a huge deal!

    We also put a new Christmas ornament in the stocking each year. This year I will get to buy two! 🙂 My husband and I also get stockings, but we have quit putting Christmas decorations in them because our tree is getting kind of full, and our parents keep giving us decorations each year – and the kids. So between us and grandparents, each of our children get three decorations a year for their collection. I really need to start a pictorial journal of this!

    Plus every Christmas morning there are cinnamon buns for breakfast (made ahead, frozen, and thawed overnight). Followed by the brunch/lunch of waffles, strawberries, and whip cream!

    Also, we grew up in central Canada, and 3 weeks after we married we moved to Southern California, so now we always barbecue Christmas Eve supper (menu changes), and we girls wear sandals to Christmas Eve service – just because we can!

    Thank you for doing this series, it is such fun, and I am already gleaning helpful hints!

  14. Amanda T says:

    The Christmas after my grandfather died, my aunt put together a little “show” with all of us little ones. She wanted to keep the atmosphere cheerful. We had so much fun practicing and performing our little play. I’ll never forget feeling like we made a difference in Christmas for my dad, aunts and uncles. It had been so long since I thought about that Christmas. Thanks.

  15. We would always make homemade cookies. Even now that my siblings and I have our own kids, we still get together every year and bake. We bake all day and order pizza. We listen to Christmas music and it is so much fun. My girls look forward to it every year. I also remember wearing my new Christmas clothes to church on Christmas morning. I loved that also.

  16. Nae and Clara says:

    Thanks for getting me thinking about Christmas – maybe I can be better prepared this year 🙂 One of my favorite Christmas memories is on Christmas Eve we all got together and played Bingo. Everyone bought a $5 gift and the winner got to pick a gift without knowing what it was. The next person who won could take someone elses gift or choose to open another. This went on until everyone had a gift. We still do this now with all the grandkids participating too.

  17. Heather says:

    My favorite memory was leaving Christmas Eve church with my family, stopping at home to change into pj’s, getting hot chocolate and cookies and then driving around and looking at Christmas lights. This is a tradition we now do with our boys.

  18. I always remember heading to Grandma and Grandpa’s house on Christmas Eve. My cousins and I always struggled to wait while dinner dishes were cleaned up, so being industrious young people, we set up our own Christmas drawing so that we could start opening presents before the presents under the tree were dispersed. And, boy were there presents. My mom was raised as one of twelve, so there were a lot of gifts.

    The stockings are very nice. I like the idea of using charms to decorate the tree as the child grows.

    If I don’t win, does she offer them for sale?

  19. ScrapCrazy says:

    My favorite memory is when my oldest daughter was 5. I was making a Santa suit for a friend who made home visits every year. Every day I worked on it while my daughter was at school or sleeping, so that she wouldn’t see it. When it was finished, one of the children he visited was mine. When he showed up at our house, her excitement was price-less.

  20. I have three brothers and Christmas was always a huge holiday in our house. My mom went all out decorating every room in the house.

    Every year (even now that we’re all grown) she buys each of us an ornament. Sometimes they’re in reference to a big achievement in the past year, or sometimes they were just in reference to something we liked (a favorite cartoon or something). She let us open 2 gifts on Christmas Eve. They were always a special pair of Christmas pajamas, and our ornament.

    As we each grew older and left home, we took our collection of ornaments to start our new collection with our own families.

    Now that I have a son, I’m continuing the tradition and my mother is as well! He’ll have double the number of ornaments many years from now when he moves out on his own.

  21. Rich, Stacey & Lillian says:

    We always spent christmas morning at home with just the four of us. Later in the day we would meet up with extended family, but early morning was always just us. That is something I’m starting this year with my own family now.

  22. Kristinia - Loving Heart Mommy says:

    The stockings are lovely, I’d love for the chance to win! My son Gabriel (17months old) and baby girl Helana (due September 7th) would love seeing these by the tree this year!

    My favorite Christmas Memory is:
    The arts and crafts projects we would do to count the days until Christmas, first it was the red/green construction paper chains, then the beading of the garland (popcorn, gumdrops, dots candy) then the advent calendar (always such fun), painting nativity scenes, and the decorating! We usually had a real tree and our parents would let us open gifts Christmas Eve, Christmas Day was more of food and fun and reading the true story of Christmas from the Bible!

  23. Kimberly says:

    Every year during the holiday season we would attend a huge Christmas concert that two of my uncles participated in. I was always enthralled, it was one of the few things I had gone to that was held in a ‘real’ theater, downtown! And every year, as we would walk outside on the city streets afterwards, it would ALWAYS start snowing. It was just magic.

  24. JessieLeigh says:

    It made me smile to read all of these beautiful memories… what a fun collection of stories!

    My favorite memory growing up is how my siblings and I would all pile into one bedroom on Christmas Eve. Normally, none of us shared a room… We would whisper and giggle until our eyes drooped and then we’d wake at about 4 am and the excitment would build until it was (FINALLY) 6 and we were allowed to go downstairs!

    Now that I have my own family, I’m working hard to build “separate” special traditions to allow for the celebration of my daughter’s bday. She arrived on Christmas Eve and I’m bound and determined that she never feels forgotten! (And, I must say, I’m sick to death of the whole “half-birthday” suggestion… : ))

  25. Briana Almengor says:

    My favorite Christmas memories center around the Christmas tree…I’m one of those who loves going out to the farm to cut one down fresh. I’ve dragged my babies, toddlers and now pre-schoolers out in the coldest of temps. to get the perfect tree. Thank GOd no one in my family is allergic to real pine; I’d be heart broken. 🙂

  26. We alwyas got to open one present from my mom and dad on Christmas Eve. They always gave us Christmas pajamas for us to wear on Christmas morning. I’ve started this tradition with my own family and my mom still gives us pj’s on Christmas Eve!!

  27. Your Mom is so talented! My favorite memory is of thinking I heard Santa – in Australia where I grew up, Santa leaves a filled pillowcase at the end of the bed.

  28. What beautiful stockings, please enter me in!
    My favorite Christmas memory is last year when we decided not to do gifts or go anywhere because our little Georgia Noel was born on December 19th. We just spent the day as a family and praised God for our little miracle.

  29. My first time to your blog…my favorite childhood memory..the year my mom took my brother and I out of school for a one month visit with my grandfather (we live in Indiana, he lived in California) during Christmas. It was the first time I was ever around my grandfather. We had a wonderful Christmas with him. He died three months later. I felt blessed to have had that one month to get to know him.

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