2016 has been a wild roller coaster of a year for much of the world. For me, it included many high points, and one devastating low point with the loss of my sweet younger sister. Even though I’m still grieving for her, and will be for a long while, life goes on and at the end of the year comes Christmas. It’s true that it’s a holiday that has become wildly commercialized, but at its heart, Christmas is still about celebrating with family.
My children are scattered around the country and I won’t be traveling to visit them this year, but they were very much on my mind as I pulled out the boxes of decorations. I didn’t feel much like putting up a tree, but I decided to do it, anyway, if only to cheer myself up a little. This turned out to be a good idea because looking at the ornaments my kids made when they were small brought smiles and happy memories. They also triggered thoughts of past Christmases. Some were happy and some made me cringe.
One haunting Christmas ghost memory is the time I forgot to wrap my oldest son’s gifts. On Christmas morning, they were still hidden away in various corners of my closet and I had to keep running upstairs to unearth them as I recalled what I’d bought for him. Fortunately, he’s very laid-back and good-natured, and had come to expect this kind of craziness from his mother.There was also the year my daughter, aged five, received sweat pants and a shirt with an adorable lamb on the front. I made the mistake of telling my literal-minded girl that it was a jogging suit, so she spent Christmas day jogging around the backyard.
By a stroke of luck, I think my kids were too young at the time to remember a new side dish I tried to make one year. It turned purple in the baking dish. I don’t recall what was in it, but none of the ingredients were that color and I have no idea how the combination turned the amazing hue it did. Needless to say, we didn’t eat it.
Happy or cringe-worthy, I treasure my Christmas memories, and I’m sure you do, too. Please share some of yours. Here’s wishing you a Merry Christmas, and the happiest New Year.
Patricia Forsythe is the author of twenty-five books for Harlequin, with many more to come. In her Oklahoma Girls series, At Odds With the Midwife is currently available. The Husband She Can’t Forget will be available in February 2017, and His Twin Baby Surprise in May 2017.