Tuesday, December 13, 2016

The Ghosts of Christmas Past by Patricia Forsythe


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.

 

 

20 comments:

  1. Thank you for sharing some of your Christmas memories, Patricia. I hope you have a wonderful Christmas, despite not being able to be with your children and their families.

    Best wishes for the holiday season!

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    1. Thanks, Kate, and Merry Christmas to your family, too.

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  2. Thank you for this lovely reminder, Patricia, that Christmas is indeed all about celebrating family. We have a tradition now, that before beginning our dinner we have a toast to all family members, past and present. It's a way of including all in our celebration and remembering them on that special day. All the best this season and in 2017.

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    1. Oh, Janice, that's a wonderful idea. I'm going to do that. Thank you, and Merry Christmas.

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  3. Oh Patty! Your post brought a tear to my eye. I know this last year has been rough. I'm so glad you're finding the Christmas spirit. I've been quite the bah-humbug over Christmas the last few years. I haven't put up a tree in a while because the kids were grown and gone, but this year we have a grandbaby in the house so we put one up. As I was going through the boxes of ornaments, most of them were ones my kids made. Now I'm mad at myself that I've neglected a tree the last few years because getting each one brought back so many memories.

    We should have a Heartwarming get-together during the Christmas break. I'll bring chocolate chip cookies and cocoa!

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    1. We should definitely have a get-together. I'm glad you got out your decorations and put up a tree this year. Having a baby in the house makes all the difference. Merry Christmas!

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  4. Patti, I know how tough this year has been for you. I'm glad you're able to get somewhat in the Christmas spirit. It's good to remember those funny stories about past Christmases. May this year be good for everyone.

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    1. Thanks, Roz, and Merry Christmas to you, too!

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  5. Oh, oh, oh, I'm getting a jogging suit for Mike. I would love for him to run around the backyard instead of in the house. Great idea!
    Hmmm, you mean food is not supposed to turn purple?
    You were a great big sister. The best ever.

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    1. Thanks, Pam. I appreciate that. I hope you and your family have a wonderful Christmas.

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  6. Hi, Patricia! I'm so glad you set out to find Christmas spirit. I think it's good to recommit ourselves every day - not just at Christmas - to find the good, especially when those we love have gone on ahead. But that just means they're in a special position to help us find the good! The purple dish is hilarious. Have you used that in a book yet? I'll bet your sister is laughing about that with my sister, whose cooking often brought out the fire department. Runs in the family.

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  7. Some years it is harder to get in the spirit - hugs to you, Patti!

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  8. With each ornament you hang, your sister is right there with you...in your heart. You're so right about the true meaning of Christmas, Patricia. It's a time for family, those with us now and remembering those who've gone on to a better place. Wishing you peace and joy in the new year.

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  9. It sounds like this will be a hard Christmas, and I'm sorry for that. I love the Christmas ornaments my son makes in school. I look forward to them every year. I think my happiest Christmas memory was when my son was 3, and we had a nativity set with the traditional dark-skinned wiseman. Since my husband is also very dark, we asked my son who the people were, and he went off naming Mary and Baby Jesus, and he picked up the dark wiseman and said, "That's the daddy." So I pointed to the traditional Joseph and said, "Who's that?" and he said, "That's the Grandpa." LOL! So I switched the myrrh with the lantern, and our nativity set has been exactly that ever since! :D

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  10. Patricia, So sorry about the loss of your precious sister. I love that you are still trying to find the joy in this Holiday Season. My most cringe-worthy Christmas memory happened just a couple years into my marriage. We had my in-laws over for Christmas dinner and I miscalculated the time it would take to cook a prime rib (because I had two). Dinner was three hours late. I was humiliated then as a young bride. Now I would just laugh and serve some cheese and crackers while we waited.

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  11. Patricia, so sorry about your sister. I'm glad you put up the tree, and thanks for sharing your memories. I'm fascinated with that purple casserole.

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  12. So sorry to hear about your sister, Patricia. You did the right thing by digging out those Christmas decorations. I, like you, have a habit of rabbiting things away and forgetting that they are there. There have been times, I have opened drawers or moved furniture only to find a forgotten present! Hey, I figure what's so bad about getting a random gift in March?

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  13. I love the memories, but am sorry for your loss. It adds bittersweetness to the season.

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