wonderful Christmas mornings with my parents and my two little sisters. It didn't all begin on Christmas day, however. There were preparations that had to be taken care of before that.
At some point in December, my family usually hopped in the car and took a drive to pick out the most special Christmas tree we could find. This adventure usually occurred at night (I'm not sure why). After we got home my father would go out into the garage and get the tree stand. My mother would retrieve the lights and the ornaments. I remember one year we bought a strand of those really neat "bubble lights." I think it was the same year we got the Lava Lamp.
The aroma of pine began filling the house as we decorated the tree. After the lights and the ornaments were arranged, the final exercise was stringing the "icicles" on the tree. If you're not familiar with those, they were thin strips that resembled very thin, and shiny, aluminum foil. There were millions of them hanging on the tree when we finished.
Then the waiting began. But the winter days passed, and Christmas morning finally arrived. And what a wonderland of beautifully wrapped gifts we discovered during those wee hours of the morning as we crept down the hall and into the living room in our pajamas to see if Santa had come yet. And he had!
I'm embarrassed to say that the tears are welling up as I write this. I'm kind of a sentimental old guy. It's just such a beautiful memory of when we were all together and shared a very special time in our lives. My mother loved Christmas so much. I remember her face as we opened our presents on Christmas morning. I can still see her sweet smile as she watched her children's joy. And shared it.
When I began writing this, my intention was to include all the great Christmas presents I received over the years. But I've changed my mind. They weren't that expensive anyway, since we didn't' have a lot of extra money to spend. But they were enough to make us happy. In fact, I wouldn't trade my memories of one Christmas at 111 Peck Drive for all the money in the world. After all, Christmas isn't about the amount of money in your pocket. It's about the love in your heart.