The Magic of Christmas

Harrison - La Grange Park, Illinois
Entered on September 29, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: family

The Magic of Christmas

Everybody has a special holiday memory they cherish. From a delicious city ham at Grandma’s dinner table to a slippery afternoon at the local sledding hill—the one that is so popular that by midday the snow is packed as tight as a can of spam—there’s no better time than Christmas time. Christmas is a time to honor the birth of Jesus, but to me it is that and more. It is a time to follow traditions, to revel in the spirit of a new year, to cherish your family, and to make memories.

I believe that Christmas makes memories like none other. For many years, I only saw my grandparents on my dad’s side when they came up to either my aunt and uncle’s house or my house for a Christmas visit. I always treasured those times because we could make few visits to them in Hot Springs, Arkansas; visits I unfortunately usually marred by sickness. But during their annual Christmas visits, our extended family got to spend quality time sitting around a fireplace, idly chatting about seasons past and opening presents.

But ever since both my grandpa passed away about a decade ago, and my grandma a few years later, Christmas changed. We still met with my aunt and uncle every year, and spent Christmas day with my mom’s big extended family, but it was obvious to me that something was missing. I took it for granted, being so little, that my grandparents were perennially visiting on Christmas Eve. But once they were gone, I realized how important they had been to our holiday celebration.

Since then, I’ve adjusted. I’ve spent my holidays with my Grandma on my mom’s side, and my many aunts and uncles and cousins which, don’t get me wrong, is a fantastic annual celebration. But the memories of my other grandparents gradually become far off visions, like dreams.

At least, they were until this past Christmas. You see, this past December we dug up some of the old home movies my dad took of those Christmas gatherings from years ago. It was watching those films, seeing my grandma and grandpa again for the first time in years, that brought once again to the forefront of my mind the happiness I felt when my grandparents visited. Seeing them in those movies reminded me of how much I missed them, their presents, the many unique phrases I use that were passed on through my father to me, the way they always knew exactly what I wanted for Christmas, and above all, the way I had always loved visiting them and seeing them, even though I was only five years old. These memories afforded by the family togetherness that comes with the holiday season, and the family ties it forms above the presents, and the shopping, and the gimmicky T.V. specials. Christmas provides moments that last forever, ones that in my case constitute some of my few memories I have of my grandparents.