Christmas is my favorite holiday. I love the true meaning, the birth of Jesus Christ, and I love the focus on family. Growing up, we didn’t have a lot of money, so I may not have gotten the biggest, best presents all of the time, but the memories of Christmas were priceless, and I love passing that on to my kids.
My favorite Christmas present growing up I actually received long before Christmas, but with the help of a neighbor, my parents made Christmas day memorable. My dad had done some work for a guy and instead of paying in cash, he talked my dad into taking a registered thoroughbred. Her registered name was Red Barn Witch, but I called her April. Because my parents didn’t get paid money, they told me this would be my Christmas present. I was a little bummed, but my friend Glenda made Christmas morning into a treasure hunt. I did get a pair of cowboy boots that were a surprise in the treasure hunt, but the end led me to April in the back yard. I loved the treasure hunt and it made the day very memorable and fun. I tried to make those sorts of memories for my kids, as well.
When my son was about 8, my husband really got into snow machining. My son loved to go with him and spend time with him, but he really wanted his own machine, too. We found an old used machine for a great deal and hid it at the ranch with a red bow on it. After spending the morning at the grandparents' house where he thought the best thing he got were his cowboy boots and hat, we pulled up to the ranch and he saw the machine in the driveway. The look on his face was priceless, and I thought he was going to have a panic attack. He asked if it was his and flew out of the truck when he heard us say yes. This was the beginning of his passion for this winter sport. I can say that probably was the highlight of all of his Christmas presents.
My daughter had some sweet memories that she shared with me the other night. When she was five or six, she had written to Santa and told him she wanted two things. The first was to be a world champion barrel racer and the second was a bell like the one on Polar Express from Santa’s sleigh. So Santa wrote her a letter that year explaining that being a world champion barrel racer is something you earn, not something he can give. He told her if she worked really hard, she could achieve that goal. He also left a box with a bell in it. She told me she took that bell everywhere with her for a very long time. It was something so simple, and she loved it. If only she was that easy to please now. Now, since she puts in the hard work, she gets the horse to help her work her way to her dream of being a world champion barrel racer.
From huge presents to simple, sweet things, I love all of our Christmas memories. I know that even if we can’t afford fancy things, the love and memories our families make always will be in our hearts. Have a merry Christmas and enjoy making memories with your families.