Here are a few of my personal favorites from years gone by...
Christmas 1975. I was about Willie's age (that's me on the far right, distracted by wrapping paper and bows). We were at Grandma H's. That's her in the back - a wonderful lady who is sorely missed. The little tykes beside me are my cousins Brian & Shawna. They were a bit older and evidently knew the presents would still be there even if they briefly looked away from the tree.
Check out my stylin' faux fur collar. Love it!
A few years later... here I am with my Dad. He's reading the Christmas story (a tradition in our house before any gifts could be opened). That doll in my arms is "My Friend Mandy", the most cherished doll of my childhood. You can't tell it here, but our dresses match.
Here I am with my first set of Little House books. I knew the stories inside-out, but had only ever read library copies until this day. Oh, but those books brought me so much joy! Someday I'll probably tell you about my die-hard appreciation for all things Laura Ingalls Wilder, but not today.
Admittedly, this picture is not my best (boy-short hair, pre-braces teeth & adolescent skin), but I do so love the image of my little brother David in his suspenders looking over my shoulder. What a sweetie-pie! And, fun now too because I can see that my sweet little Wills looks a lot like his Uncle Dave.
Fast-forward to 2009... Here's a pic of my darling Willie giving a big hug to Moose (or my home-made attempt at Moose anyway - see sidebar). We truly had a wonderful Christmas, made all the better thanks to this little fellow's contagious enthusiasm for life & all it's little surprises.
Other favorite holiday memories include the year I got my first record player, the time we had Christmas at Grandma & Grandpa B's but they didn't have a tree so we decorated a hanging fern, my first Christmas with Dan, the year that he wrapped a bunch of empty boxes because I said that the tree made me feel sad after all the presents were opened, and of course last year when we had our brand new baby to share it all with.
As I look back at my 30-plus Christmases, they all share one very important thing: Love. No matter what the gifts were (or weren't), whether the tree was real or artificial, what the weather was like or where we celebrated... the love of family and friends has always been there. I've been blessed. My family has been blessed. I sure hope that you feel the same way.