Friday Fun is a group post from the writers of the NHWN blog. Each week, we’ll pose and answer a different, get-to-know-us question. We hope you’ll join in by providing your answer in the comments.
QUESTION: What is a favorite holiday memory?
Wendy Thomas: I know that I’m going to sound like I’m pulling the age card here, but when I was growing up, we didn’t have so much holiday “noise.” We had less distraction which made us pay attention to what we had – like the rubber Santa with his wooden sleigh decoration that signaled the beginning of the season.
Everyone waited for the night that the holiday specials were on and we all watched them (and then talked about them endlessly at school to discover those who were still afraid of Rudolph’s abominable snowman.)
We had large colored bulbs on our trees that got so hot you could melt the tinsel. Eventually those lights went to smaller blinking colored ones over the years. I thought it was sacrilege the year my sister set up an all-white light Christmas tree in her house.
Christmas Eve, we were allowed to open one gift and then were sent to bed to try and stay up all long as we could hoping to hear Santa’s sleigh. One year, I swore to all my brothers and sisters that I had.
Cookies were always part of the holidays and hot chocolate with marshmallows and a candy cane to stir it all was a very special holiday treat.
And as I got older, my favorite Christmas special was the Homecoming Walton Christmas one. I’m still and will always be a sap for a Christmas story with a gooey, happy ending.
My favorite memory revolved around the once a year Rudolph viewing. I had seen it maybe once before, or it may have even been the first time. Anyway, I got a bloody nose. And so I had to lie back (it was pretty bad), and couldn’t watch the TV. So my father took a mirror off the wall, and held it over me, tilted toward the TV so I could watch the show in the mirror. For so many reasons, one of my favorite memories ever.
Lisa J. Jackson: I had ‘autograph books’ growing up from trips to Disney World. I was the shyest kid on the planet, but when I was able to get a Disney character to sign my little book I must have had a smile that lit up the world. And one Christmas, I had an idea…
My fondest Christmas memory was leaving an autograph book out for Santa. In the morning, I had proof, in ink, that Santa existed. In no way did that signature look like something my mother or father or brother could have come up with — it was truly Santa and he took the time, not only to eat the cookies and drink the milk, but to write me a note and leave his signature for me. I still have that little book somewhere; a treasured moment and possession for sure.
Jamie Wallace: I first rode a pony when I was only three-and-a-half years old. Though the depth of my passion waxed and waned over the years, my love of horses never left me entirely. Just this year, a few months after starting my daughter riding, I returned to the equestrian sport of my youth and am now taking lessons again (… from the same woman who taught me when I was a child!).
I think I was probably eleven or twelve when I first began riding at Ascot Stables. Though it was an expense somewhat beyond my family’s modest means, my parents made sure that I was able to continue with my lessons, even when money was really tight. Each year, the barn ran a “holiday lease” program for the week of Christmas vacation. Kids who participated got to come to the barn and ride as often as they liked for the whole week. It was the next best thing to having your own pony and I desperately wanted to lease a fuzzy little pony – Lyrico or Clipper or Tally. But, I understood – even at that age – what a big expense it would be, so hardly dared to hope.
On that Christmas morning, after all the other presents had been opened, my parents gave me a small box about the size of a deck of cards. Inside was a brass plaque printed with the words “Ascot Riding Stables Christmas Break Riding Pass” printed on it. (I still have the plaque.) I could hardly believe it. I was going to have my very own pony for a whole week!
Now that I am a mom, I finally understand what it feels like to want to give your child her heart’s desire and how much you’ll go through to be able to see that smile on her face. I actually get a little choked up even now when I think of how difficult it must have been for my parents to make my dream a reality. It was a very special Christmas, indeed – one I will never forget.
Deborah Lee Luskin: I don’t know if this qualifies as my favorite holiday memory, but it’s certainly the most lasting one: After putting out carrots (for the reindeer), and pretzels, milk and cookies for Santa, we all went off to bed, full of excitement, so I doubt I was actually asleep when my two older brothers told me to get out of bed and follow them to the top of the stairs, because they wanted me to be disabused about Santa Claus once and for all. And sure enough, there was Dad, sitting in his armchair, eating Santa’s snacks.