When I think of Christmas Eve, I think of the late Holland and Louise Jackson and the fabulous party they hosted for generations on the night before Christmas at their Thomaston Street home. It was amazing.In the weeks before the big event, many of us would go help prepare for the party. We would help put up the Christmas tree, decorate it, polish silver and brass and polish off all sorts of other chores.The party always drew a huge crowd. Adults stayed upstairs and the kids were sent downstairs. Many of those kids, who are now adults, have told me they snuck their first beer or got their first kiss at that party. It made for many great memories. It was a great family event.When it was over, we would walk down the street to the 11 p.m. Christmas Eve service at First Methodist Church.As for Christmas mornings, I don’t really remember any specific gift I got except for an electric football game that did not live up to the hype from the TV commercial. Those little players never went in the right direction, the game was noisy and it had an electrical fire smell that worried mama.I do know I got almost everything I ever asked for except that mini-bike. I have great memories of waking up to find Santa had visited and the treasure trove left under the tree for me, my two brothers and little sister.I remember the turkey and dressing my mama and grandma made and the little Swiss confections called shankleas my grandmother Geiger made and brought in a little tin. I remember football games in the yard with my brothers, cousins and neighbors after the feast was done. Often new footballs and jerseys were ruined when it was over.I remember the joys of Christmas once our daughters were born. There were the elves on the shelf and their antics, Barbie dolls, American girl dolls, doll houses, Barbie cars, soccer balls, Lily dresses and bikes and trampolines to be assembled. The presents matured as the girls did and they got more grown up things. Thanks primarily to their mother, they almost always got what they wanted with the exception of one lump of coal that Santa left to teach a behavioral lesson. It worked.This is the time for Christmas movies and they are available on the tube in great number. As I watch them I notice that, no matter how silly they are or how far-fetched the plot is, they all end up being about family.First and foremost, Christmas is the celebration of the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Secondarily, it is about family. Keep your family close this Christmas and keep those who are no longer with us close in your mind.Christmas is about family and all those precious memories.
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