1985 – The first one I remember well is the year I was 7. I remember the big tree in the living room, right in front of the large picture window. My mom helped me to sew my own stocking that year, since she was teaching me to sew. I think for the rest of the kids she used their own socks. Ha. She also watched the movie “Alice in Wonderland” with me. It was on t.v. and played over two nights. I remember sleeping under the tree with the other kids on Christmas eve, and trying to peek on my gifts when my mom wasn’t there. I would open just a small part, trying to see what it was, yet still wanting to be surprised. That was the year I got a kit that taught sewing, knitting, and embroidery. Mom taught me how to do all three, and over the years, I practiced and got good at them. Now I don’t have much time to sew or knit, but I used to really enjoy creating things like that.
1986 – I remember our first Christmas in Mexico when I was 8. We were living in a large house with several other large families, so instead of a mountain of gifts under the tree, each child received a bag full of small gifts.
1987 – The year I was 9 we couldn’t get a real tree since pines don’t grow in Mexico, so we had a small table-top tree. Now I realize that my mom probably got that one so that it could be put up high enough to be out of the reach of the little kids. I remember getting a set of knitting needles and a ball of yarn that year. I also remember buying my mom a necklace and seeing that she had already opened it and was wearing it when she had gone in her room to wrap our gifts instead of waiting to open it later.
1988 – The year I was 10 (still in Mexico) we somehow managed to get a real tree but since real trees weren’t common there, we couldn’t get a stand for it so we stuck it in a plant pot with dirt and all. That tree had a lot of homemade decorations on it, including strings of popcorn.
1990 – The year I was 12 we were back in Canada. I remember getting a large suitcase – a suitcase I still have to this day. It is all scratched up and banged up from my many travels, but I must say, Samsonite is the way to go. This one has lasted me so long and has never gotten broken. I now used it for when we travel anywhere with the kids. I just pack everyone’s stuff in it so that we don’t have to carry 4 bags.
1997 – The year I was in Equador for Christmas was the first I spent away from my family. I was 19 and had been living in Colombia. I was there on a tourist visa which was only good for 2 months. I had already renewed it once and a new law had been passed that said I couldn’t renew it again until the new year, so I had to leave the country. Since I still wanted to stay in Colombia, I went to Equador to pass the time until the new year. I was there 4 months. The couple I stayed with had 4 little boys and I would help take care of them. I think that was the first year I bought my own gifts. Mom had sent me some money and I remember going shopping for some clothes and shoes.
1998 – The next year I decided I wanted to visit my family in Canada for the holidays, so I did. At the time they were living in an old farm house that had only one bathroom and it was cold there.
1999 – The next Christmas, when I was 21, we were in Mexico again. We had just landed there only one month before so the house was still being set up. We didn’t have much but it was fun. We got a real tree (they had begun importing them from the states) but it was dry by the time we got it and the needles were falling off the tree, but we didn’t care. It was real and all that mattered to us.
2001 – The Christmas when I was 23 was the year when my sister had her first baby. He was about 3 weeks old on Christmas day, and we went out to see a lifesize manger scene in a park. My sister got permition from the guard to put her baby in the manger and take pictures. I remember buying him a bib that had an elephant face on it and the trunk was made to hold a pacifier. So cute.
2003 – The year I was 25 I had been in India for 6 months and needed to renew my visa, so I made a trip to Sri Lanka. I got to spend a few days on the beach and bought some Christmassy things there that are not available here and was back in time for Christmas day in India.
2004 – Then when I was 26, I went to Canada for a month to work on my long-term visa. I spent the month of December freezing because I was no longer used to the cold. I also got to visit with my brother who I hadn’t seen in years. He took me to his newly aquired farm that was heated with a wood stove. I spent a cold two days there but it was relaxing. Then we drove to his in-laws house and I got to meet his wife for the first time. I spent Christmas with them that year.
2005 – This was the year of the accident that I already wrote about earlier.
2007 – Logan was born in November of this year, so this was my first Christmas with a baby. He was so tiny and fragile, what with being premature and all, but he was cute and I was happy to have him.
2008 – Probably the first year I didn’t do any Christmas shopping. Ha. I wasn’t able to get out as I had been sick with some sort of flu. I had a fever and was quite weak for a week or so, and I was pregnant with Lila on top of it.
And this year? Well, Christmas day is tomorrow. So far I have done all my shopping with my kids in tow, Logan chose his own Christmas gifts, I have done more baking than last year – fruitcakes, rum balls, and lots of cookies, and it has been more relaxing, though I am tired due to lack of sleep. But I’m excited about tomorrow because I want to see the look on Logan’s face when he opens his gifts (I know he won’t remember that he chose them). This is Lila’s first Christmas too, so I plan on taking lots of pictures. I’ll post them afterwards.
So to one and all, Merry Christmas!