The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.

Christmas Memories

by Shana Jackson, The Quill

As a child I have so many memories of Christmas. It was so much fun from family gatherings to church activities.

Growing up we always had our christmas decorations inside and out up by Thanksgiving so that we could light up that night. My dad would get out on the roof top in the bitter cold weather to hang the lights and mom and I would decorate the inside. I remember being one of the very first ones to be lit up that weekend.

That tradition has lived on for us but we are now joined by many others around town that light up as well.

My mom and I would bake cookies and make lots of different candies and goodies to share. It was always so much fun helping her in the kitchen.

I carried that tradition on with my daughter, Kayla, when she was little. We would always make platters up for all the neighbors and she would deliver them with their christmas cards.

Gary and I made a few things up this year to share. This was the first time that we had a chance to do that. We had our christmas caroles cranked and counter tops full of cookies and pretzels and other goodies. You can just call him the pretzel machine!

Then there were the Christmas programs at church. One in particular really stands out in my mind. Harley Jones, Justin Johnson, Kara Jones Burg, Laura Gittings Claussen and I were dressed up as barn yard animals. I recently came across that picture and once again had a good laugh at what we looked like.

When I was young and my grandparents were alive we would always go to my Grandma and Grandpa Olson's Christmas Eve to gather with my uncles, aunts and cousins. It was always soup and sandwiches, christmas caroles or skits and presents.

I remember opening up a present and telling my mom that that's what I told Santa I wanted and now I would be getting two of them. I was just sure of it! We always had to be home by 10:00 p.m. so that I could get to bed to insure that Santa would make it to my house that night.

Christmas morning my Grandpa and Grammy Lee would come over by 7:00 a.m. excited and ready for presents but it was always a tradition that still lives on that we would have pancakes, sausage, bacon and eggs before getting to see what was under the tree.

So I would have to patiently wait until everyone was done and then we could go gather around the tree. I was always so excited to see what Santa left me. Whether it was a baby doll that could eat and wet, or a kitchen set with my very own dishes, or a bicycle to ride or a chalk board to play school on.

Christmas was always and still is our big holiday and there were always plenty of presents under the tree for me plus some. I guess that's what happens when you are the only child.

After Kayla was born we would have Christmas at our house Christmas morning and then go down to my mom and dads where santa had visited and left plenty of goodies there as well.

It's always a joy to watch your child on Christmas morning and to teach them that it's not all about the presents under our tree but that it's about Jesus' Birthday and the gift that God gave to us on that day. We started making a birthday cake for a few years to celebrate his day.

Then in 2002 the first christmas Gary and I were together he proposed to me a week before christmas. Talk about excitement in the air. We were making all our arrangements when we got word that he was going to be shipped off to Iraq. Needless to say this hurried up the wedding some and we now have been married for almost 7 years.

The in 2007 while stationed in Ft Bliss Texas we decided to do something we'd never done before. Go on a Jackson Christmas vacation. So it was off to sunny San Diego, CA for our first stop, where we spent time on the beach. Then it was time for "the Jacksons" to go to HOLLYWOOD and ride in our very own limo.

We hoped to see a few stars while we were there but, the only ones we got to see were the ones on the ground. Now it was time for Vegas and you know what they say about what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.

Just to let you in on our secret, not much happened there except a lot of walking and tired legs. We spent that year's Christmas in Boulder City, Nevada at my mom's cousins house. That Christmas was quite an experience but truly one to remember.

These are just a few of my Christmas memories that I will forever cherish.

May all of you have a Very Merry Christmas and I hope you can make a special memory this season.