Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Create a Family Tradition for the Holidays

There are various times in our lives when many of us are forced to be away from the others that we love. Illness or injury requires us to be in the hospital or advancing age may cause the elderly to be in a senior citizen facility.

These situations during the holiday season are much more difficult to face than other times during the year. It costs nothing but time to schedule a visit to a hospital or senior citizen facility to spend an hour or two with the residents.

Ask the nurses who would be appropriate to visit at the hospital and ask the staff at the nursing home to suggest someone that receives very few visitors and go spend 30 minutes asking questions about their memories of the holidays past.

You can help them relive special happy times by simply asking, what was the best Thanksgiving you ever had or what was the best Christmas you ever had.

My husband’s best Christmas was when he was 7 years old and this is his story as told to me.

Christmas is the season of memories, of joyous gatherings, of renewal of the spirit and sense of wonder. I have recently thought of what was my favorite Christmas memory and without hesitation this Christmas stands out as the absolutely most wonderful Christmas ever.

My favorite Christmas was in December 1949. This event made that particular Christmas memorable beyond all others. I received a gift of love from afar in the form of a package from my favorite aunt and uncle.

School was out for Christmas vacation, ending just the day before at noon. It was Saturday, the day before Christmas and I was outside playing in the yard when the green truck with red trim and the gold letters REA stopped in front of the house. I did not pay much attention as many REA trucks had stopped there before to deliver packages to the Flower shop and greenhouse across the street and none had ever brought a package to my house. I continued to play until the deliveryman closed the door of his truck and with a brown package in his arm he started toward my house. Up the walk he went toward the front door. I ran and jumped on the porch just as he rang the doorbell.

I asked, “Who is that for?” “Master Paul Moe,” the deliveryman replied. “That is me, I exclaimed.” “This package has to be signed for, can you write your name, the deliveryman asked?” “No, I stated matter-of-factly.” That was when the door opened and my mom was at the door. Mom took the package and signed the receipt.

“He told me that was mine, can I open it now?” “No, you have to wait until Christmas to open this, mom said.” “Why do I have to wait until tomorrow, I asked?” “Because the package says do not open until Christmas,” mom answered. My excitement was evident. I wanted so much to at least hold this unique gift delivered by the man in the REA truck. Mom said, “stay outside and play, dinner will be ready in less than an hour and if you come in you cannot go back out.” I remember wondering, where did it come from, what is in that plain brown paper wrapper. Waiting would not be easy, I was sure I could not wait to see what that REA deliveryman had brought for me.

Later I went into the house and under the tree was a new box wrapped in silver paper with the image of Santa Claus sprinkled liberally over it and a tag that said to Master Paul Moe. As I walked toward the box I heard the stern voice of my father. “Stay away from that tree and leave all of the presents alone until tomorrow.” “It’s mine I whined, why can’t I even touch it.” “Leave it alone until tomorrow, if you know what’s good for you,” my father warned.

For the rest of the day and evening that package sang its tantalizing siren song to me and many times I heard the sharp rebuke from dad, mom and my sisters, ”GET AWAY FROM THAT TREE AND LEAVE THAT PRESENT ALONE!” Going to bed that night with that gift so close but so far away was torture. Christmas arrived as always very early in the morning in the Moe household and all of us kids ran down the stairs to see what Santa had left under the tree.

I went straight to that miracle that had arrived the day before. Inside the silver paper with Santa’s image was a card that read, Merry Christmas from your Uncle and Aunt. Before me was a pop-gun with three corks and a target. The target had 7 figures suspended from a round metal bar and each when it was hit would roll over the bar and bring any to the outside with them. If you hit the exact center all seven targets would roll over the bar and it was a perfect score.

I laid out the target and lay on the floor taking aim and fired the first cork. It hit a target and two of the silhouettes rolled over. I reset the targets, aimed and fired my pop-gun again and miracle of miracles all seven of the targets rolled over simultaneously. A perfect hit and perfect score from a gift of love delivered from afar by the REA deliveryman. I never got a perfect score with that toy again and never again did the green truck with red trim and gold REA letters stop to deliver a package to our house.

The memory of that gift delivered from afar, the smell of the Christmas turkey cooking in the kitchen, the warm glow of the tree all alight still form the image of what Christmas should be in my mind.

If your own holiday is not going to be that marvelous I have created a free gift for signing up to be on my newsletter mailing list. It is called Hot Holiday Tips for 2009. I have listed 8 survival tips which you will receive as a thank you for signing up. To get your own Free Holiday Relationship Survival Tips when you join Dr. Beth's email updates go to Click on JOIN near the top left of the page enter your first name and email address and you will receive instant access to my free gift.

What was your own most memorable Christmas? Please share by posting the memory in the comments.