The Christmas holiday when I was a child always brings back funny memories. I can remember so well how my mother would work very hard to get everything done in time for Christmas. By everything, I mean, fix a huge meal large enough to feed an entire army when there were just the four of us, go Christmas shopping until late at night, and then come home and wrap everything and put it all together before the next morning. The house had to be clean from top to bottom. During that time, my mother employed the help of myself and my younger sister, and we helped out with almost every chore that we were old enough to perform. In between the household chores, I was secretly working on a needlework project for my mother that I wanted to present to her on Christmas Day. It was a hand-crocheted afghan in her favorite colors. My father and sister were the only ones who knew about the project, and my father had allowed me to take extra time, in the midst of all of the housework, to finish the gift. Just as I finished the last stitch, I packed the lovely afghan into a gift box, wrapped it with wrapping paper and bows, and dashed out of my room to place the gift under the tree. On the way to the living room where the Christmas tree was located, there was a bucket of water in the hallway that had become dirty from my mother using it to clean the woodwork and floors, and unfortunately I did not see this bucket as I leapt into the air heading for the tree with my gift. Not only did I manage to knock the bucket of dirty water over in the carpeted hallway that had just been cleaned, but my mother was quite irate about my clumsiness until she opened her gift the next day and was moved to tears by its beauty.
Christmas meal was a well-deserved affair. After all of the hard work and cooking, we would all sit down to a huge Christmas feast. At first, the conversation was sparse as all you could hear was the clanking of forks hitting the plates as this was a living testament to just how good the food was that my mother had prepared for the occasion. As our bellies began to fill with food and drink, and we engaged in light conversation, we soon heard the sounds of mild snoring and a loud clank. We turned to look and found my mother had fallen asleep from shear exhaustion, and the clanking sound was her head hitting her plate.
Experiencing Christmas as a child always meant getting a live tree to decorate. When I became a teenager, I was told to go outside and drag the Christmas tree in for decorating. The tree had been stored in the backyard at the time, so I had to go outside in the cold wintry air to retrieve it. At that time, there was a light dusting of snow on the ground, so I picked up the tree by the trunk, and proceeded to drag it in. The more I walked, the more I began to smell something that did not smell very good. By the time I got the tree into the house, it was found that I had accidentally dragged the tree into some dog mess that had not been detected outside when I first picked up the tree. I received a good tongue lashing from my father for dragging the tree through some dog droppings and was ordered to go clean off the branches with paper towels. This was an utter mess! The pine needles were sharp and they easily ripped and tore up the paper towels as I tried to wash the dung from the branches. The stuff was messy and quite smelly, and it got all over my mittens which had to be washed. After I had cleaned as much of the dung from the tree that I could, we decorated the tree, but the faint smell of dung could still be smelled if you entered the room on that side. We had to spray that side of the tree with pine smell and other air fresheners to help camouflage the odor.
Even though some of these incidents seemed serious at the time, we can all look back on them now and laugh and be light-hearted as there are other things out in the world far more serious, and that Christmas also means togetherness with family as we gather to celebrate the true meaning, which is the birth of Jesus Christ. In times of strife and uncertainty, it is the funny memories of Christmas that help us see the lighter side in the complex world in which we live.