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Christmas traditions - from our house to yours

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By The Staff

To my surprise, my dad went to meet Santa

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It was around 1957, a dark wintry Christmas Eve, when my father announced that he was leaving to meet none other than the big man himself—Santa Claus.

Santa had never made an appearance at my house, other than in the dead of night, when lights were out and everyone was asleep. And as far as I knew, my dad had never had a face-to-face meeting with him.

I was scared and a little breathless, but at the same time, I knew this had to be good, as I watched my dad put on his coat and cap and go out into the dark of night. I was amazed at his bravery.

He wasn’t gone long. When he returned he was carrying one big wrapped package. After stomping the snow from his shoes, he handed it to me.

Wrapping paper flying, my anxious little hands cleared the way to a life-sized baby doll. I was thrilled. Just for me. Santa stopped off to meet with my dad. How wonderful!

That same Christmas, my aunt, who was only two years older, also got a doll. Together we decided they were boy babies. She called her doll Timmy, and I named my doll Jimmy. I think they were patterned after the “Little Ricky” dolls from the “I Love Lucy” show. My grandma (her mother) made them matching gingham checked shirts and bib overalls, and we spent many happy days playing together with our little boys.

As far as I know, that was the only meeting that my dad ever had with Santa; although, I always got to see him at the Christmas play at the Centralia Methodist Church. He came in at the end of the service. It was a special time, when even men and boys, who never stepped foot in the church all year, came in  quietly and stood leaning against the wall in the back of the church.

There were no musical instruments, but the congregation sung all the favorites: “O’ Little Town of Bethlehem,” “It Came Upon The Midnight Clear” and “Silent Night.” And then came the moment that all of us children had waited for: “Here Comes Santa Claus.”

His clothes were always rumpled and his beard a little skimpy. I was sure it was because of his trying trip. The merry old man sat down at the front of the church and children, and adults alike, fell in line, as he handed out small brown bags filled with hard tack candy and cream-filled chocolate drops.

When I got to the front of the line, he gently placed an sweet-smelling orange on top and handed me the bag. To this day, it just doesn’t get any better than that.

(Linda Lawrence is the editorial assistant for the Grant County News. She can be reached at gcneditorial@grantky.com)

‘Home Alone’ is the movie to watch

Ever since I can remember, my family has watched the film, Home Alone on Christmas Eve.

I know it is more of a tradition, but I can also see it as being a memory.

Every time I see Macaulay Caulkin running around screaming with his hands on his cheeks, I think about the times when I was little, watching my Grandpa hand out presents and my brother, Patrick and I taking the presents to him to give to the family.

Those were some precious moments I will never forget and am pleased to share with Grant County.
Merry Christmas to all and a Happy New Year.

(Matt Birkholtz is the sports writer for the Grant County News and can be reached at mbirkholtz@grantky.com)

Wooden ornaments keep me humble

My husband and I celebrated our first married Christmas together in 1988. We lived in a three-room apartment in Dry Ridge, borrowed a Christmas tree from his mother and had enough money to buy each other one gift.

As far as decorations, I scored some red bows and red cloth ornaments cheaply at the Dollar Store, but the star of my tree was five little wooden ornaments - a snowman, a nutcracker, a santa, a rocking horse and an angel.

They came free from Arby’s when you purchased a value meal.

Every year I take them out and put them on my Christmas tree among the many shiny, sparkly ornaments I’ve collected since.

I tell my daughter their story. They’ll always hang in a place of honor on my tree and serve to remind me that the best gifts don’t cost any money at all.

(Jamie Baker-Nantz is editor of the Grant County News. She can be reached at jbakernantz@grantky.com.)

My best present  was new pajamas???

Trains, dinosaurs, possible even robots. There are so many possible toys that little boys hope and pray they find underneath the Christmas tree. I can’t lie, I love getting presents and always have since I was young.

So, when my Mom told my brother and I that she would be carrying on her mother’s tradition of giving us one gift on Christmas Eve I was ecstatic.

One day early, I would be able to enjoy a gift that I was sure to treasure.

I excitedly unwrapped the present as I got more and more anxious. What did I find, but an amazing ... pair of pajamas??? That’s right, just what every little boy wants. Clothes that they wear to bed. We received new pajamas every Christmas eve for years before finally my Mom said we were to old for them.

My excitement grew again. However, the trusty old pajamas simply turned to a chil’d second favorite toy, an ornament to hang on the tree that signified what happened in your life that year.

While I may have not been too pleased about those traditions when I was younger, I now appreciate them and have even tried to guess what my ornament will be each year.

When I joined the Grant County News a couple years ago, my ornament was a scaled down version of the first front page I was a part of making for our readers. It was special.

Even though I know my two sons will look at me funny through the years as I pass on the same tradition down the line I hope they’ll eventually treasure them as well. If not, maybe I’ll start a new tradition and throw in a toy on Christmas Eve as well to soften theblow.

(Bryan Marshall is the staff writer for the Grant County News. He can be reached at bmarshall@grantky.com)