I also remember, that no matter how bad the year was financially for my parents, and there were some pretty tough years, Christmas was always magical. Santa always found our house, whether there was snow, or not. There was not a single year where I was dissappointed. And we often got letters from Santa, in Santa's own handwriting, letting us know to what lengths he had to go to for some of our gifts, and letting us know how much he loved us.
I know that because of my experiences with Christmas as a child, I have wanted to try to become a much more compassionate and giving person. My parents have always been such amazing examples of self-sacrifice, and love. All of their children, my brother, and sisters, are the same way. They taught us to be giving and kind, and to help others, not be being harsh, or trying to teach us tough lessons, but by going without themselves. By giving all they had to their kids. And it has, more than anything else, made us want to try to be the same way. Giving in secret, helping whenever we can, having unshakeable testimonies, looking for chances to serve, hoping for the best, and enduring to the end. Over the last few years, my Mom has struggled at times with depression and injury. We are not as close as we used to be. But today cannot change the feelings of gratitude and love for the many many years that she was always there for me, always knowing what to say and do to help me get through some of the hardest times of my life. My Dad remains the hardworking, loving, kind, talented, spiritual giant he always has been. I Love my parents so much. And I hope I can represent their years of service and love, and carry the torch from here.
As a child too, we had a house full of books. There were stacks of books everywhere. Encyclopedia Collections, Animal Science books, Fairy Tales, Scriptures...My Parents loved Books. That is another thing that I have brought with me from my childhood. My own little family has our own tradition of wrapping up 25 Christmas books, (the same books every year)and opening one each night before Christmas. It seems like I am always scrambling at the last minuet to get them wrapped...and I almost always just think "oh, forget it...there just isn't time"...usually Clint, and now Derek remind me enough times for me to get it done. I am always glad that I follow through. I love Christmas.