The holidays are edging closer and I’m thrilled about it.

I am often the only person in a collection of friends who is genuinely happy that Christmas is heading toward us, at full-speed.  I have loved every aspect of the holidays since childhood.  Is it because I grew up in a healthy, happy family?  Not really.  But we did seem to rise above the tension, the chaos and cutting criticism for most of the month of December.  Mom made candy, lots of it, which my dad loved.  And together we all put up the tree.  The tree trimming night we got to eat the first of the fudge she had made.  The house smelled good and the lights were plentiful.  We even had candles for the windows.  At a glance, you’d never know that our house wasn’t full of warm, fuzzy feelings every day.

We were not a wealthy family, not by any means, but my dad was always employed so there was always food on the table and clean clothes in the closets.  We were encouraged to write letters to Santa and “Santa” generally placed under the tree at least one or two of the longed for gifts on our list.  I was sure Santa had read every letter sent to him.  And in my home town of Lafayette, Indiana, the newspaper occasionally had an article about all the letters Santa was getting.  That convinced me he was real.

How he got around to all the houses was a huge mystery to me, one my oldest sister loved to whisper about when my folks tucked us in on Christmas eve.  Since she “knew the truth already,” she was put in charge of keeping the secret and my two siblings and I upstairs until mom and dad had played their Santa game.

I’ll never forget the Christmas my brother and I were hell-bent on sneaking downstairs to peek.  Jo Ann convinced us she could hear the reindeer hoofs on the rook so we’d better stay in bed.  She said if Santa heard us on the stairs, he’d leave and there would be no gifts at all.  We bought her story, hook, line and sinker.  And we even heard the reindeer too.  We were sure of it.

I treasure recalling old memories.  I’ve discovered their value too when we are feeling a bit blue about some circumstance in our life.  The fond memory proves   that troubles don’t always abound.  They prove, too, that as long as we can change our mind, we can change our life.  Exchanging a bad experience with a good memory is the key to living the life you deserve.

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