Merry Christmas!

Well, I hope you are able to have an enjoyable Christmas, while staying safe. It’s certainly going to be a different Christmas for my wife Linda and I.

Traditionally, the entire family gathered at our house for a joyous occasion. This year, we’ll be all alone, although we will Zoom with everyone. Thank goodness for Zoom. I do recognize that Christmas this year will be easier for Linda because she’d always be very busy preparing lunch for everyone.

I loved finding the perfect Christmas tree in our woodlot, and decorating it with Linda. Sometimes she’d say the tree was too big, but of course that wasn’t possible. Our cats knocked down our tree several times. This year we have a small tree sitting on a table in the living room, out of range of our cat. I also remember, as a kid, going out in the woods with Dad to find our perfect tree.

I used to have a long wish list of gifts I was hoping to get on Christmas, but when Linda asked me this year for my wish list, I couldn’t think of a thing. But I am very grateful for all the wonderful memories of past Christmases, including when I was a kid.

As a young boy, on Christmas Eve I would sneak out of my upstairs bedroom to sit on the stairs leading down to the first floor, hoping to see Santa Claus. Sadly, my parents would always make me go back to bed before Santa arrived. The anticipation of Christmas morning, seeing what Santa had brought us, was very exciting. And I was always amazed that Santa knew exactly what I wanted.

My mom was our church choir director and organist, and I always loved singing all those Christmas hymns. I loved it when family and friends would gather around mom’s organ in our living room and sing Christmas carols, sometimes for hours.

Church was always important at Christmas, starting when I was a kid at the Winthrop Methodist Church, and as an adult at the Readfield Methodist Church. I especially loved the Christmas Eve services — OK, probably because we always sang my favorite Christmas hymns.

I have lots of Christmas CDs which I play every day in December, including my favorite, a CD my mom recorded of her playing all my favorite Christmas hymns on her organ. I am so grateful to Mom for doing that, and every time I play it, I can see Mom sitting at her organ in our living room, playing those songs. This year, Phoebe Payne, our church choir director, has been emailing us Christmas hymns sung by amazing choirs.

For years, after we opened all our gifts and had breakfast, we’d go to my aunt’s house in Wayne to celebrate with their family. I always felt bad for my cousins because they were not allowed to open their gifts until we got there. They must have hated us!

As a teenager, I loved working in Dad’s store, Wilson’s, and helping people find their Christmas gifts. And I’ll never forget the Christmas Eve when, at midnight, Dad went down to open the store for a man who hadn’t got his family any gifts. Yup, Dad really believed in good customer service.

Our kids would always put a snack for Santa near the Christmas tree, and after they went to bed, I’d enjoy eating it. When our daughter Hilary eventually discovered I’d been eating Santa’s snacks, she was very upset that I’d eaten all the cookies.

We have some great videos of the kids, rolling around on the floor, opening their gifts. And I’ll never forget the Christmas when 4-year-old granddaughter Ada had so many gifts she stopped opening them and told us she wanted to  experience the joy later.

I hope you have some great Christmas memories, and I hope you are able to enjoy this Christmas, which will be like no other.

George Smith can be reached at 34 Blake Hill Road, Mount Vernon 04352, or [email protected]. Read more of Smith’s writings at www.georgesmithmaine.com.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.