The Literary Corner: Renegade Writer’s Guild

Published 11:33 pm Wednesday, December 28, 2022

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Christmas through the years

By Linda H. Barnette

When I was a little girl, Christmas was the most exciting day of the year, at least for a few minutes as I opened my gifts from Santa. But soon we left the gifts at home and headed across the street to the Smith grandparents for Christmas lunch.

Mother was one of seven children, so the house was always full with all of the relatives, and there was a great abundance of food that had been prepared by the ladies. Being a very shy person, I never enjoyed large gatherings, and I have never been too interested in food. The men ate at the dining room table, and the ladies ate after the men had finished.  The kids always ate at card tables located round the house.

After lunch and the cleanup, we all gathered in the living room around the Christmas tree and exchanged gifts. Because it was a large family, we all drew names so each person would only have to purchase one gift. Papa and Mama always got gifts from everybody though, as befitted them as the heads of the family.

The same procedure was followed the evening before at the Hartley Christmas gathering. That family was much smaller than the other one, and I was the only girl cousin, so had nobody to hang out with. Mama Hartley always wanted us to sing “Silent Night,” and I had to play her pump organ for that.

The children grew up, got married, moved away and had their own children, so through the years the gatherings got smaller.  Then the grandparents, parents, aunts, and uncles passed away. This year at my home it will just be my immediate family, one less since John left us in October. We will exchange gifts and order pizza.

Yet in my mind’s eye, rather like John-Boy Walton, I see all of my loved ones gathered around the tables and the trees. They are laughing and talking like old friends, the ladies all in aprons to keep their dresses from getting dirty.  I will remember Edna’s potato salad, Laura’s cookies, Helen’s roast beef, and those little dinner rolls that were popular in those days.  I will cherish those visions for as long as I live!!


By  E. Bishop

Christmas is my favorite time of year with the sweets, exchanging of presents, family gatherings, but mostly for the hope for peace, love, joy and the generosity shown in the greatest Christmas story ever told.  The act of giving points to the One who gave everything for us.  We all should be good stewards of what we have been given and showing generosity to others in one form or another is a great expression of stewardship.  John Wesley writes…

“Do all the good you can,

By all the means you can,

In all the ways you can,

In all the places you can,

At all the times you can,

To all the people you can,

As long as ever you can.”

Giving good things to others freely, without expecting anything in return, has been proven to be good for our health.  There is a feel good chemical released that helps our mood and creates a sense of connection with others.  Generous people are generally happier people.  As the old saying goes, it is better to give than to receive.  And, you don’t have to be rich.  There are many ways of giving without spending.

Donate extra belongings, volunteer your time, give blood, share a meal with someone in need, babysit for free, write a letter to someone who lives alone, offer a helping hand, be there to listen, smile and compliment others.  Use your time, talent and compassion and give from the heart.

Acts of kindness and caring is what I witnessed recently in visiting with residents at Willow Pond, a senior living apartment community in Mocksville, during one of their weekly activities. Two tables were loaded with donated brownies, cakes and other baked goodies for their “cake walk”. Later in the week, a Christmas crafting party took place in their beautifully decorated community room. The craft material to make a Christmas ornament was generously donated by Shari Keller and her husband, owners of the Artist Market on Main. Shari, a retired nurse and advocate for elders, knows the importance of giving back to the community. The residents and volunteers were truly appreciative.

It will be after the Christmas holiday when you read this and time to make New Year’s resolutions.  Please consider being generous with whatever you have to offer instead of focusing on yourself as much.  This reminds me of the 1970 Glen Campbell song “Try a Little Kindness”

Lend a helping hand instead of doubt,

And the kindness that you show every day

Will help someone along their way.”