Editorial: Create more Christmas memories

Published 1:46 pm Tuesday, December 5, 2023

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As a child, you may not understand the true meaning of Christmas, but the time of year is exciting.

And back in the day, it didn’t take much to get us youngsters excited.

I’ll never forget those Christmas Eve evenings at Oak Grove United Methodist Church. There was music and programs from various groups. We were reminded of the true meaning of Christmas. But for us kids, we were fidgeting in our seats, paying attention because we were told to, but our minds wandered. Not only our minds, but our eyes wandered toward that huge cedar tree over at the edge of the altar. There were dozens of paper bags under it, and I knew what that meant. It was going to be a good night.

Inside those bags treats for us youngsters – things like an orange, a stick of peppermint, maybe a couple of nuts and a few pieces of candy.

Believe it or not, that was worth looking forward to for all of us neighborhood youngsters. Fresh oranges weren’t available to every household then, neither was any kind of candy for eating whenever you wanted.

Just getting a gift was a big deal.

I always looked forward to my Aunt Dare delivering her chewy, sweet corn flake confection. I was amazed. I had only eaten corn flakes with milk, maybe a spoon of sugar. I’ve had a few replicas since Aunt Dare passed, but none were as good as what she delivered.

I always looked forward to my Aunt Annie and Uncle Roy (Not really related, but they earned the titles.) delivering their Christmas goodies to our house. Without fail, it was a bag of popcorn for popping and a six-pack of Cheerwine – in the bottle, of course –  the only way you could get one back then.

Christmas is a magical season for children; let’s keep it that way. It may take more than a bag with a single orange and an apple inside, but you don’t have to spend a lot of money to make a child’s day brighter.

Give them a compliment. Smile at them. Better yet, explain to them the true meaning of Christmas. That – in itself – should elicit the smile.

– Mike Barnhardt