Saturday, December 24, 2011
Our First Christmas
When I think back to some of my most favorite Christmases as a teenager and a young new wife, it was those Christmases that the money was tight that were the most special. I guess when we look back at our very first Christmas, money always seemed to be in such short supply, but we were so incredibly rich in love.
We decided we were going to have a tree (even if there were no gifts to put under it). This was the year, we lived in the green house on Green Street in Wetumpka. One of the things we had seen advertised was the Wadsworth Christmas Tree Farm (it’s still in operation by the way). My favorite thing about this Farm is you get to walk around, pick out your tree, and cut it down. We went out to get our tree the Saturday after Thanksgiving and enjoyed making a day of it. My sweetheart actually had a 4 day weekend, and decided that we needed the time together instead of him doing some side work. (Love his heart, those first 4 years of our marriage while I was in school, it seemed all he did was work just so we could keep a float.) So, we walked and walked until we found a tree that would be in our price range and was just right. We had a wonderful day and I held the tree while Rich cut her down.
I enjoyed watching him tote the tree back up to the front of the farm where they got it ready for us to take home. I loved watching them shake all the extra pine needles out and then slipping it through a “thing-a-ma-jig” that put the tree in a net and made the drive home easier with the tree strapped to the top of the car. We got her home and in the tree stand (which by the way we didn’t even think about needing until we got to the Tree Farm) and realized that we had spent all our Christmas money on just the tree and the stand. For the first few days we just enjoyed seeing the tree up and the wonderful smell that permeated the house.
Our family had decided not to exchange gifts that year, but to exchange homemade Christmas cards. After exams and selling my books back, I had the money to buy construction paper, markers, glue, envelopes, and stamps. Those homemade cards got put in the mail and were sent to Grandmamma Lyle’s house in time for Christmas. I also had enough paper, ect. To make Christmas “ornaments” for the tree. We had teddy bears in pairs holding hands all over the tree. We’ve talked about it and we can’t remember for sure if we actually had lights on the tree or not. We’re pretty sure we didn’t but there were lights in our heart.
When Rich got his Christmas bonus, we went out and spent more money on groceries than we had in a long time and then realized we had a little money left for the ornament we wanted that had “First Christmas” engraved on it. We went to the mall and looked around and finally found an ornament in our price range with a little money left over. We had just about $3.00 left to spend, so we made a trip to the Dollar Store with the agreement that we would take turns shopping for each other and we’d have a surprise under the tree. When you have just a little more than a $1 to spend, you have to get creative. So we took our treasures home and wrapped them and put them under the tree. It always makes me smile, we I think about those gifts…Rich got me some tissues in a pretty little box to put in my purse, and I got him a ribbon that said #1 Husband. The best gift was that my sweetheart wore that ribbon to church on Sunday and my tissues were in my purse. It wasn’t about the stuff, it was about the LOVE.
Every year we put that first store bought ornament on the tree and we put the teddies on branches of the tree. Rhey’ve gotten a little ragged, but we’ve laminated them and Lord willing my grandbabies will still see the teddies on Grandmama’s tree. I’m hoping they teach the lesson of just how important LOVE is and not all the stuff. My little man listened as I told him the teddies’ story this year and his smile warmed my heart. We don’t have them on the tree this year, but they’re standing guard over the Christmas cards.
So, Merry Christmas, sweet friends and may your holidays be filled with friends and family and joy and love. May you drink from the saucer because your cup is full!