Christmas as I remember |

Christmas as I remember

People complain all of the time about Christmas being too commercialized. That’s probably true; however, Christians everywhere enjoy the celebration. It gives us time to reflect upon the beauty of Christ’s birth and what it means and how it changed the world.

Every parent remembers all of those wonderful Christmas mornings when the kids get him or her up in the wee hours before it’s even light. Children can’t wait to check out what Santa Claus has brought them. I’m no different. The problem about Christmas Eve in the East — at least it was that way back in my day — we didn’t even put up the tree until the boys were asleep.

Then it was getting out all of the hidden presents and/or the bikes or sleds we’d stashed away at our neighbors house. We never made it to bed before three in the morning. The rest of the day was cleaning up the paper wrappings, trying to get the kids to eat some breakfast, and then preparing a big, holiday dinner. I usually collapsed the next day.

Smiling now, I remember that one very special Christmas my husband and I went way up into the mountains near our home in Idaho to take down a tree. Of course I didn’t find anything right beside the road. I had to send Van up across a little stream to the top of a hill for one that was 10 feet tall and five foot wide. He mumbled the whole time.

We headed home. Van parked the truck outside the garage to remove the tree. Only then did he open the garage door and plan on parking the pick-up inside. It wouldn’t start; the battery had died. All he could think about was what if we’d made one more stop up there in the middle of nowhere? Van knew better than to go anywhere like that without telling a neighbor. We never did that again!

In previous articles I’ve talked about the Christmas we spent with friends after we had moved from Cascade to Lowman, Idaho. Our two-story log home sat in the middle of nowhere beside the Salmon River. Sitting down to a nice turkey dinner, Van told all of us to sit quiet for a moment and look outside. There were about a dozen deer and elk grazing just outside our kitchen windows.

As I write this on an absolutely beautiful December day, I can’t help but remember what my holiday season was like last year. Thanksgiving was spent with Doug very sick. All we managed to eat was some chicken noodle soup. Then Christmas day, with Doug in the hospital, one of my neighbors brought me a wonderful platter of food. I spoke to Doug, who’d lost 25 pounds. Even then, he was still too ill to eat.

At least I knew he recovering. I spent much time that day talking to my other boys, their wives, grandchildren and friends. That had to suffice in the way of celebration. This year I had a nice pre-Christmas surprise. I’d been busy since early Fall making gifts of my crewel designs and crochet items, scarves and lap robes. Then we heard that Governor Mike Huckabee was coming here to Fallon.

I wanted to give Mike something to keep his remembering Fallon. Doug suggested one of my crewel items. I thought, yes give him something made of glass to carry around the country while meeting people. Instead I made him a red, white and blue scarf and one for his wife. Wouldn’t you know it, the day he was here I came down with a case of food poisoning and had to stay home.

At the event Doug got to speak to him. When presented with the scarves Mike said “he knew they were made with love.” Holy cow , just a little later I got the surprise of my life. Doug wasn’t even home yet when my phone rang and a voice said “this is Mike Huckabee and I want to thank you for your kind gift.” How is that for a Christmas present?

One final note is recalling a Sunday service back in Cascade, Idaho, on Easter when the preacher said he didn’t understand big Christmas celebrations, that Easter was more important. I reminded him, as we left the sanctuary that, had there not been a Christmas, there would never have been an Easter. God bless you all and have a wonderful Holiday season, one and all.

Edna Van Leuven is a Churchill County writer and columnist. She may be reached at