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Friday, December 20, 2019

Simple Things Make A Joyous Christmas.

Some of the simplest things make up my fondest Christmas memories.

I thought all children received only one gift at Christmas until Miss Aylie Pentecost instructed each student in first grade to stand, one at a time, and rattle off what Santa had brought him or her.

After listening to the other kids recite their long lists, I decided to add to mine. It was the first time I remember telling a lie. Even at the age of six, I knew it was wrong.

It was embarrassing enough to attempt to speak in front of the class. Worse when guilt crept over me as I stammered, “I got a baby doll, a spinning top, a set of jacks, and a teddy bear that plays a xylophone when I pull it across the floor."

I can close my eyes even now and remember the smell of that rubber doll and feel the texture of the soft pink blanket wrapped around her. The other toys I claimed to have received were either from a previous Christmas or belonged to one of my siblings.

I wondered if the other kids had fibbed about their gifts. I was sure one boy did because he took ten minutes to get through his list.

I think I was eleven when on Christmas Eve, Mama took my siblings, Jewell, Paul, and me to the Ben Franklin and gave us each a dollar bill with which to select and buy our own Christmas gifts. The dollar didn't buy much, but I was excited to find a plastic soldier attached to a parachute. It is the only gift I remember from that year.

My siblings and I each bought one. The temps were mild, in the 50s that Christmas Day. We took our plastic soldiers outside, threw them high in the air and watched them drift to the ground. We enjoyed playing with our parachute toys for hours, laughing and guessing which would stay in the air longest.

Mama never knew it, but Jewell, Paul and I climbed on the roof over the carport to throw our parachute soldiers from a higher altitude. We had a blast that Christmas and paid only 39 cents each for our toys.

In our family, all seven children had a box. Each box was placed under the tree on Chrismas Eve. On Christmas morning, we found fruit, nuts, candy and usually one gift in each box.

Daddy often made a fruitcake on Christmas Eve. Mama, my siblings and I, took bowls and sat around the living room or at the kitchen table, cracking pecans, walnuts, and hazelnuts to go in it. We didn't include the yucky gummy candies in our fruitcake. Ours had real fruit in the batter, like oranges and pineapple. It was delicious!

I can't emphasize enough that the simple things make the Christmas season joyful. Joy comes from families laughing together, singing Christmas songs about the Savior's birth, and enjoying each other's company.

Most importantly, as we gather around the feasts on our tables,  let's remember we only celebrate Christmas because of God's special gift to the world--a perfect baby born in a stable and laid in a manger of straw, long, long ago.

My prayer for you is that you surround yourselves with family and loved ones this Christmas, and cherish the time you have left with them. With that said, I wish you all a very Merry Christmas.

Since she met him at a cookout, Jill suspects there is more to Rob than meets the eye. But every time Jill questions him about his childhood, he clams up or uses an excuse to leave. Jill is falling for Rob, but something is troubling him. What is Rob hiding? Will Jill's discovery make or break their relationship? 

A heartwarming, emotional romance with a large dose of intrigue and humor--by Laurean Brooks


  1. Hello, all you Smart Girls fans. With all the hustle and bustle around us, it's easy to get caught up and stressed. Take a few moments to breathe and remember the true meaning of the season. The Babe In The Manger whose life we celebrate.

    Remember past Christmases when things were simpler and fond memories were made. I suspect those memories were made of special times with family and loved ones, sharing laughter, love and fellowship. Strive to make this Christmas one you will treasure in your heart.

    Merry Christmas!

  2. I have many wonderful memories of Christmas. I always received a generous amount of gifts for a family with our small finances. My memories are family, though. Especially at this time, I miss my mom. She also loved Christmas. We'll have our daughters with us and will enjoy their presence. Merry Christmas to you.

    1. Caroline, I think not getting much for Christmas made me appreciate gifts more as I matured. Not when I was a child, of course. Another thing not having much did for my siblings and me, was forcing us to be creative. Sis and I cut children out of the Sears catalog for paper dolls, cut out and hand-stitched our own puppets--Even drew faces on them. I wouldn't take all the toys in the world for the ones we created. Lol. Merry Christmas to you. I wish your mother was there to enjoy Christmas with you, too. Also, mine.

  3. Oh, Laurean. I remember my sister being so upset because the teacher asked who was having a turkey at Thanksgiving and she couldn't raise her hand because we usually had beef or chicken. Lol...Of course, I lied, and raised my hand. To me, even in elementary school, I thought it was a ridiculous question to ask (dairy) farm kids. But I always remember the good times of going out on our land and picking even the scrawniest pine tree. When we were done decorating the pitiful thing, it looked "perfect" to me. It's all in perspective. Thanks for reminding us about simpler past Christmases. And...Merry Christmas to you!

  4. Lol, Judy Ann. I would have lied too. It's too much when the entire class looks at you like you flew in from Mars. I can relate to cutting down scrawny trees, too. But after we strung popcorn, lights and hung icicles and few bulbs on it, yes, it was beautiful to us. Yes, it's all in the perspective and memories of the fun we had. The pack of Sparklers I forgot to mention, was always in each Christmas box. What fun we had with those! Merry Christmas, Judy Ann.

  5. I enjoyed your post. I didn't receive lots of gifts either, but I have wonderful Christmas memories with my extended family. My cousin and I always cracked the nuts when we were little. My father painted our Christmas tree white and my mother and I decorated it with blue lights and ornaments.

  6. Thanks for sharing your memories of Christmas Past. The older I get, the more I miss those who are on the other side. My mom loved decorating the Christmas tree. She'd love the one we have now with LED lights that flow from white to multi-colored. Merry Christmas, Laurean, and the other Authors who write Smart Girls Read Romance.

  7. Merry Christmas to you, too, Joan Reeves. I'm happy to share my memories. Some are a little sad, others happy. But they all evoke emotions.


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