Piling up Christmas memories

By Tammy Keith Originally Published January 6, 2013 at 12:00 a.m.
Updated January 4, 2013 at 10:18 a.m.
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Another Christmas has been packed away in boxes and put back in the attic.

This was one of those Christmases that we’ll talk about for years.

Here are the words I’d write on my box of memories: snow, Seb, Scattergories, sickness, shopping and sin.

Sin — I know everyone honed in on that word, so I’ll start with that.

My mother always looks at the huge pile of presents and says, “This is sinful.” Yes, it was. And it was fun and wonderful, and I loved everything I got and the surprises I bought for other people.

When she said, “You all do too much,” my brother and I said, “Ding, ding, ding, ding!” It’s officially Christmas when she says that every year.

The other sin was gluttony. I’ll confess to that right now. Sister-in-law was responsible for a lot of it, from the mocha punch that called for 2 cups of sugar (which only she and my husband thought was too much and the rest of us lapped up) to the dip with bacon and cheese, her chocolate gravy for breakfast, and her chicken and dressing. Then there was the “pink stuff” my mother made that included Eagle Brand milk, the addictive Oriental Crunch my husband makes every year and my dad’s homemade bread and muffins. That doesn’t count the candy in the stocking and the homemade candy my aunt and uncle brought us.

Shopping — My brother and I have started a tradition of going out on Christmas Eve to buy stocking stuffers, and it’s a bonding time. Sister-in-law and I went out before Christmas, too, and shopped for others and maybe for ourselves just a tad.

Scattergories — We always enjoy playing games together. Sister-in-law and I especially like Scattergories.

You roll a die with letters on it and have to come up with answers that start with that letter in 12 different categories. I was amazed at how many times we matched answers, no matter how unique we tried to be. My brother and I both put “kite-flying” for a type of weather that started with K. I remember the look of disbelief on Sister-in-law’s face when I, like her, put “turmeric” on spice that started with T, even though I don’t cook and really didn’t know what I was saying, nor, as she pointed out, did I spell it right.

Seb — Nothing makes Christmas more fun than little children. My nephew Seb, who turned 2 on Friday, was so sweet.

He loved all the toys he got, including the Thomas the Tank Engine trains and train table, which he played with for hours, patting the ground next to it for others to play with him. He pushed the little shopping cart around and fed people pretend food, stopping to play with his remote-control front-end loader, as well as a Range Rover, horse trailer and horse, and other gifts.

When we were watching a funny Christmas movie, Seb danced his little buns off to the music, stopping, of course, when my brother pulled out his phone to video it.

Snow — We knew the snow was coming, but it was weird to hear thunder at the same time. We only got about 5 1/2 inches in Jonesboro, but it was neat to get it on Christmas. Sister-in-law came prepared with a blow-up mattress to spend the night and snow boots to play the next day.

I’ll always remember little Seb wanting to play in the ’no and make a ’no man. He helped his momma and daddy build a good one, and his favorite part seemed to be putting in the sticks for arms, so this ’no man had three limbs.

Sickness — Last year during our Christmas celebration, we were all recovering from the worst stomach virus any of us had ever had, thanks to Seb, who spread it with every kiss. We were happy to be healthy this year. Almost. My 23-year-old brought Girlfriend, who went from feeling not great to really awful while she was there. She managed to sit up and open a few presents before going back to bed. We felt terrible for her. We also sprayed Lysol liberally.

My 19-year-old had a cold on Christmas and tried to quarantine himself by sitting across the room.

I remember my brother coming up to me and saying, “This is one of my favorite Christmases!”

Mine, too, and I can’t wait to pull out all the stories and memories next year.

Senior writer Tammy Keith can be reached at (501) 327-0370 or tkeith@arkansasonline.com.

Niche Publications Senior Writer Tammy Keith can be reached at 501-327-0370 or tkeith@arkansasonline.com.

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