Our gifts were modest and special, provided solely by my mother, who would work all day and then also nightly at the Diamond Department Store. They would be decorated in a unique holiday wrap with beautiful trimming, placed under the tree for us to dream of their contents. I remember waiting for her each evening. She would work until 9 p.m., catch a bus home and then still have to walk miles in the cold, most of which was up hill.
These are only a few of many modest memories of my Christmases past. They are all precious and revered in my sisters' and my recollections. As an adult, a mother of three girls and now a grandmother of eight, I attempt to give to my family and extended family the gifts of my childhood, evoke the feeling and the excitement that only Christmas can give.
We have much more, do much more and can get caught up in all of the nonsense and craziness if we are not careful. We emphasize the joy of decorating, baking goodies and giving and receiving modest gifts. I believe, we too, are making memories for our children and grandchildren.
As I look once again at my post-holiday mess spanning three stories, I recall the last words of the last grandchild as he drove away with his mother: "This was the best Christmas Ever".
As my middle daughter so aptly said, "It is not the gifts you recall. It is the special time spent and efforts of others that last."
I believe I will start packing away our Christmas 2012 and watch White Christmas one more time!
Surbaugh lives in Charleston.