The story that I chose for today is... one of the stories from my new Chicken Soup for the Soul Tales & Christmas book, I received for Christmas from one of my dear friends. The story is too long to type, but I will give you the jest of the story and some of the parts that meant a lot to me.
It was called the LESSONS FROM MY GRANDPARENTS by Beth Cato. The story started out with a mother reminding her daughter while she was home for Christmas, to please go through some of the boxes that her grandmother had set aside for her. Her grandmother was now in a nursing home, but wanted to make sure that some of her favorite things, went to her favorite people. She was surprised to see what her grandmother had passed on to her...her Christmas Santa collection. Here is what she said about her Grandmother and Christmas.
"Her enthusiasm for Christmas rivaled that of any bouncy child. She grabbed Christmas gifts on sale all year long." She encouraged me to start playing traditional carols in June or July. "Good music is good music all year long," she said. There's no need to limit to December."
When I was on summer break, she helped me to start making crafts to give as gifts to my uncles and cousins. More than once, she surprised me with bags of Styrofoam circles and sparkly pom poms. When my grandpa was sick and bedbound, we would sit in nearby chairs and work on little projects while Burl Ives crooned over the sound of the fans and air conditioning.
Knowing her joy for Christmas, I always bought her Santa figurines. Despite my small allowance, I believed I was giving her something grand. As an adult, I realized the truth.
"Some of these are outright hideous," I muttered, already sorting through them to make a donate-to-charity pile. "Why did she keep them?" I help up one porcelain Santa Claus with runny mascara and almost nonexistent legs.
"Because you gave them to her," Mom said.
My grandma has been widowed almost twenty years now. She needs a walker to get around. Her eyesight is too poor, her hands too shaky to do crafts. But she loves her holiday music and the sight of Santa Claus still makes her squeal. Looking back, I realized how much she and Grandpa taught me about the true spirit of the season.
Now she had gifted me with all of her beloved old Santa Clauses as she prepared for her own death. With my returns home so infrequent, I never knew if I would see her again. Every hug and kiss was precious. She knew I loved her, but beyond that, did she realize how she embodied Christmas for me?
The story then ends with a letter to her Grandmother, thanking her for all the things that she has taught her and how she hopes to pass all those things on to her children some day. Here is the last sentence of her letter...
"I'm proud to be your granddaughter. For me, you'll always be the spirit of Christmas.
" A grandparent is a little bit parent, a little bit teacher, and a little bit best friend." ~ Unknown
"It is Christmas in the heart that puts Christmas in the air." ~ W. T. Ellis
"From Home to home, and heart to heart, from one place to another. The warmth and joy of Christmas, brings us closer to each other." ~Emily Matthews