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Columbia Missourian

ROSE NOLEN: Christmas changes people for the better

By Rose Nolen
December 4, 2012 | 6:00 a.m. CST

It’s Christmas time. Thanksgiving has come and gone, and we’re down to counting the days until Christmas. We’ve made our lists and turned them in to Santa Claus, and now we wait for him to answer.

When I was a little girl, I always pinned my list with a clothespin to the clothes line. When I woke up the next morning, I would look out to make sure my list had been picked up. When I saw that the note was gone, I would comfort myself in the knowledge that Santa had picked it up and taken it to the North Pole where he had started working on my gifts. I never worried that my list might have blown away. My imagination never let me down. Reality became whatever I perceived it to be. I was certain my list was taken care of.

Since I have been in charge of my own list, things have not always worked out as planned. Some Christmas Days have been bright and some not so bright. Still, there’s something about the holiday that makes it wonderful.

One of the most wonderful things about Christmas is the way it fills the heart with joy and thanksgiving. People don’t just wish their own Christmases to be filled with joy; they wish joy for everyone. The spirit of Christmas travels far and wide and wraps people in a coat of warmth and caring.

People remember their neighbors; they remember those who live alone; they remember children who might be forgotten. People want to be the best they can be for Christmas. What didn’t matter yesterday somehow matters at Christmas.

I was born into a large family, and that seemed to make Christmas special. There was always a lot going on at Christmas. There were people coming and going for days. We had a lot of relatives who visited and brought gifts. There were parties and plays to attend. Festivities began with the Christmas parade and didn’t end until New Year’s Day.

I’ll never forget dessert day. That was the day we made candy and cookies. My specialty was divinity, and my sister’s was peanut clusters. We were only allowed to eat one piece when we finished, and we tried to make it last all day.

One Christmas, my brother and I decided to stay up on Christmas Eve until midnight so that we could be first to open our presents. That turned out to be no fun at all because everyone was asleep, and no one saw our presents. We never tried that again.

I still feel the same about Christmas, the same as I did when I was a child. There seems to be a touch of magic around it. It never seems like any other day. Whether it’s morning or evening, I always know it’s Christmas.

The only thing is, I’m glad I don’t have to go to my grandmother’s house anymore. We always went the night before Christmas. And she was never glad to see us. She acted as though she couldn’t wait until we went home. We left her gifts, and she always gave us ice cream, and we had to wash our dishes before we went home. Walking home was never fun; it was always cold. 

Still, wherever my grandmother is, I hope she has a good Christmas. See, that’s Christmas for you.

You can join the conversation with Rose M. Nolen by calling her at 882-5734 or emailing her at nolen@iland.net. Questions? Contact Opinion Editor Elizabeth Conner.