When I was a child, many of my gifts were homemade. A wooden wardrobe for my doll clothes, built by my father. Always a new doll for Christmas but with it came doll clothes that my mother made. The traditional roller skates and bikes were of course part of those exciting mornings.
One year, as my mother tucked me into bed she told me that Christmas might not be as 'full' as it had been in past years, that because she was ill she hadn't been able to 'do as much'. She then told me of her childhood Christmases, during the Great Depression, when all they got for Christmas was pajamas and an orange. She said that the orange was always the best one she'd ever tasted. That explained to me why each year my brother and I always had an orange in our stocking and got a new pair of pajamas, which my mother had made.
The next morning my brother and I approached the Christmas tree and its wonderful gifts. There were twin dollies which my Mother had crocheted outfits for, there were the roller skates that I had wanted... I loved everything and told my Mother later in the day that it was the best Christmas I'd ever had. Sadly that was the last Christmas we had with her as she succumbed to cancer the following summer.
As a young mother myself I kept up the tradition -- my son always had an orange in the toe of his stocking and always got new pajamas (whether he needed them or not).
These days for me, it is the holidays that surround Christmas which touch me most deeply. Thanksgiving for its pause for thankfulness and New Years Day which says goodbye to yesterday and looks ahead with promise to the coming year. Today I hope you are all making Christmas memories that will remain within your heart forever.
"I will honor Christmas in my heart and try to keep it all year." - Charles Dickens