Tag: santa

Christmas Stockings… by JoAnn

Growing up, the highlight of every year was Christmas. The whole month of December meant parties, decorations, letters sent to Santa Claus, the anticipation of snow, and a much-needed vacation from school. It was the last month of the year, but the best month for so many reasons.

My sister and I would begin our holiday season with the arrival of the annual Sear’s toy catalog. The excitement when our mama would hand over the iconic catalog was worth the one-year wait. She would give each of us a pencil to circle our favorite toys. Of course, we understood that everything we marked would not be under the tree come Christmas morning. But we would dream of which things might. No matter what Santa brought us, we would be overjoyed. Some years would be lighter if money were tight, and some, we would have more under the tree. But I never remember it mattering either way. I only remember loving everything I received and how much fun my sister and me would have.

Another tradition was hanging up our Christmas stockings for Santa to fill with small gifts. It would usually be candy, an apple, an orange, and a few nuts still in the shell. It may seem silly to a kid today, but back in the 60s, those items weren’t available all year round to kids like us. They were treats. Sometimes, there may even be a small toy in our stocking or another small surprise like a necklace or a pack of Old Maid cards. Our mama was very good at gift-giving. She always picked out or told Santa about things we would really want. I don’t remember ever, not even once, being disappointed in anything I received for Christmas.

The very best Christmas stocking was always the forgotten stocking. When we would get so caught up in the opening and playing with our gifts that, we completely forgot about our stockings. Sometimes it would be later in the day, and it would suddenly dawn on us that we hadn’t checked them. Our mama got a kick out of seeing just how long it took us to remember we had stockings too. It would be like Christmas morning all over again.

It’s been many years since I had my own Christmas stocking. I did enjoy filling my three daughters’ stockings every year, though. I tried to make them very special, just as my mama had done mine. I’m pretty sure I succeeded with that task. Wonder what it would be like to wake up on Christmas morning at 60 years old and have a stocking filled by Santa Claus. I imagine I wouldn’t feel 60 at all.

Here’s hoping you have a stocking to check this year. Merry Christmas!

Deflated Santa…by JoAnn

This week, all around the neighborhood, many people are just now getting to the job of packing away their outdoor holiday decorations.  I had to chuckle when I drove by one house where this tremendous blow-up Santa lay deflated.  He was lying on the ground, with a gentle breeze blowing across him as if it were trying to resuscitate new life.  Nearby were Santa’s trusty inflatable reindeer, also flat as pancakes.  These characters gave so much joy for a few weeks, now to only be burdens.  Fun to display and entertain neighbors and passersby.  Now a headache for the owners to pack away neatly and find a place to store them for another eleven months.  No one ever seems as excited to pack up these bad boys as they were to display them.  

I too usually feel a little deflated after the holidays.  Some years I have felt very deflated.  Wishing the good cheer and cozy feelings of Christmas could last forever.  But this year I was eager to get to the last chapter in the saga titled 2020.  Ready for a brand-new year, with new hopes and dreams to fulfill.

Unfortunately, the new year had a vast variety of baggage to drag into 2021.  Not ideal at all, but it’s not always how you start the race, but how you finish.  So, my hopes are that by the end of this new year, that old baggage from 2020 is taken care of and can rest in its rightful place.  I too hope to take care of some unwanted issues this year and end my race next December victorious.    

Under the circumstances, I feel okay about how I ended my race this past year.  I reached new growth as an individual, which is my goal for every year.  No matter how perfect you may think you are, I can assure you, there is always room for improvement!  I got through a pandemic which I had never experienced before.  We can all pat ourselves on the back for that one.  My body, mind, and soul are still intact, and in fairly good working order.  And there is still plenty to be thankful for!  Not a bad way to end a year.  Especially one like 2020.

How have you begun your new race for this year?  I hope it is with fresh eyes, plenty of faith, and good health.  I hope it fills you with the eagerness of all things newly birthed and can see a lot of light in your future.  I hope you do not allow the plights of this world to slow down your personal race this year and that you can keep your personal vision clear and strong moving forward. 

We all have a brand-new year to share.  Start with yourself to make it the best year you can.  With that, you will share it in a positive manner with others. 

I want to take this opportunity to say THANK YOU to all of you that have read my posts in the past, and especially to the ones who continue to come back to read more.  I am grateful for each one of you.  For those that are generous enough to take the time to leave a comment for me, thank you!  Your kind comments humble me and give me more joy than you can ever know.  You encourage me to continue writing.    

                           Happy New Year!  JoAnn       

The “C” in Christmas by JoAnn

Some words should never be misspelled, and Christmas is one of them.  I have few pet peeves, but the one on the top of my list has to be the big “X” used to replace Christ in Christmas.

As a Christian, to see someone replace Christ’s name with a big ole X, is offensive.  I say the “o” word cautiously, as I know that in this day and time, people can be offended at the drop of a hat.  But to replace the name of the one whose entire existence is reason for the season, really makes me sad, and a little angry.  

I understand Christmas is a lengthy word to place on a decorated window, or to write in a quick text.  But if you remove Christ, what exactly does XMAS mean?  If you are a believer like me, I can’t fathom it not hurting your heart to replace your Lord and Saviors name with a big X.  And if you are not a believer, then why are you wishing someone a merry anything?

Over my life, I have happened upon many an unbeliever.  It always surprised me when the same people who preached God to not exist, did indeed celebrate at Christmas time.  They would put up a tree, decorate their homes, send out holiday cards (careful to not include anything resembling Christ), and would exchange gifts on Christmas morning.  I never understood why.  I spent time in their homes, enjoying their holiday cheer.  But at the end of the day, no mention of Christ’s birthday was ever made.  I walked away wondering what exactly were they celebrating?  Their own Winter holiday?  I guess so.       

I imagine this debate has been going on for a very long time, and probably one of the reasons the sayings “Happy Holidays” and “Seasons Greetings” came about.  I really don’t mind those two greetings, I find them cheery and respectful.  Just don’t X out my Lord.  After all, Christmas is a celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ.  If you feel this to be a myth or fairy tale, please don’t disrespect His name by using an X.  Simply choose another expression of holiday cheer.  There is no need to offend people like myself, who hold the Lord’s name with such love in their hearts. 

I’ll climb down from my soap box now.  Merry Christmas! 

The Christmas Doll


💚Most everyone has a favorite toy they remember receiving as a kid for Christmas.  The memory of that beloved toy stays with them throughout their life.  Bringing back loving thoughts of Christmas, Santa Claus, and family. 

🧡My sister and I received a lot of beautiful toys growing up.  Our wonderful mother made sure of it.  She would save money all year long just for our Christmas gifts.  Toys and clothes, we thought Santa brought.  Now an adult, I realize it wasn’t Santa Claus, but a very loving mother!

We only received toys at Christmas in my house.  Only exception being if my sister or I ended up in the hospital sick or having surgery.  I didn’t understand why we couldn’t have toys throughout the year.  But now, I think my mama was onto something.  We ended up truly appreciating every toy we ever received and took excellent care of them.  And the suspense and excitement for Santa’s arrival was off the charts!  

💛No doubt my mother enjoyed this Christmas game as much as we did.  Sometimes, I wonder if she enjoyed it even more.  Mama grew up during the Great Depression.  I remember her sharing a story of how she always wanted a doll for Christmas and never received one.  Every year she would ask, and my grandma would sadly tell her that they could not afford one.  She told us that one year she asked for a doll that only cost a nickel.  Hoping that just maybe, a nickel could be spared.  The answer for a Christmas doll was still no.  

My mama’s sad story fueled her passion for Christmas with my sister and me.  Mama still loved dolls.  Now she had two little girls of her own that she could shower with the most beautiful baby dolls at Christmas time.  And with that came the joys of playing the role of Santa.  A role she took very seriously.  

💙Every year, the Sear’s Christmas Wish Book would arrive.  Mama would proudly hand it over to me and my sister Jeanie.  We would spend hours upon hours dreaming over the toys that book held in its pages.  Mama would often come around while we were studying the catalog and casually ask what we liked.  If it had been a particularly good year financially, Mama would actually tell us to pick out the doll we wanted Santa to bring.  That didn’t happen often, but when it did, the excitement was overwhelming.  Especially on Christmas morning when we would find the exact doll under the tree.  It made us feel a very personal connection to Santa Claus.  I can only imagine the pure joy it gave to Mama.

💜I don’t mean to leave my daddy out of this story.  He enjoyed very much seeing us receive toys.  But Christmas was just Mama’s thing.  I think he knew what she had gone through growing up and how much joy it brought her to play Santa and do all she did for us.  So, daddy let mama take the reins of Santa’s sleigh so to speak.

Do you still remember the special toy you received on Christmas?

Here’s hoping all of you have a glorious holiday season.  Merry Christmas!

Make a Wish!


When you were a kid, and blew out the candles on your birthday cake, were you told to make a wish?  I think all of us were and there began the concept of wishful thinking.

As a child, to wish for whatever you want, merely by believing it could come true, was entertaining and satisfying.  Only to then feel a harsh let down when the wish was denied.  It would be a hard lesson for learning the true meaning of making a wish.  

When I was a kid in the 1960s, even the Sears Christmas catalog was called the “Wish Book”.  We had television shows like “I Dream of Jeanie”, and “Bewitched” telling us that magic could make wishes come true.  And then there was Santa Claus, with every child back then believing in Santa!  He was the most magical of all because he could make any wish come true.  It all seemed quite innocent and fun at the time. 

The Google dictionary explains the meaning of the word “wish,” this way: “to feel or express a strong desire or hope for something that is not easily attainable; to want something that cannot or probably will not happen.”

It was a rather harsh reality to realize that wishing was just role playing a fantasy.  To truly make a wish reality, you had to put some hard work into it.  It was not free.  You had to make that wish come true yourself.  We could wish all day long but would see nothing happen unless we got up and did it ourselves. 

I guess all loving parents want their children to believe the world is full of wonder, and at their fingertips.  They want their children to feel as though anything good in life is possible.  I don’t believe parents mean to set their kids up for disappointment with wishing.  I believe they are only trying to give their child a positive outlook.  Or something to look forward to, as with Santa Claus.

As entertaining as it might be to wish I would win millions in the lottery, I would waste my time and energy doing so.  I’m not so sure I want to encourage my grandchildren to wish for things.  I believe I want them to dream, and to know that dreams come true for those that work toward making that dream come true.  

Next time I catch myself beginning a sentence with “I wish”, I will stop myself in my tracks.  Wishes cannot be granted, but dreams can be built.

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