Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

'What's Your Favorite Christmas Memory?'

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

'What's Your Favorite Christmas Memory?'

Article excerpt

This morning I heard myself singing, "Deep in December it's nice to remember."

That's from a song in "The Fantasticks," a musical I never saw and don't care to recall. It was stuck on replay in my head the way some songs seem to get stuck there. Don't ask me why.

I was just glad it wasn't "All I Want for Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth" or "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer." I get stuck on them sometimes, too.

Those songs aren't high on my Christmas play list. I'd prefer to get stuck on Handel's "Messiah" or "O Holy Night" or even "I'll Be Home for Christmas." But the older I get the more I find my mind has a mind of its own.

There I was, loading the dishwasher, singing "Deep in December" when suddenly I remembered: Christmas is a time for remembering.

One of my favorite holiday traditions is to ask friends or family or strangers in line at the post office, "What's your favorite Christmas memory?" The answers often tell me more about the person than I could learn in an hour-long interview.

See for yourself. Ask someone that question. But be prepared for them to ask you in return.

What's my favorite Christmas memory? Thanks for asking. For me, it's not one, but a lifetime collection. For example:

* Christmas Eve, when I was 3, my dad pointed to the sky and said, "Look. That's the Star of Bethlehem." I saw it that moment and every Christmas since, even if I can't see the sky.

* When I was 10, my family fell on hard times, harder than our usual, so Santa wouldn't make it to our house until spring. But some good people from church brought us a ham and cookies and a tree with colored lights. After they left, my mother said, "Life is a bank. Sometimes you give, sometimes you take. It's all the same bank. Just remember how it feels to take, because one day you will do the giving."

* When I was pregnant with my first child, I lay awake Christmas Eve, wanting to hold him, not in my belly, but in my arms. …

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