Favorite Christmas Memories

DSC_0175We would like to wish you all a Merry Christmas by sharing with you some of our favorite Christmas Memories! Gib:

My grandmother, Jessie, was so dear to me growing up. Like most grandparents, her grandchildren (especially the first-born) could do no wrong. She was blessed in so many ways and her Mississippi training using lard, bacon, and flour to enhance the tastes of the Christmas feast will always be remembered. Turkey, green bean casserole, anchovy dip, mashed potatoes, dressing, sweet potato and apple pie will never taste as good as my memories of dinner at Jessie’s. Merry Christmas everyone…..Merry Christmas, Jessie….I miss you terribly.


I am thinking about Christmas future this year. You see on the 21th William and his family will arrive from Tampa. Beth and her husband Matt will come in Monday. That means by Monday night we will have a house full! It will be me, Christy, Matt and Beth, William, Shannon and the two Hardy grandsons Liam and Jake.

Now if you promise to keep a secret, I cannot wait till Christmas day. I have bought those two boys a 6 foot big and red Teepee. Yes sir a Teepee. Just the things Liam can hide in, make pretend campfire, hunt bears, shine flashlights, and hide from mom and dad. I can see it now set up in William’s den. It’s going to be great! I cannot wait to set it up and test it out at our home Christmas Day. I am going to put Jake, 6 months old, in my backpack, get a book and some cookies, and sit there with those boys telling hunting stories of the their great grandfather the chief.

Christy and I have also agreed if something gets broke or pulled down, “NO BIG DEAL!”

Well for me I am as excited for this Christmas as I remember being when I was growing up. I hope each of you have a great and wonderful Christmas and experience the love that we all were given at Christmas time.

Merry Christmas, John


Every family has countless Christmas memories to revisit every year, both funny, sweet, and fun. But the one our family tells every year is of my childhood dog, Bosco the Boston Terrier, the world’s naughtiest dog. A “good boy” he was not…

My brother and I had set out the cookies and treats for Santa and then went to bed (though not to sleep; way too excited on Christmas Eve.) My parents went back out to the living room only to notice the cookies had mysteriously vanished. They came into our rooms to question us about the magical disappearing cookies, but for once we were innocent. Right then, Bosco the Criminal, walks into the room with white confectioner’s sugar covering his black fur and smeared chocolate chip covering his white fur. We all know that look of shame and guilt a dog displays when they’ve done something wrong. Bosco had no shame. In fact, he seemed to gloat that we were dumb enough to leave a tray of cookies out and expect him not to eat every last one himself. He was a bad dog, but he gave us a great Christmas memory.


One of my favorite things about Christmas is the music. One of my earliest memories was of going into a record store in downtown Nashville with Dad when he bought the Bing Crosby Christmas album with Bing on the cover in a Santa hat. I’m not even sure if it is a real memory or not; I was only 5 when we moved away from Nashville, but the memory is so real to me that there must have been some basis in fact.

My most precious memories of music, though, involved singing in the church choir when I was in junior high and high school. Christmas was the only time that the “Purple People” (our youth choir at First United Methodist Church in Winchester, TN) sang along with the adult choir; the two choirs were brought together by our wonderful choir director, Ginger Reed. Every year we presented a Christmas Cantata on a Sunday night in December. One year we sang Handel’s Messiah, and I will never forget the thrill of standing in the choir loft after hours and hours of practice, with those talented adults, making my (very small) contribution to this amazing ensemble piece. To this day when I hear the Hallelujah Chorus, I remember every word and every note and I know exactly when to breathe while I’m singing along in my car. More importantly, I remember what it was like being a teenage girl, looking out over the congregation to find the proud faces of my parents, especially Dad with that infectious grin he had. Many of those people are gone now, including my parents and Ginger Reed, but hearing the music takes me back 40 years to the happy times I had growing up in that small town in Tennessee.


I have several good memories of Christmas’s past, but I think one of my new favorites is a tradition that started this year and I hope to continue each year. Diane, Kelly and I, along with 18 other friends from my running group, signed up to run the Ragsdale YMCA Reindeer Romp 5k race. As you know, I love to run races… but this one was not for competition, it was for pure fun! I have finally convinced Diane and Kelly to join me in my running obsession and so we thought it would be fun to all do a holiday race together! (I think Diane is more into the running than Kelly, but with a little persistence we’ll get Kelly hooked too). Months in advance Diane, Kelly, and I purchased our outfits: crazy sparkle skirts and green, red, and white striped socks.

Finally it was race day and unfortunately Diane was sick with a fever and couldn’t participate. So it was left to Kelly and I to do our best to make HMC proud with our sparkley skirts!! We ran and had so much fun! Seeing so many kids participating and so many people dressed up made you take your mind off the “running” part and enjoy the journey. (There was even someone dressed as a full chimney and fireplace, complete with stockings hung with care!)

While it was a good day for me (I recorded a new fastest 5k time), it wasn’t about the time. It was about getting out and doing something healthy with a great group of friends! This was such a fun, non-stressful event that I think it will be one of my new favorite Christmas Memories! I wish you all a very Merry Christmas… mark your calendar – you can join us for next year’s Reindeer Romp!

10421312_747092625378142_716814919734996111_n Kelly:

Christmas to me means family. My all-time favorite memory lies with my two older brothers. We were 7, 10, and 13 years old. That year we all asked Santa for the same thing- bicycles. We couldn’t wait to ride around the neighborhood with our new bikes!!! It was all we had talked about for weeks! We just knew Christmas Eve, Santa was bringing us brand new bikes!!!

Christmas morning came and we were all so excited to wake up and open presents. The last present was opened and we all knew there was not a chance we were getting what we had asked for... no bicycles! It looked as if we had made the naughty list!!!

A little while later, my mom (with a smirk on her face) asked my oldest brother to open the blinds that looked out to our deck. There sat three brand new bikes!!! One for each us! I will never forget the sound we made that morning. The dance my middle brother did and hearing my mom scream “What is it? What is out there?” Santa had pulled through!

We hope that you have some wonderful memories of Christmas past, present, and future. We thank you for your trust and your confidence in us. It is truly a joy to get to work for you every day. Have a safe and happy holiday season and a very Merry Christmas!