What do we say in this 21st century that might be correct? To be correct and definitely not damage anyone’s feelings should it be: Happy Holidays, Season’s Greetings, Merry Christmas, a nod of the head or better yet nothing at all? I have noticed all of the above and many times displayed with no emotion at all.

This is the time of year we Christians celebrate the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ. This writer realizes many will read this article that do not practice the Christian faith and offense may be taken but I assure there is none intended.

At this time in these United States there is much to be said about beliefs and lifestyles. I could offer my own opinion but will refrain.

Christmas is a time for family, if you are fortunate to have one. A time for laughter around the dinner table, a time to remember the loved ones that are there and of course those that were once there. Christmas is a time to truly count your blessings. A time to hear children’s laughter, time to hear a senior tell that old story one more time and pretend it’s the very first time you are hearing it. Christmas is a time to tell those that mean the most to you how you really feel.

Christmas is a time to smell the aroma of cooking that has been made with tender love and caring. Christmas is a time to consider others around you, to give and give again. Christmas is a season to remember “WHY” we celebrate and on Christmas morning tell the children why we do what we do.

If you don’t tell them they won’t know for when you come right down to it, it’s against the law of these United States for their teachers to tell them the real reason for the season. I do however know plenty of teachers, right here in East Texas that take every opportunity to share the story of the birth of Christ at the risk of being reprimanded or even the loss of their jobs. For these brave men and women we are very thankful.

Traditions are planned and practiced every year and those we shall remember for years to come. We shall call them childhood memories.

Each time I think of the times my mother and grandmother would cook the chicken and dressing I can almost smell the aroma and see the flour sack of tea cakes hanging on the wall my mother had made the day before. The smell of the fresh cut tree and the time we took to decorate it as though it was the most important task in the world. The excitement of seeing the relatives we had not seen since the same time last year welled up inside gaining momentum each day until they arrived. My cousins I know grew at least 12 inches since last Christmas, for I was still the smallest. Oh the memories of the holidays.

For my own children I decided long ago to display the picture albums of past Christmas’ each year. I place photos of only Christmas and Thanking holidays in separate albums and bring them out on Christmas eve for all to see and remember those years past and to remember those loved ones that are no longer with us. It just seems to warm the hearts of all around.

For those that have loved ones that are not here this year try and remember their smile, their hugs, their warm words and for those that will gather with your family, love and enjoy them like it’s your last and I promise you won’t regret it.

Make it a Merry Christmas.

Barbara Watson Wood is a longtime Jacksonville resident.

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