Can you remember your favorite Christmases? Do you remember what made them special?
Christmas is always a special time of the year for me. I have many wonderful memories of Christmas. I can remember all the times we went to midnight Mass on Christmas Eve. I remember the Christmas open houses we had as a child where my mom would sit and play the piano. I remember the first year we had steak for Christmas dinner and how that became a tradition. All of those things are wonderful memories, but today I want to share with you the story of one of my favorite Christmases ever…
When I was little we lived next door to two boys who were some of my closest friends. Ryan was a year older than me, and Cameron was a couple years younger. We lived at the bottom of a hill, Ryan and Cameron lived one door up, and we eventually came to learn that Sheila lived at the top. My brother Stephen (the middle child) and I played with Ryan and Cameron regularly. We went to different schools, but spent most weeknights and weekends together. We played baseball in the backyard, roller skated in the basement, played at the park and in the creek (sorry mom), and basically any other kid activities you can think of.
This story isn’t about any of that though. This story is about the year we got snowed in for Christmas. We were supposed to leave town and go to my grandparent’s house for Christmas. However, we had a giant snow storm and were unable to leave town. You might think that sounds like the beginning of a disappointing Christmas, but it was the start of one of my favorite Christmases ever.
With all the snow there wasn’t much to do, but we decided we would go sledding. Ryan and Cameron were supposed to get flexible flyer sleds for Christmas, but their parents couldn’t help themselves and gave them to them early for us to enjoy on Christmas Eve. Stephen and I (Nicholas was too young) had orange toboggan sleds. The four of us along with my mom and their dad spent the entire day sledding. We started at the top of the hill and would end in our yard 3 houses down. It was the perfect snow for sledding and we had a blast. Up and down the hill we would go over and over again. There was enough snow that the flexible flyer sleds flew down the hill perfectly, and yet it was compact enough that the toboggans also slid across it with ease. We took turns on all the sleds sometimes going down alone, sometimes going down with partners, and of course many times racing one another or seeing who could go the farthest. Every time someone made it farther than anyone had made it before there were cheers and the bar was raised.
Sometime in the evening a guy that was dating Jennifer (Ryan and Cam’s older sister) showed up. He was dressed kind of nice and they were preparing to go out. Ryan kept asking him to go on the sled, but the guys refused. He didn’t want to get dirty or wet before they left. Finally after much convincing and persuading the guy gave in. Ryan repeatedly assured him that it would be fine, and there was no way they were going to hit a tree. I mean no one had hit a tree all day. I am sure you can guess what happened next. They got on the sled with Ryan and immediately they slammed into a tree. Picture the movies where a kid hits the tree and tree unloads piles of snow on the unsuspecting rider. That is exactly how this played out. It was the only time anyone hit a tree that day, and man was it funny. 20 years later and I am still laughing about it.
I don’t know how long we were out there, but I remember how frozen I felt once we gave up and went inside. Funny how I don’t remember being cold at all, until the day was over and I was in the house. It was definitely worth braving the cold though as to this day it is one of my favorite Christmases. Great friends, great fun, and great memories!