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Christmas about moments of lifetime

By By James Crawford
News Editor
This past weekend, my wife and I went shopping for last-minute presents for nieces and nephews for our trip home on Christmas day. Each year, I think I'll get my shopping done early and avoid the crowds, but it never seems to work out just the way I'd like it.
It's inevitable that we won't agree on what to give everybody or how much to spend and I usually just give up and let her pick out what to buy; a wise idea anyway because she's much better at it than I, but I still have to put up a fight at first, right? I mean I would hate to break the husband's code of conduct or something.
During the middle of the mad dash to find some little something for everyone, I had the same epiphany that I have every year. What in the world are we doing shopping for presents when Christmas should be just be about spending time together and enjoying each others company.
I'd love for someone to tell me at just what moment in time Christmas became more about toys, gadgets and presents under the tree then about family and friends.
With that said, yes, I can still remember when I was young and my parents loaded my sister and I down with gifts. It was a race to the tree every Christmas to divide the packages and rip them open. But the funny thing is I can't remember without the help of a photo album or seeing them what most of those presents where.
What I do remember though, to the most minuet detail is my mother cooking breakfast for us. The warm laughter of Christmas morning and my mothers smiling face at the breakfast table. I also remember my father playing the guitar for us. Songs of Rudolph and Frosty the Snowman will forever be part of my most cherished Christmas memories.
Some Christmas mornings I can still hear him singing in my head. I can remember my grandparents on Christmas morning, all the food laid out like the feast of Whoville at the end of the story of "How the Grinch Stole Christmas."
These are the memories that will fill my head on Christmas. Oh sure, I remember my first Tonka Toy, and my first action figure. I still have some of those in a box back in Tuscaloosa. But the presents are just a very, very small part of the true meaning of Christmas.
Now don't get me wrong, I'll still get excited when I'm handed my gifts on Christmas day just like everyone else. And for a moment in time, I'll be a kid again and my eyes will bug out while I rip the wrapper off in gleeful anticipation of what may lay inside.
But when reality sets in, it's the thought of having something special from my Mother or my wife or my daughter to contain yet another memory of a time we spent together that will mean the most to me.
It's the smallest things in life that we overlook during the present but that we dwell upon in the future. And its measure of those smallest things that define how good our lives have been and how special the people we shared that life with really are.
James Crawford is News Editor of The Atmore Advance. He can be reached at 368-2123 or by e-mail at james.crawford@atmoreadvance.com.