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December 24 2018

On the 12th Day of Christmas: Special Memories with Ashley MacLeay

by Ashley B. Carter

Christmas is a special time in my household, a time to spread cheer and
enjoy time with loved ones. Growing up, we were always given one gift on
Christmas Eve, matching pajamas to wear as we waited for Santa to arrive
and ate a “dinner” of hors d'oeuvres or as we liked to call them “picky
foods.” Pigs in a blanket, cheese platters, and hot cocoa filled my
Christmas Eve, while carols filled the house, and smells of evergreen
wafted throughout the living room. Christmas Day was a whirlwind time of
seeing both grandparents, opening gifts, watching movies, and enjoying time
with my enormous family – my father is one of 10 and I have over 40
cousins. It was a happy time, the best time of the year, and a time when I
thought anything was possible.



However, over the past 12 years my family and I lost our Christmas spirit.
The death of my mother at Christmastime left my family distraught. Instead
of being thankful for being together and for what we had, grief made us
lonely and sad. Eventually, our faith brought us back together and
attending Christmas Eve Mass has become a tradition in my household. It has
made me realize that Christmas, while a season and a feeling, is not
about presents or food. The true meaning of Christmas is about love,
celebrating the birth of Christ, and taking stock in what you have and how
you can make a difference in this world.

Recently, I got married and I am excited to carry on the tradition of
matching pajamas with my own family and for the many new beginnings and
traditions as a married couple. While this Christmas may not be exactly
like year’s past, (for instance, my feet will touch sand on Christmas Day
as we travel to Florida to visit my husband’s family) Christmas Eve service
will remain a part of the tradition. I am looking forward to creating a
lifetime of special moments and memories as Mrs. MacLeay.

 





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