Guest Post Series: The 12 Days of Christmas

My mom, Nancy, is posting a different Christmas memory for 12 days. She gave me her blessing to repost them here. It’s amazing how a life story can be told through the lens of a certain day.

Second Christmas Day Memory. The Betty Christmases.

During these years, I have no idea what was under the tree or even what I gave my 5 brothers for Christmas, but the big memory is all about my Grandma Minor, Betty. At some point, Betty moved from her Bay Area home to be near us in Portland as my father was her only child. Even though she just lived across town, my mother did not just invite her for Christmas dinner or even just Christmas day. My mother opened her home for about a week before and after Christmas to her sometimes difficult mother in law.

Even a few years later, after our father passed away, my mother still invited Betty to our home every year (in addition to us visiting with her every Sunday). There was much rearranging as Betty always slept in my room and I got to join Bob and Rusty or Dick at the end of the hall in the boys’ room (always the most fun room in the house). My grandmother had to have special meals and she was a lot of extra work for my mother who was already busy trying to prepare for Christmas AND handle a household of six rather boisterous children – think of all that cleaning, laundry, cooking (and sguabbling children) going on every day!

Betty got around with great difficulty and the help of her cane; and she used a large magnifying glass to see; but she was still very clever with her mind and talented with her hands.

Once enthroned in her chair, the card table was brought to her and we spent hours with Grandma doing jigsaw puzzles, playing dominoes, and Canasta. There were many hours spent with glue, gold spray paint, glitter, and pushing pins through sequins into Styrofoam balls.

For some reason, Betty was happily tasked with making the two gargantuan wreaths for our church every year; and we kids gathered greens from the neighborhood to add to the cedar that came in large bags. Like surgical assistants, we handed her whatever she called out for – Clippers! Number 5 wire! Two more pine cones! Another bunch of holly- make sure it has red berries! Once finished, she even helped us make our own little wreaths with the left overs.

In the spirit of Advent as we reflect on opening our hearts and preparing for Christmas, I remember how my mother opened her home giving my grandmother the greatest Christmas gift of being included; and how we all worked together as we prepared our family, home and community for Christmas.

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Part of the solution since 1973.

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