Days Past: Christmas 1918 
— WWI over, rationing relaxed
It’s NOT the Presents…. but the PRESENCE
by Cate Murway

“Christmas was meant for children. Children like you and me. 
With mistletoe and holly and toys upon the tree….” 

For some reason, the world and many stores begin "celebrating" Christmas around Halloween and the magic of Christmas starts to bloom everywhere.
Christmas, for most, is a time of family. Without family Christmas would be a pale shadow of what it is.
It’s all about making memories at Christmas 2018 and the warmth of family.
Christmas is such a wonderful time of year and yet it also seems to be filled with so much fluff, materialism and just plan busyness….. Except for some whom…..

*Cherish memories that are irreplaceable; togetherness moments with fun shared and meaningful things done together.

“I am spending it with a friend who well, it may be her last Christmas. It makes you realize more than ever it’s NOT about the gifts. The gifts are those of family, friendship, caring, giving, and love. The men...well they might add the football game into that …lol.”  Carolyn McIntyre, Bristol, PA

“My daughter had a baby boy 2 months ago; my son had his first baby (boy) 1 month ago. I'm having a family get together Christmas Eve and these 2 baby cousins will be together for the first time. I'm so excited. I drive the River Runner (with the top hat) for Raising the Bar.” Rich Hendricks, Levittown, PA

*Let your inner sparkle shine. The joy of brightening others’ lives and hopefully easing their burdens becomes for many the magic of Christmas.

“This year I’ll be staying in New York and hosting dinner for some friends that are too far from their families for the holidays.” Arianne Brown, NYC

*The greatest gift you can ever receive is not found in the shoppes or under your Christmas tree. It is found in the hearts of your loving family and true friends.

“It is a time to appreciate our many blessings, shared with family and friends. We laugh and speak of Christmases past.” BC Clerk of Courts, Mary K. Smithson, New Hope, PA

“After dealing with the loss of my father this past summer, I am making this Christmas season memorable by cherishing and enjoying every moment with as many family members as possible this Christmas and every holiday season to come.” Jackie Zackowski, Bristol, PA

“Christmas will start on the 23rd with my side of the family going to lunch at a fun restaurant and opening gifts. This will be our first year without my mom so we wanted to do something different. We go to Mass on Christmas Eve and then spend Christmas dinner and the night with my in-laws.” Bethany Zalewski Gaspari, Langhorne, PA

“I am making my Christmas most memorable by continuing many traditions I have with my family and by spending time with the people in my life who mean the most to me.”  Avamarie Backich, Southampton, PA 

“My immediate family spends the night on Christmas Eve. We all wake up together and open presents. My kids love it.” BRT Marketing Director, Rayna Adams, Bensalem, PA.

“The stockings by the chimney…. And hearts so full of joy…..”

“We moved from Bristol to Elkton, MD last year. 2 out of my 4 children are still in Bristol but all will be here to enjoy our dinner together! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!” Laura Lynn Ingel, Elkton, MD

“We are celebrating our traditional custom, dinner at Christmas Eve. I bought 6 identical red dresses (red velvet with white furry trim) for the little girls to wear with matching Santa hats. My grandson will also wear red shirt and we will have a photo shoot. I am going to request everyone to wear red also. I noticed that it is becoming a trend to have a dress code. I was invited to a wedding this summer and we were requested to wear white. I am hoping we will all wear red.” 
Raquel Vertucio, R.N., Bristol, PA

“We have a very relaxed Christmas. My parents fly to wherever we are living, currently in TN. Christmas Eve we have lasagna and go to Church. Christmas Day I make a breakfast casserole while the girls open their gifts from Santa and the adults drink coffee to wake up. We do drive around to see lights.” Mandi Lyn Parker Harris, Fort Campbell, TN

“We too have a very relaxed Christmas. My in-laws come up and we all get dressed in our very best and go to a casino buffet for dinner and they spend the night. On Christmas morning, we wake up to muffins and pastries and all the presents and create a video for “Grammy”, my mom who is back east in NJ, wishing her a Merry Christmas and thanking her for her gifts. Honey baked ham and easy side dishes for dinner.”  Becky Quintus Shuker, Las Vegas, NV

“Traditional kielbasa and eggs with horseradish breakfast for whoever shows, [my Polish grandpop’s tradition who has been gone many years], then running around visiting until dinner with family.” Artist, Patti A. Bradeis, Florence, NJ 

“Remembering to slow down and not rush. Make each moment count. Listening to what’s going on in each other’s lives. Laugh and relax.” Ashlee Bryn Scarborough, Warrington, PA

*Like snowflakes, memories gather and dance, each beautiful, unique and gone too soon.
The heavens are vast and they are deep ... and many secrets do they keep.

“My best memories are from my past. I’ll continue doing what I do best, making more….”  
Virginia L. Scarborough, Warrington, PA

“Cherishing the smiles of my little ones [ages 3, 2, and 3.5 months].” 
Tara Mastoris Carleton, Shrewsbury, PA

*And the REASON for the SEASON…. There is nothing wrong with the commercial aspects of Christmas, like Santa & sleigh bells, but remembering the spiritual aspects of Christmas greatly enrich the holiday.

“Let the star in the East that lead us, shine on your tree tonight. Always remember the infant, away in a manger to see……”

“Too often during the Christmas season, I wind up getting so overwhelmed by all the "must do's" that I do not allow enough time to quiet my mind and just focus on the joyous occasion that Christmas signifies. Hard to do when one is surrounded by mounds of things that need to be wrapped, cleaned or baked! Fortunately, my Church has a Chapel that is always open. So, this year in the last week before Christmas, I am going to go there once a day and spend at least 15 minutes with the Lord, counting my many blessings and remembering the real gift that Christmas brings.”
Evamarie Konow-Backich, Esq. Southampton, PA

*Share your grown-up Christmas lists….. gifts that matter ought not be wrapped in paper, but wrapped in love.

No more lives torn apart. That no more wars would ever start. And time would heal all hearts. And everyone would have a friend. And right would always win. And love would never end.
May we always remember the gift of family, friendship and love.

No matter where you are in life, today is a great time to start.

“Christmas Was Meant For Children” song lyrics

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