Christmas Memories

Posted on in Todd Talks by Todd Johnson

This time of the year is special to me for so many reasons. It really is the most wonderful time of the year for me. People are generally in a better mood and are kinder to one another. That's the stuff that makes me smile when I see it. Kindness. There is something heartwarming about witnessing a kind act from one human to another, or from a human to an animal, or the occasional viral video of kindness between animals. Those are fun.

When I see a stranger do something kind for someone else, it tells me all I need to know about that person. They could be a world class athlete, a teacher, maybe a salesperson in their professional life, but none of that matters if they're not also kind. You can be amazing at your job for 40-50 years, and then you can retire (hopefully). Yet, when all is said and done, you're just another person. You have your whole life to be a good person. But I digress.

What I really want to share this month are memories from my childhood that December and, specifically, Christmas, always conjure up.

I remember the feel of new carpet under my bare feet on Christmas Eve one year when I was very young. It was so soft and plush, and it just felt like Christmas.

I would wake up every year around 2:00 a.m. and sneak out to the tree and look at all the gifts and then sleep on the couch with my stocking. One year, I woke up my sister, and we played tic-tac-toe on my Magna-Doodle until our parents woke up.

I could count on getting a few things every year. The first was an orange in the bottom of my stocking. To this very day, the smell of citrus at Christmas is just as important to me as the smell of pine. The next thing I always received was a model car. I would spend the rest of my Christmas break painstakingly putting my car together. And, finally, there would always be old fashioned hard candies. I would keep them loose in my stocking until my parents would ask to pack it away for the next year. I didn't mind the fuzz from inside my stocking being stuck to the candies. I ate them anyway.

Once all the gifts were opened and all the piles of torn paper were picked up, we either got dressed and went to a family member's house, or we welcomed family into our home. It was a rotation.

Looking back is so fun. It reminds me just how lucky I was and how much I had — none of which was deserved. I will forever be indebted to my parents for the life they gave to my sister and me. I can't wait to spend time with them, and to see them making more memories with their grandchildren on Christmas.