Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Joe and Brenda B (Memories of Christmas)

It’s hard to believe but it’s true. Suddenly we are a week away from Christmas! My husband and I recently got a baby congrats card from a longtime friend (yes Laura, that’s you!) that says, “Two’s company; three’s family.” We love that. As we celebrate the holidays for the first time as a family, with our not-so-newborn-anymore and nothing-short-of-perfect baby, I look at our seniors’ stories about this time of the year with a new determination – I am determined to give my son the kind of magic that Brenda and Joe both remember from their childhoods. In a way creating magic is a tall order. But in a way it’s simple. In a way the answer is right here in these stories.  We’ve got to stay true to the things that matter most – family togetherness, and the choice to “just love our fellow man and enjoy our lives.”

With that, on behalf of my wonderful team and our inspiring seniors, I wish you the happiest of holidays!

PS - Get ready for a huge Best Day of My Life (So Far) year ahead, as we will be expanding nationally starting with Pitman, New Jersey, AND announcing the production of a storybook for all ages. Sign up for our mailing list to get the scoop and email us at to get involved. Yup, our team and seniors have been about as busy as Santa himself  ;) !

Joe Garrison

Holidays were always a big thing when I was a child.  They were something the family always looked forward to.  When I was coming up, one of the things I looked forward to was visiting my Grandma on the holidays, especially on the Fourth of July and at Christmas.  Just being around her was such a pleasure.  Her house was always nice and cool, and she always fixed us a wonderful dinner.  Fourth of July fireworks never excited me because to me it was just a lot of noise and reminded me of guns going off.  If I could see the shapes and colors, I would probably appreciate fireworks more.  When people describe them, it is still hard to imagine because if you’ve never seen colors before, you have no reference to go by.  So Fourth of July was something different for me and was more about family.  Also when I was young, it was always a tradition for the family to have some kind of cookout. But nowadays, because families are more fragmented, it is hard to get everyone together in one place.  So without the same family experience, cookouts and picnics don’t excite me as much anymore.  I hope kids today can find some sense of holiday enjoyment and family togetherness with whatever they choose to do that particular holiday. 

Brenda Bailey
Memories of Christmas

When I was a young child, Christmas was a magical time.  After Thanksgiving, all the decorations in the city would start to appear in Wanamakers, Gembels, Strawbridges and Lit Brothers.  No matter how cold it was outside, we would spend hours and hours looking at the various Christmas scenes in the windows.  We always marveled at how they could make the movement of the characters look like they were alive.

At my house the only decoration was Xmas cards that lined the mantel and the smells from the kitchen on Xmas Eve.  We would take our bathes, put on pajamas, and try to sleep waiting for Santa Claus.  Sleep did come and in the morning we would run downstairs to a Xmas wonderland.  The tree was decorated with lights, ribbons and bows on the windows and most of all were the wrapped presents under the tree.  Our hearts almost came out of our chest with excitement.  Santa had really been busy.  The whole morning was spent opening and playing with toys and eating all kinds of goodies.  Oh for the grand old days.

When I married and had children, I tried to recreate the feeling I felt as a child, but the world had changed.  It became harder and harder to keep Santa alive because so many children were told there was no Santa and our kids became confused.  But we still kept the excitement going.

One Xmas Eve I went to the mall, bought an ice cream cone, sat on a bench, and just watched the shoppers hurry about.  Man, were they stressed!  What to buy, where to buy, who to buy for and the most stressful of all: how can I pay for it?!  And remember lots of the toys were already in the trash when the bill came.  But the most stressful time for me is how people want to be greeted!  They want Merry Christmas, because this is Christ’s birthday.  But this city has so many different religions that it becomes impossible to say, “Merry Xmas, Happy Hanukah, Happy Kwanza, Happy Buddha, Happy etc.”  So, Happy Holidays seems to cover it all.

This life has so many things to be stressful about, health insurance, keeping safe, scams, identity theft, etc.  So let’s be a little more tolerant and just love our fellow man and enjoy our lives.  After all, this is what Christ was born and died for.  The statement youth is wasted on the young is so true now that we are old.