Whether you start singing along, or grimacing at the overplayed sound of Christmas music, the holidays always mean something to everyone. Unlike other celebrations throughout the year, the holidays celebrated near the end are perhaps the loudest, most in-your-face, and dare I say, jolliest times of the year. Being so, we all have heartfelt memories or remarkable moments that have happened this time. Different people with different families and different backgrounds make for unique memories that tell us a lot about who we are, as well as how weird our families can be. Let’s all gather around this hypothetical chimney and grab a cup of hot cocoa, as we share The Mustang writer’s best holiday memories.
Anna Daggett, Writer
Growing up, my family would always go to my Nana’s house for Christmas. It’s something that we still do today. There was never any snow there on holidays because of the desert country, but everything was always magical. We would arrive to a warm house decorated for Christmas and have a feast of whatever food was our favorite that year. We would spend the first half of the week hanging out, baking, and playing games.
On Christmas Eve we would all go to my other aunts house and have a comida. This would consist of enchiladas, tamales, rice, and beans. Everyone would bring a dish so there was always plenty of food to go around. Afterward we would eat dessert, hand out gifts, play games, and watch movies. If we made it to Midnight Mass we would go and afterward, we’d proceed to wait for Santa. If we couldn’t stay up, Santa would bring us our presents early, so we’d have time to go to church.
Christmas Day was always the best. We would all wake up and open our gifts while we ate pie for breakfast. After seeing our gifts we would either get ready for church or go play with our latest toys. Sometimes the day after Christmas we would take a road trip to Amarillo, just to get out and spend time together as a family. It was really the best.
Brenda Acosta, Writer/Intern
One of my favorite Christmas memories was when I was around eight or nine years old and I found out that Santa Claus wasn’t real. You would expect that when a child is told Santa Claus isn’t real their life would seem like it’s falling apart. Like what’s next? The tooth fairy is fake too? However, that wasn’t the case for me because unlike most kids, I handled the situation pretty calmly.
It was a couple weeks before Christmas and my parents took me to a toy shop and several other stores asking me to pick my favorite toys or things I wanted, so that Santa Claus could see what I wanted for Christmas. The reason they did this was because I wrote my letters to Santa in English, so they obviously had a hard time translating what I wanted and they figured this would be easier to do. Although, in a way, it was a bad idea because I wanted everything I saw at the stores.
After a few hours of going around and choosing things I wanted “Santa” to bring me, my dad said he needed to go buy some parts for his truck and that he would be back soon. Of course, I didn’t catch on that he was lying and he was going to buy a lot of the things that I had picked out at that store and at the previous ones. My mom continued to look around the store with me and after some time I saw my dad pass by with a cart filled with toys that I had picked out. I told my mom and she said that she didn’t see anything, but I could have sworn it was my dad!
After that, I became very curious and thought back to all the times my cousins and even friends in school would tell me about Santa Claus not being real. I connected the dots and decided to confront my parents about Santa Claus the day I got my presents. (For some reason, I thought that if I confronted them before Christmas Day, I wouldn’t receive any presents.) So, Christmas rolled around the corner and sure enough under the Christmas tree were all the toys I had picked out that day at the toy store and everywhere else.
Once I had opened all my gifts and played with them for a while, I got up and asked my parents if Santa Claus was real. They were a little shocked, but my mom eventually said that he wasn’t. I nodded my head, sassily turned around, and went back to play with my toys. Later, in the day my mom asked me how I found out and I told her that I saw my dad pass by with a cart filled with all the toys that I had picked out. She and my dad laughed, but also agreed that it was time for me to find out the truth.
Eric Lowe, Editor
My favorite memory dates back to the year 1997, when I was only seven years old. Growing up, my dad drove a truck and was usually gone three weeks out of the year, so for this Christmas it was only me, my mother and my brother, who was only about five months old at the time. We were going to visit my grandparents on Christmas Eve and I vividly remember John Denver and The Muppets singing “The Twelve Days of Christmas” on the radio as we drove through town.
My mom, my grandparents and I stayed up until midnight on Christmas Eve, for I was determined to disprove the existence of Santa Claus! (Unlike Brenda, I was a weird kid) I still remember sitting in the living room late at night watching How the Grinch Stole Christmas, (the original animated special, not that terrifying Jim Carrey movie) while my mom and her step-mother were in the kitchen making fudge. However, the thing that really makes this memory special to me is the fact that it snowed that night, something that is almost unheard of in Deming, New Mexico.
Driving home the following day, the ground was covered in snow. It was less than an inch, but it was still snow. When we got home, my dad was there waiting for us. All in all, it was pretty cool, and I still think about this particular memory every year around this time. However, it does make me feel really old realizing that this memory is older than a good chunk of the students attending our university, including a couple of the people writing this article.
Katia Ibarra, Staff Reporter
This Christmas memory doesn’t go as far down memory lane, happening only three years ago. The coziness and warmth of this memory was what I remember the most. My mom, younger brother, and I lived in a very small two story apartment back in Douglas, Arizona. It was cozy and had a wonderful view of the main street and the sounds of rushing cars would lull me to sleep. That Christmas, we only had my grandma over and we believed ourselves to be true chefs and made ratatouille for our Christmas dinner, just to change things up, (anybody can cook, right?) Taking a few bites, I found myself staring at my plate and realizing one: how much I hated vegetables and two: that the Pixar movie of the same name made the dish look much more appetizing. Of course, my mom thought this might happen and had a back up dinner in case our experiment went poorly. I ended up eating a turkey breast with my little brother.
After hours of waiting, the clock struck midnight and it was officially Christmas Day. Mom took a huge pack of fireworks outside and we proceeded to light up $30 worth of very colorful and very loud gunpowder. It wasn’t until we realized that bullets might come raining down the longer we stood outside that we decided to take the fireworks back in our little backyard, which had a bit of a roof to shield us. Due to the location change we switched to smaller fireworks that still could be a possible hazard, which was something grandma kept telling us about. Mom and I kept lighting things on fire and after lots of laughter and bad decisions we came to realize that a blanket (which was near the back door of our apartment) had gone up in flames. Laughter turned into… more laughter, only slightly more nervous in order to disguise our internal panic as we tried to extinguish the growing fire.
Grandma and mom filled cups with water while I took it the extra mile and filled up a bucket. There were no dark marks on the wall or anything of that sort, which was good, but after the experience we all calmed down and went back inside to open our presents while watching a Paquita La Del Barrio concert on TV. It gave me some time to reflect; Paquita had nothing to do with Christmas, but then again neither did ratatouille. Almost setting the house on fire wasn’t a Christmas tradition either. I wasn’t expecting to end with a moral to this story, but I realized that you don’t have to follow tradition to have a memorable holiday. Although the moral could also be just don’t play with fire.
Special Guest: Marissa Aguirre, English Teacher at Douglas High/Former Staff Reporter
For a good majority of my childhood, my mom’s side of the family would all gather at my grandma’s house on Christmas Eve, and we would exchange gifts in the wee hours of the night when everyone was able to finally gather together. The kids would always go first, and then the adults. Well the year I was eight years old, a pivotal moment in my life happened. You could say it pushed me onto the path I am on today.
As the adults were getting their Secret Santa gifts ready, it was my turn to open up a gift from my Tia. As I unwrapped this somewhat light feeling square thing, it turned out to be a tall, white journal with the cutest looking rabbit ever tending to his garden with a carrot in hand. The journal also came with its own pen, and as soon as I combed through the empty pages, awing at all of the lines, the only thing I wanted to do was write about this moment to keep it ingrained forever in my personal history. And I did. I ran to my Tia’s empty room away from everyone else, laid down on the bed, and filled out the first page….