OUR CORNER: Holiday memories better than gifts

The holiday season is upon us and Friday morning, many Christmas shoppers hit some of the stores early.

The holiday season is upon us and Friday morning, many Christmas shoppers hit some of the stores early.

With the recession, businesses are looking to increase their profit margin, while shoppers are looking for the best deals to reduce their spending.

They should break even.

I believe holidays can be a joyful time for anyone. It’s not how much you get or how much you give, but it’s the time spent with making memories with family and friends.

While growing up in a small community in Louisiana, I had to privilege of living within walking distance of my grandparents.

Both sets of grandparents lived through the Great Depression. The grandchildren always heard first-hand accounts about life during that era in American history.

They lived simple lives without luxuries like running water and restrooms until I was 10 years old.

My grandparents had small farms and basically lived off the land. They grew corn, raised chickens and pigs, and always planted a large garden. My grandfathers were avid hunters and fishermen and there was no shortage of meat or fish during the winter months.

I don’t remember a Christmas tree being put up in their homes, but it was visiting them on Christmas morning which was special and memorable.

After we received our presents from our parents Christmas morning, we got dressed and headed to my grandparents’ homes.

The first stop was to my paternal grandparents’ wooden, two-bedroom home. There were treats like pecans and candies on the table, along with coffee or milk.

They never gave the grandchildren gifts wrapped in brightly-colored paper, but there was always a plate of my grandmother’s freshly-baked cookies waiting.

When you entered the front door, you could tell she was up early to prepare them. She called them “teacakes.” I don’t know how she made them, but they were the best.

My grandfather would be setting in the front room next to the wood-burning stove sipping on coffee or smoking his pipe.

We always managed to give them presents and watched as they unwrapped their gifts. It was always something they could use.

The next stop – one mile down the road – was the small, white home of my maternal grandparents.

My maternal grandmother loved giving us small gifts along with a hug, while my grandfather gave us money.

And there was always something on the table to eat, most of the time caramel popcorn. We’d present their gifts to them and for some reason they always seemed surprised.

My grandmother loved stuffed animals and religious items and my grandfather loved cologne.

It wasn’t the gifts that were important, but it was the love I felt from my grandparents.

As I’ve grown older, those Christmas memories still linger.

There are no photographs or homemade movies to remind me, but just feelings tucked away deep inside.

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