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Christmas mementoes live on

Up For Debate column by Jessica Lovell: The year I was born, my parents postponed Christmas.

My mother, already weeks past her due date, had given up hoping this baby would come before Christmas. Instead, she became determined that I should wait.

She had a special Christmas morning planned for her 19-month-old daughter, and the new baby was threatening to spoil it.

In the end, I had no consideration for her plans.

I was born just days before Christmas, and my mother woke up Christmas morning in a hospital bed. It was not because there were complications (although I can’t say there were none), but rather because in those days new moms were kept in hospital longer.

Lucky for my mom, her other little girl was too young to know one day from another, and my parents easily fooled her into believing that Boxing Day was Christmas.

It’s a story I hear every year when my birthday comes around. And there are a couple of interesting Christmas mementoes that accompany the story.

One of those is a picture of a fir tree surrounded by what seems like far too many presents for a young family. Among the gifts, a child-size table and chairs built by my mother’s grandfather, a doll carriage, and a real live doll wrapped in red and green Christmas paper.

It seems the nurses sent me home from hospital wrapped as a Christmas cracker. This was also before the days of stringent infant car seat regulations.

As I understand it, I was presented to my big sister as one of her gifts – something my parents probably did because they thought it would be good for a laugh.

I think my sister took it to heart.

The other interesting Christmas memento was on my mother’s breakfast tray in the hospital on Christmas morning.

Next to her morning o.j., there was a little “gift” – a pine-cone Santa, with a face of glued-on scraps of felt and a red felt hat. A green thread tied to the pine cone makes him a Christmas tree ornament.

As the story goes, the little fellow was made by a child in the hospital.

I’m guessing that child had no idea that his little pine cone would be hanging on my Christmas tree some 35 years later.

It is the oldest ornament on my tree, and as far as sentimental value goes it ranks pretty high.

It hung on most of my family’s Christmas trees throughout my childhood, and one year my mother decided to make a gift of it to me.

It now hangs alongside an eclectic collection of ornaments that my father has given to me, a few at a time, each Christmas for over 10 years.

The tree is artificial, but don’t worry, I plan to keep it for a long time.

My sweetheart gave it to me last year – our first Christmas together – and already it has tons of sentimental value.

I expect we will add to it as the years go on and we make new Christmas memories and new stories, which I will gladly unpack every year along with the Christmas decorations.

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