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Samantha Jones

Sam's Notebook

Samantha Jones is associate editor for Carroll County Newspapers. Her email address is CCNNews@cox-internet.com

Opinion

Christmas dreams

Friday, December 6, 2019

Like many of you, I love Christmas. The lights, the decor, the spirit of togetherness ĖĖ I love it all. My mom taught me to love this time of the year practically from the womb. Our family get-togethers are all about good food, competitive games and thoughtful gifts.

Mom definitely spoiled me growing up, but she took it to a whole different level on Christmas. Looking under our Christmas tree, you would have thought she had four kids, not just one. My nana and papaw spoiled me with gifts, too, and then there was Christmas with my dadís side of the family. It was a whirlwind, to say the least.

Seeing how much effort my loved ones put into Christmas made me want to grow up really fast. Itís tough to balance being spoiled and grateful ĖĖ all my life, people have remarked that I must be selfish because I am an only child. I have always been aware of that, working hard to be polite and express gratitude to everyone who has helped me along the way. Especially during Christmas, I dreamed of spoiling my family in return.

Unfortunately, children generally donít have a bank account, much less a dedicated budget for Christmas gifts. It turns out adults donít always have that either. For the past five years, my husband and I have been mostly independent and mostly poor. Gideonís three years in graduate school put a ton of pressure on us financially; those of you who have pursued higher education know what Iím talking about.

Itís expensive to pay university fees, so my dreams of giving our loved ones the Christmas of my childhood fell at the wayside for a while. But this year is different. This year, Gideon is finishing his first semester as a full-time teacher at Eureka Springs Middle School. We are more stable than ever and life is good.

We are finally at a place where we can give back to those who have so kindly given to us over the years. Until last year, my mom and nana helped us with some small bills and even sent a few random gestures of kindness, like a surprise grocery order or a sweet care package for the kitty cats. We could have done everything on our own, but I am so thankful we didnít have to. Thatís what family is for.

And thatís why I am so thankful to be in a good position this holiday season. Gideon and I are ecstatic to spoil our family, especially my mom. Looking back, there were a few holiday seasons where my mom pushed through personal turmoil to make sure I had good memories. I didnít fully understand it until I became an adult and realized how stressful this time of the year can be. Mom never let that show. She made December the most joyous month of the year regardless of how much money she had.

We always hear people talk about how Christmas isnít about presents and I completely agree with that. Christmas is about showing kindness and love to everyone ĖĖ†those you know and those you donít. I am fortunate to have sweet memories of past Christmases and I hope make new memories this year.

As always, thank you for reading my column. I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Gideon and I are looking forward to celebrating the Christmas season with all our friends in Carroll County and beyond.