Published: December 03. 2012 2:54PM
Compiled by Stephanie Trotter
Photographed by Cindy Hosea
This time of year tugs at heartstrings, stirring up memories of holidays past. For some, the fondest reflection features a one-time occurrence. For others, blended recollections of a single, long-standing tradition jump to mind.
For me, the season isn’t the same without trekking to downtown Dallas midday on Christmas Eve for Tubafest with The Trotter Tribe. After this crazy concert of carols, we head to Luna’s to pick up authentic, corn husk-wrapped tamales “con salsa roja y verde” for the next morning’s holiday breakfast. Finally, as the mall countdown clock shifts from hours to minutes, we break-apart to power-shop (procrastination runs deep in our DNA) and that night, it’s a mad scramble to wrap gifts as we watch “White Christmas” for the 100th time. Tubas, Tex-Mex and tape warmly sums up the chaos that is Christmas with my family.
What’s your favorite holiday memory? Head over to TALK’s Facebook page and share it with us! In the meantime, here are some familiar faces reflecting upon Christmas past, present and future.
My sweetest Christmas was also my saddest Christmas. It was 1998, and I was still living in New York City anchoring for CBS News. Mario and I had just gotten married in January and God blessed us with baby George in late October. I was excited to celebrate my first Christmas as a wife and a mother.
But then my precious daddy passed away on Dec. 20, the day after his 85th birthday. This loss threatened the joy of the holiday. But as our family celebrated his life at his funeral on Dec. 23, we sang “Joy To The World.” It was the most joy-filled moment for me. Standing in my home church, blessed by the majesty of the Chrismon tree before me, and friends and family surrounding me, I was struck by God’s goodness. He knew when He wanted to call my daddy home, but He blessed me first with Mario and George. The true meaning of the season rang into the depths of my heart.
Joy to the world, indeed.
U.S. congressional representative
Taking my wife Terri to the annual White House Christmas Party will always be one of my fondest Christmas memories. Because she works in education and we still have a child at home, she rarely gets to come to Washington. I wanted her to see the history of the White House, the beauty of Christmas, the fact that this house belongs to all Americans and we rent it in four-year cycles to the presidents and their families.
There is no partisanship during this event. Everyone treats everyone else with respect and everyone is very gracious to family, as you would expect. President Obama, like presidents before him, waits in line with the first lady and takes photos with all attendees.
President Obama asked me the very same question President George W. Bush asked when we took a picture with him years ago. Both asked, “How does someone who looks like you get a wife that beautiful?”
“God’s grace,” I smiled and answered. What better time to celebrate it than at Christmas.
I grew up in Greenville and all my life have loved the smell, the feel and the true meaning of Christmas. I have such sweet, joy-filled memories of this special time here in the Upstate: Mom singing Handel’s “Messiah” at Furman, and Dad serving as a Santa helper in the Greenville Christmas Parade.
Christmas Day, after gifts were opened and Santa had come, we were always with family: cousins, aunts and uncles. We’d laugh, play games and enjoy wonderful food. I have so many memories: smiles, cold noses, the smell of a crackling fire and hot apple cider, laughter, and that feel of excitement in the air that Jesus’ birthday meant — and still means to me today.
Wife of the former U.S. ambassador to Canada
It was our first Christmas up there (Canada) and our entire family made plans to come up, including my daughter-in-law’s entire family, as well as her grandmother.
We all drew names and exchanged presents Christmas morning. We had fires roaring in the fireplace. And I’ve always wanted to do this: we had a horse-drawn carriage come and take us around the neighborhood. It had jingle bells on the horses. It was freezing cold. We sang carols and it was one of those Dickens’ type Christmases and a novelty that, living in the South, we never have. That was probably our most special Christmas up there and just a beautiful setting. It was perfect.
The Handlebar owner
Way back when I was in high school, my family spent the days before Christmas in Kirchdorf, a tiny, fairy tale village in the Austrian Alps. Fancy as that sounds, it happened that Dad was stationed in then-West Germany, so driving to the Tirol was about as momentous a trip as getting from Greenville to Raleigh.
The holiday season in the snow-blanketed village was like something out of an ancient Christmas story. One night, we all bundled up and clambered into horse-drawn sleighs with, yes, jingle bells, and we dashed through the cold night and watched a torch-lit procession snake down one of the mountain slopes. Another night (I think it was even Christmas Eve) we went to church to thank the Lord for such beauty and for His astonishing largesse. In the darkness fluttering only with the candles that each parishioner held, I listened in shuddering awe to “Silent Night,” a hymn written some 150 years before in a village not too far from where the worshipers sang softly, in harmony and in the original German, “Stille nacht, heilige nacht” — silent night, holy night.
Because it was — and still is.
The ultimate hostess
I have actually had a Christmas drop-in every year since I was 11 years old. Now it is the Christmas present I give myself.
Between the shop (Shops of Provence) and TALK, December gets really busy for me and this is a chance to see all of my friends during the holidays. I just entice them to come to me. It is the most precious gift I receive: spending time with friends during the hectic holiday season.
Greenville’s favorite newlyweds
Our first Christmas together was last year and we went to Hawaii to see Blake’s mom, sister and step dad. We were engaged and did think, “Wow, this is our last Christmas as singles.” It was absolutely beautiful. We did so many things— stand-up paddling boarding, we zip-lined, went scuba diving and hiked all over the island. It was very fun and just a great adventure. But I can’t wait to start our own traditions. His mom wants us to come back this year, but I want to stay around here and have our first Christmas as a married couple. I want to wake up here Christmas morning and have it be our family: us and our little puppy, Molar Bear.
|Holly and Blake can't wait to create new holiday memories as husband and wife.Cindy Hosea/Staff|