Flanders, Riverside And Northampton Community Notes, December 26

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Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and your family. As you’re reading this, I’m likely preparing the house for all of our Christmas Eve festivities. All those preparations make me think back to my childhood and Christmas Eve spent at my Granny’s house.

There were always so many people there—family, friends and, of course, Santa. I can remember being put to bed at 9 p.m. in the same bedroom that my dad used to share with my uncle and, a few hours later, Granny and Pop Pop would come in to wake us up and tell us that Santa had been there. We’d be so excited that we’d run to their tree and open up the presents.

We were very lucky because, you see, Santa visited us twice on Christmas Eve! Shortly after we were done opening presents, we’d get in the car with Mom and Dad and head on home so we could get in our own beds before Santa’s sleigh made it to Syosset.

I have such great memories of those Christmas Eve celebrations and would give just about anything to go back and sit at the piano next to my Granny as she played Christmas carols with everyone singing along.

Some years later, my Mom took over the Christmas Eve planning and everyone would gather around the fireplace at our house. Now, many years later, it is my turn.

Don’t get me wrong—I don’t think I could ever live up to my Granny or my Mom, but as long as I have my family close, that is all I really need. I mean presents are nice, too, and dinner is always delicious and don’t even let me get started about the cookies.

But after the year we’ve had losing both my mother-in-law and father-in-law, plus my Granny, I understand now more than ever the importance of family, and the importance of being together and sharing special memories like these.

There are so many more memories, far too many to count. Still, as plentiful as they are, I can count just as many blessings and I ask you to take a look around this Christmas and count your blessings. Take a long, hard look at your children, your friends and your family, and be thankful. And savor those memories.

Merry Christmas to all.

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