Holiday Memories: Allison shares her story

My fondest Christmas memory brings me back to the days when we would go to my grandparents’ house for Christmas Eve. My grandmother and grandfather passed away awhile ago, so Christmas Eve is always a day of bittersweet memories, but now that I have children, I am working on reliving some of the special Christmas memories that my grandmother created in our lives.

My grandmother would do anything for anybody. When someone was in need she would give rides, bring meals, do laundry, pray, and so much more. She always had that really warm genuine hug. She had a smile and warmth that would just melt your heart. She emanated love and care. She would always stand at the front window and wave and blow kisses every time we pulled out of the driveway. I am just setting the stage to give the feeling of warmth that would be packed into a 900 square foot ranch that hosted the likes of her 4 children and 11 grandchildren.

We would walk in, and there would be so much delicious food out on the table but the “piece de resistance” was the Christmas punch which consisted of 7up, Hawaiian punch, and vanilla ice cream, yum! Also shrimp cocktail with cream cheese and crackers, sausage bread, and amazing Italian cookies that my aunt made (and I am not a bit Italian). We were allowed to eat as much of this as we wanted before the amazing dinner even started, heaven!!

The food was amazing, but what really stood out and what I want to do with my own children is when we went out and looked for Rudolph. We would all pack into the car, or two. We would crank the Christmas carols and sing along and go looking for Rudolph and all of the Christmas lights. We saw Rudolph several times since we were near an airport 🙂 It was magical to be crammed into the car with all of our cousins giggling with excitement.

We would make a stop at a place called Trinkaus Manor which had elaborate Christmas lights, and I am talking several building sized presentations along with little glass front houses with set ups of fairy tale characters, Santa, and several others on Christmas display. They were magically dancing around in motorized fashion. This was just so amazing. All of this was created by two guys from my very small hometown that brought so much joy to so many people.  Unfortunately Trinkaus Manor had a fire in the early 90’s, but the lights were salvaged and are now on display in similar fashion in the next town over. We plan on bringing our kids to see them every year. On the way we’ll drive around and look for Rudolph.

As if this was not exciting enough… we knew the reason why we went out to look at the lights was to give Santa a chance to stop at Grandma and Grandpa’s house. So when we got back, the tree had tons of gifts just waiting for us. It was so exciting and we’d all sit around opening gifts together while from the corner of the room, grandma would be standing back with her cup of coffee, smiling with the joy that she had from seeing her pride and joy experiencing utter bliss in the wonderful loving home she and my grandfather provided. I can still see her standing there. There was never the craziness and stress of the holidays. So every Christmas I try to have the same spirit that Grandma gave and the same spirit that Christmas is all about, unconditional love, joy, and peace.

You can read more about Allison at

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