SHERIDAN — The holidays can bring special memories of family gatherings and special moments. At the Sheridan Senior Center, the Help at Home and Family Caregiver teams decorated the door to their building with their favorite Christmas memories. Following are five fond holiday recollections the team shared.
— “My favorite Christmas was when I was about four years old,” said team member Cassie Burgland. “That night I went to bed wishing for a bike, sleeping bag and a Barbie. That next morning, I woke up to a Barbie in my arms and as I walked out to the living room, there was my puppy sleeping bag and my bike. The best part was Santa slipping the Barbie in my arms while I was sleeping.”
— “A fond memory of “many” Christmases past is the year I got the piano that I had asked Santa for,” said Stella Montano. Montano is the director of Family Caregiver Services at the Senior Center. “I was probably 5 or 6 years old. It was Christmas Eve and my dad had to go outside and check on something and just a little while later I heard bells ringing and I ran to the door. There stood my dad “out of breath” saying he saw Santa leaving our house but wasn’t able to catch up with him! As he was telling his story, I noticed the box on the porch…that Santa had left! Excitement, excitement, excitement of a little girl in awe listening to her daddy telling the story of just seeing Santa and the reindeer leaving and finding that he had left the piano she had wanted so badly! Today, that little piano has a special place in my house waiting for a new little person to enjoy it as much as I did.”
— “Growing up, every Christmas my parents would take me and my sibling to my grandparents’ house to wait for Santa’s visit. Anxiously, we would listen for the sleigh bells,” said home health aide Stephanie Mills. “He would come through the door with a “Ho! Ho! Ho!” and have each of us sit on his lap to tell him our wish list. We would each receive a bag with nuts, hard candy an apple and an orange. This was the highlight of our year, every year. After growing up and seeing a picture of myself on Satan’s lap, I learned it was my grandpa in that Santa suit and that he not only visited us at his own house, but many other children in our little town.”
— “Nowadays it’s almost unheard of for a white Christmas,” said Codee McKenzie recalling family Christmases at her family’s ranch. “I know the last few years haven’t exactly been the snowiest, and I secretly wish for them every year since that one Christmas… It was a pretty cold day and it had just snowed a few days prior so we were pretty blessed to have such a pretty blanket that year. I had been at work all day and headed to Christmas dinner after my shift. My thermostat read 12 degrees below zero. As soon as I walked through the door the first words out of my older brother was, ‘Let’s go for a ride.’ I was thinking he had totally lost his mind but he suckered me in anyway. So away we went to the hills for our annual Christmas ride, and I was not happy. My toes were numb, my face was frozen, and I could hardly tolerate his singing as we rode off across that white blanket. Even though I almost froze to death, that is until my favorite Christmas looking back.”
— “I grew up in my grandmother’s house,” said Help at Home team member, Teresa Peterson. “On Christmas Eve all, the family would come to grandma’s to make pierogies and kulacha. We always attended Christmas mass on Christmas morning in the old Catholic church. After church, we began the process of making homemade noodles for chicken and noodle soup we always had on Christmas day. My grandma’s house was always warm — we had a coal cook stove and a pot belly in the front room. All us kids would sled down Arlington hill on Fifth Street.
We used old car hoods and shovels to sled on. What fun we had! We would warm our bodies by the old pot belly and have soup. We didn’t have much money — but we were truly rich with love.”