What does the holiday spirit mean to you?
It means family, worship, thanksgiving, sharing, having Christmas meals, parties and gathering with family and friends, going to Church, listening to the Messiah, joy, fellowship, peace and love...celebrating the true meaning of Christmas...without the fanfare of the world.
What are your favorite childhood holiday memories?
One of my favorite memories of Christmas was receiving a black doll when I was about four, five maybe six years old at the most. The dolls I had before had been rag dolls, but this one had a porcelain face and when you set the baby down, it would cry or if you pressed the hand, it'd make noises. I loved that doll. That was one of my favorite gifts.
Another favorite memory was finding all these apples and oranges and raisins and nuts like Brazil nuts, walnuts (we had pecans in our area so those wouldn't be special), and colorful candy. It'd come in a package all boxed up and it would come at the foot of your bed. This was special and a tradition that my mother continued even when we realized that there was no Santa. I was pretty young when I realized there was no Santa Claus. We'd sneak up to the attic and play with the toys before Christmas and then put them back in the attic. When my mom realized that that we were doing that, she said, "OK, no more Santa Claus for you." But of course, she'd still leave us goodies at the foot of our bed.
Another memory is the smell of all the tasty food my mother would cook for the Christmas holidays. I learned while kind of young how to make different kinds of candy and cookies so these were special treats I enjoyed making.
I also like decorating the doors of our house and my grandparents' home with berries and other plants that my brothers and I found in the woods on our farm. I'd tie these decorations with red scarfs my mother would sew.
What are your favorite holiday traditions?
Having a Christmas cantata at church or school when I was younger and as I got older, we'd go down to a presentation of the Messiah by a church choir.
What is your favorite holiday song? Holiday movie?
I really enjoy the songs in the Messiah. We play that at family gatherings throughout this time of year so that one is one of my favorites. (Below is a heartwarming video of a choir surprising a food court with their rendition of Handel's Hallelujah chorus.) My favorite holiday movie of the last ten or twelve years is Les Miz - I want to see the one coming this year but it's not going to be in my area soon. My husband probably won't mind that he doesn't like that kind of thing (laugh).
What do you want for the holidays?
I want success for the Obama administration trying to reach its goals and bring America back to where it needs to be and where it can be. For myself, I'd like better vision. I've been having some problems with one of my eyes. So I just want for my eyes to get better. I want to spend time with family and friends at Christmas Day dinner and other holiday gatherings, and at church. My hope is that all of our needs will be met.
What would it mean to you for someone to receive something Southern Journeys made for the holidays?
It means a lot. That we're able to produce something that people really want. That they know that you put something special in producing these items for them.
This concludes our Holidays with SJ series. We hope the experiences shared here give you a better idea of the people behind our products. We send peace, love and tidings of great joy. Merry Christmas Eve to you and those you hold dear.