Here we are, another Christmas, another gathering of family, friends, and merriment with reflecting on the birth of JESUS and the significance in ‘awe’ of its meaning (then and now).  NOW is more essential that we take to heart more for we all are (or should be) giving praises to HIM!!!  Thanksgiving, Easter, and Christmas are intertwined into the package of GIVING and RECEIVING in the ‘traditional’ way as well as enhancing it all!

“Stuff” given and received are appreciated; however, as a ‘retired’ teacher of the little ones and still passionate about the little ones’ knowledge of life’, I want to re-share ‘what do you want your kids to really know about Christmas?

1. In our house, Christmas is about Jesus. That’s first. The rest follows. 2. The stuff goes away. Relationships do not.  3.  Always smile and at least thank the Bell Ringer at the store. Do not look away. Gather change beforehand to give.  4.  Take time to slow down and appreciate the little things. 5. Always say “thank you” to those working at the stores and look them in the eye and smile.  NOTE:  I have other ‘tidbits’ on this; check the newspaper from Nov. 2018.  Let’s get to the ‘heart; of this article and read some of our local area citizens reflect in their own words on what Christmas means to them and some of their most memorable Christmas moments.


1.“My name is NYLA FRANKLIN. I am in the 7th grade at Gadsden Middle School. My favorite Christmas memory was in year of 2020. Most of my immediate family came to my aunt’s house and we ate food and sweets on the night of Christmas Eve. We took family pictures in our matching pajamas and set out cookies and milk for Santa to have. Then we all went to bed while watching the movie, “ELF”. The morning of Christmas, all the children woke up smiling from ear to ear. Everyone was opening presents every direction you looked in. That Christmas was special and one of my favorite because it was the year of Covid. We were so excited to see our loved ones after a rough year of quarantine. Therefore, the Christmas year of 2020 and I’ll never forget it.”


2. IVA NELSON, City Clerk/City of Gadsden

“As I think about the upcoming Christmas season, many thoughts and feelings spring to my mind. First, I think of the reason that we celebrate Christmas_the gift of Jesus, and the gratitude I feel that God sent His only begotten Son to die for our sins. I feel immensely blessed to be made a part of God’s family and look forward to the time that I will inherit a home in Heaven. I have experienced many Christmas Eve candlelight services at my church services that were so touching and uplifting.

I also reflect on the joy of celebrating Christmas with my earthly family and I look forward to spending time with my mother, brother, son, daughter-in-law, and grandmother. My heart and mind are taken back to the time of my childhood as I witness my granddaughter’s excitement and anticipation of opening gifts from her ‘wish list.’

Precious memories of Christmas include dinners at my grandmother’s house with extended family on Christmas Eve, where there seemed to be an endless array of delicious food and her special ‘jam’ cake. As long as she was ale, my grandmother baked a cake for every household in our family. She also sewed outfits for me and my cousins, which always magically seemed to be a perfect fit.

Christmas morning at home was simple, uncomplicated, and special. As I became a wife and mother, I loved decorating and making preparations for my own family to enjoy still decorate a lot, and my son refers to my house as ‘winter wonderland.’

This Christmas, I pray that you will remember the reason for the season, that you will enjoy wonderful fellowship with family and friends, and that you will truly experience peace on earth.”



“One of the fondest Christmas memories of my Dad was when I was five years old. He took fruit, candy, and nuts to a family in the neighborhood. He said, “every child needs something for Christmas.” My Mom started burying presents early for me and my brother and would hide them around the house. One of the funniest Christmas/Summer memories I have was when we found them one year in July. Another year, we found presents while we were looking for Christmas decorations.

Through the years Christmas has meant many things. In my youngest years, it was about gifts and parties with my friends. As I grow older, Christmas means having fellowship with family and friends, sharing, and giving thanks for the grace and mercy. I have been blessed with from our Lord.”


4. Dr. MARY WALLACE, Dentist

“All of my Christmas memories revolve around family. I’m so very thankful for my biological family, as well as those precious individuals we have adopted into our family. May God bless all of you.  As a child, I remember that Christmas was a very special time that centered around church and family.  There were Christmas plays at school and church; those special two weeks out of school, and a time to be with my brothers, Mom, Dad, and my special friend Ginny Bell (as my Dad called her).  As a young child, it was a ‘get to bed early’ time for Santa Claus to come.  Mama would always say when we asked many questions, “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus!”  Sipping hot chocolate and sitting in front of a blazing fire from the Ashley stove was contentment!!!

When David and I married and had our two precious children, Christmas took on even more meaning. Seeing life through the eyes of a child gives us glimpses of Heaven.  The joy in their little faces when they woke up on Christmas morning gave us much happiness!  It became a tradition to sip on hot chocolate and watch Christmas movies-“HOME ALONE” was one.  We spent Christmas Eve at Maw Maw and Paw Paws; Christmas Day afternoon was with Mawmaw and Granddaddy.  On Christmas Eve, David would take the kids in the car to look for Santa!  Then they would come back and put cookies and milk out for Santa!  I remember one year when our son was very young-he had asked for an expensive train set. I said, “Well, honey, that’s expensive—maybe Santa Claus.”  We were in church one Sunday before Christmas when the contribution trays were being passed, he asked me, “who gets this money?”  I explained, “Honey, this money is for Jesus.”  Not missing a beat, he asked, “Do you think Jesus would share with Santa Claus?”  Of course, whispering is not in the agenda of a child. ( I could hear giggling all around us!)  David and I feel so blessed to be Papa and Mimi to eight grandchildren!  Thanksgiving is a tradition at Papa and Mimi’s house.  We visit the Falls to look at the beautiful Christmas lights, drive around to see light, and love to listen to Christmas carols.  Sipping hot chocolate is becoming a tradition also!  The faces of all of these precious children give us so much joy and they are so much fun!


5. Pastor James ‘Bo’ Aaron, Antioch-Goodsell UMC

~THE SOCKS of CHRISTMAS~  “The reason for this title is about my Aunt Geraldine, who was ‘giving and compassionate’. She had a ‘heart of giving’. It didn’t matter how you treated her…she still had for ‘forgiving’ in her.  Every Christmas when we all would gather at our house for Christmas dinner, she would always bring everyone a present I remember when I was small, she would bring the little ones a toy; but as we grew older, my  Aunt would give out socks–which was good because it was good for us to receive a gift.  From then on, every Christmas, we knew what we were going to receive from her..’SOCKS’. As I became older, my Aunt told me why socks; she mentioned that it’s not the size of the gift you receive, it’s how you receive the gift. She stated as you grow older, you will always need socks to keep your feet protected and dry.  So with that being said, I thought about Jesus in the manger. (did He have socks to keep his feet warm as we do with our newborn babies)?  As I look in Luke 2:7, it states that “Jesus was wrapped in swaddling clothes and the clothe were strips of cloth to ensure that His limbs would grow straight” for as it says in Ezekiel 16:2-4,…” not to swaddle a child would be a form of abuse”.  Also, the wrapping would aid the shepherd could in identifying Jesus.  I also wonder as Jesus and His disciples wore any covering for their feet as they journeyed over those three years or so while He was on this earth. Maybe they did have something but that’s not what least, it shouldn’t. The reason I say that is Jesus showed us how to love, to be compassionate,  to share with one another, to have a caring heart, and to have a forgiving spirit… plus the gift of Eternal Life.

If someone gives you socks for Christmas, just take the socks and don’t complain; someone can use them..pass them on. Jesus gave all of us a gift and He never said a mumbling word…so look what HE left us with…JOY, PEACE, LOVE…just some of the fruits of the Spirit.  And the greatest of these is LOVE; as Jesus stated in John 13:35, “By this, all men know that ye are my disciples if ye have love one to another..”

It’s not about the socks, it’s what you do with them; as Paul said in Romans 8:28, …” all things work together for good to them that love God, …to them who are called according to HIS purpose…not ‘our’ purpose, but GOD’s purpose.”  It’s not about the socks, it’s about Jesus!  WALK a MILE in someone’s shoes.”  Merry Christmas!


6. TONY REDDICK, Superintendent of Gadsden City Schools

“My fondest memories of Christmas come from youth, growing up in a very large family. Despite the many struggles throughout the year, my mother always made sure her nine children had everything they needed for Christmas and a few of the things they wanted. It was always a festive time despite the fact that we knew that things would be back to normal in just a few days. Those were the memories that have encouraged me to be a servant to mankind and to be the ultimate provider for my own family, as well as some close friends. While today, I know the ‘true’ meaning of Christmas, I wouldn’t give anything for my childhood experience. It has helped me to become a better husband, sibling and friend.”


7. Dr. KENNY E. SMITH’s staff
“One of my favorite childhood memories is sitting in front of the fireplace in my father’s big chair. The Christmas tree would be lit up and I would curl up with a book and sit there reading until the fire went out. ”

“My favorite memory is just of Christmas being such a special time of the year. The spirit of love that fills the sir is unlike any other time of the year. People seem to be kinder and more compassionate around the holiday season.”
8. Dr. PAULETTE LIPSCOMB, Retired Gadsden City School’s Teacher, Principal and
“My most memorable Christmas experience happened 68 years ago when I was 8 years old. My Dad, James/my cousin, and I went to Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church in Chicago, ILL to donate Christmas toys for the area’s foster children. I carried my doll, Rita with us because I wanted to show Santa the old version of my walking doll so he could bring me the new version of Rita. While we were standing in line for our Santa’s visit, I noticed this little girl staring at Rita. My dad asked, “would you let her hold Rita?” I grudgingly said, yes”, when I saw this little girl’s face light up and she squeezed Rita to her heart, I knew I couldn’t take her back. ‘THAT’ was my first experience with ‘sharing!!!’ I had been selfish all my life! Now, 68 years later, that lesson of unselfishness has endured!!”


9. REBECCA COLEY OLIVER ‘BECKY’, Retired Gadsden City Elementary School teacher

“Christmas brings back so many memories. Family gatherings, parties, church plays, and musicals were part of the joyous holiday. I remember as a child of 12, rejoicing the Christmas story as recorded in the Gospel of Luke.  This holiday also brings to mind all of the toys that were put together on Christmas Eve, just in time for our children to wake up and begin playing with their toys.  Also, I am reminded of a little girl (me) lying in front of a fireplace coloring in her huge Christmas coloring book. I was the youngest of six children. The siblings were 20, 17, 15, 12, and 10 years older than me. Two of the sisters were extremely mischievous and convinced me that Santa and his reindeers had flown over our house and I had missed seeing them. I cried and cried and they got in trouble for telling this tale.   As the years have passed, the true meaning of Christmas (Jesus birth), has grown more deeply in my life.



“I am 70 years old; born into wonderful parents that stayed together until the end. I also have two sisters and a brother. It was a magical time. I have referred to my life as the “Leave it to Beaver’s life quote.  Both grandparents, many aunts, and cousins (on my mother’s side) still get together. My dad’s family do talk to each other all year long. I love my God and the church. I am a member of Beta Sigma Phi for 49 years; both careers as an ‘OBGYN’ nurse practitioner and a videographer have been rewarding. I have worked for 50 years non-stop. I love my children, grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.”


“Christmas was never a holiday that occurred on just one day of the year, it was a way
of life in our home. The spirit of Christmas was available for anyone who attend the
year entered the doors of our home each and every day. Love, gratitude, and kindness
were given out like Christmas cookies and mulled cider to enjoy by all. Christmas was
never about the presents but all the time we spent together with friends and neighbors
making lots of homemade goodies for everyone we knew. Sitting at the table writing
Christmas cards to all our loved ones near and far was a time for my brother and I to
share stories of our school days and my dad’s latest inventions.
Life in our home was never easy as there was a lot of sickness over the years between
each of my parents but it never changed the spirit of Christmas that exuded from the
walls of our home. Even during those holidays, we spent in the hospital with my dad
over the years, we brought the holidays and Christmas spirit to whatever hall he was
placed on.
One of my greatest lessons learned from childhood is that anyone can share the spirit
of Christmas any day of the year and it is carried in your heart everywhere you go. May
we strive to share the Christmas spirit each and every day and not just this holiday

What are some of your Christmas memories?  Do you share them with the younger generation of your family?  Be sure to share the funniest, oddest, ‘secrets’ that you (can) share, and most of all, let this 2022 Christmas be the best, and most memorable of all.  My personal wish is to remember all of your family/friends who are having their Christmas in Heaven!!!!


“Christmas in heaven…what do they do?

They come down to earth to spend it with you

So save them a seat just one empty chair

You may not see them but they will be there!”


Brenda M. Jelks-Hutchinson

I’m just a nobody, trying to tell everybody
about somebody who can save anybody.

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