Tawnya Melton Mueller
Battle Ground
Many years ago when my mom started a new Christmas Eve tradition, I don’t think she realized the forever gift she was giving to our family.
It was always tradition that once it was dark enough to turn on the red lights on the house, it was time to gather around the Christmas tree to open our gifts.
One year, my mom told my dad, brother, sister and I that she wanted to take a few minutes before we opened gifts to share her feelings.
She said she was thankful for all that she had been blessed with and told each of us how much she loved us and was proud she was to be our mother. Then she invited the rest of the family to share something if we wanted to.
Now every year before we open all the brightly wrapped presents, we take time to share what is in our hearts with our family.
Over the years, my cousin and her family have moved back, my siblings and I have married, babies have been born.
Our family has grown and so has the love! On Christmas Eve, as we sit in front of the tree, we each take our turn to reflect on the blessings and challenges of the year. We take the time to talk to each person and tell them how we feel about them, how proud we are, how thankful we are for them and share stories and memories of the year.
The words are honest and heartfelt. Our hearts are full. It is one of the few times that I see the men in our family shed tears.
With our busy lives, we don’t see each other a lot and we rarely take the time to say how much we love and care about each other. But on Christmas Eve, around the tree, we share something so incredibly precious.
The love that fills that living room on Christmas Eve is truly a gift. It’s a gift from God, a gift from my mother, a gift that I will always treasure and a gift that I hope you will share with your own family.

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