Why Christmas Time Is So Special to Me


Christmas was always a big deal in my house growing up. Our mom, the late Tracy Denise Graham, was a Christmas baby so she made sure we celebrated. I remember watching her favorite movie every year, It’s A Wonderful Life. I still watch that movie to this day. We would also listen to Christmas music in the house and the car. Her favorite Christmas songs were Let it Snow and Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire.

We would ride around to see Christmas lights at the park as well as on houses in the surrounding neighborhoods. There was this one house we would go see every year and every year their lights got better. My mom would also bake us cookies and we would have a big Christmas dinner. Although it was her birthday, it seemed more like she wanted to make good memories with us rather than celebrate herself. I remember her always being happy during that time of year. 

Fast forward to today. I try to make as many memories as I can with my children. A lot of the same ones my mother used to make with us. It gets hard because I struggle with the loss of my mother more during this time. I just wish she was here to make these memories with my children and I. But I try my best not to allow how I feel to affect that time with my children. 

I want my children to be able to talk about me the way I talk about my mom. As they get older it does get harder to find things for them to do. There are certain traditions we do that I still hold on to. Even if I have to make them go.

We visit Saluda Shoal Park every year to see their lights. They also take Christmas pictures with Prancing Pony Photography and Mark Bailey who offer free Christmas pictures with Santa for families of children with special needs. We’ve visited the zoo and saw their lights, which we plan to do again this year being that they’ve added a lot more lights since we’ve last went a few years ago. 

Being able to do things with my children that my mom once did for us during this time of year always helps me get through the holidays. I tell my children stories of the things we used to do with my mom. We still carry the tradition of watching all the Christmas movies on tv that I once watched as a child with my siblings, such as Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, Frosty the Snowman, A Charlie Brown Christmas, and many more. Doing that always bring me so much joy. I wish I could get together with my siblings one year with all of our children and do that.  

Growing up I was taught that Christmas isn’t about receiving gifts but the time we get to spend with each other. I’m truly thankful for all the memories I have that I get to share with my kids.

What memories do you enjoy sharing with your children?

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Marissa Evans
Marissa was born in Charleston, South Carolina on Sept, 27, 1986 to James Sweat and the late Tracy Graham. She is the youngest girl of six, two sisters and three brothers. She grew up in Holly Hill, and graduated from Holly Hill Roberts High. Marissa furthered her education at Midlands Technical College, receiving a certificate in Early Childhood Education in 2017 and an associate degree in Early Childhood Education in 2018. She has been married for seven years to her husband Terence Evans. Together they have three children (Jaylen, Jada and Ny’Asia Evans). Her oldest and only boy, Jaylen, has cerebral palsy, epilepsy, and autism. Marissa and her husband are also the founders of the movement #Dontstare which is to raise awareness to how rude staring can be.


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