Yavapai Gaming - August 2014

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Chino Valley Review | Chino Valley, Arizona

home : features : features August 19, 2014

12/24/2013 8:37:00 AM
Remembering Christmases past
Nicki DeHamer, 3, on Christmas Eve screaming with excitement with every gift she opens.Review/Diane DeHamer
Nicki DeHamer, 3, on Christmas Eve screaming with excitement with every gift she opens.
Review/Diane DeHamer
Courtesy PhotoSalina Sialega and her first-born daughter, Mali, celebrate Christmas morning when Mali was just 3 years old.
Courtesy Photo

Salina Sialega and her first-born daughter, Mali, celebrate Christmas morning when Mali was just 3 years old.

Diane DeHamer
Feature Writer

Most everyone has wonderful memories of Christmas from their childhood or as a parent with their own children.

Here are some favorite memories from the Chino Valley Review staff.

Cheryl Hartz, the Review's news editor, shared one of her favorites.

Christmas Eve after supper was when her family opened gifts after Santa had brought their gifts.

"My younger brother, Glenn, was still little enough that he believed, but my older brother and I were in on the secret.

On Christmas Eve while Glenn was taking a bath, we put his gift from Santa by the tree, which happened to be a rocking horse," Cheryl recalled.

"When we knew he was just about ready to come out of the bathroom, we rang sleigh bells and slammed the door and shouted, 'Good-bye, Santa, thank you.' Glenn came running out with his eyes all big and wide and said, 'Was Santa here?' Then he saw his horse and got all excited, put on his cowboy hat and gear, jumped on his horse and started rocking," she said, smiling.

"That was so fun. I don't even remember what I got that Christmas," said Cheryl. "But, that is one of my strongest, happiest memories."

Salina Sialega, our reporter, shares one of her favorite Christmas memories as a new parent in the 1980s.

"We were living in Escondido, Ca. at this time, our daughter, Mali, was three years old and this was going to be the first Christmas without our family around us," Salina said.

"Of course Mali had a great time opening all her gifts. But, my husband Ben suggested we go to the beach on a picnic, which made the day real special. I had baked some big chocolate chip cookies, so we packed a nice lunch and went to Oceanside beach, which of course was totally empty (being Christmas). It was just us and the seagulls," Salina said, smiling.

"Then the action started as Ben tossed a cookie to the seagulls. They were so entertaining, battling over the cookies on the beach and over the water. We were laughing so hard watching their antics," Salina said.

"Of course I prefer Christmas with all the family. But as a young mom, I saw for the first time that we were a family," she added.

"This is one of my favorite Christmas memories."

Ted Heitzman, our ad rep, tells about one of his best childhood Christmases.

"When I was 10 years old I came out on Christmas morning, looked under the tree and noticed that there weren't as many gifts as usual. I started to get worried," Ted said.

Ted remembered thinking how many more presents his brother was getting than he.

"My mom and dad passed out presents to me and my brother, Herb, but I was concerned because Herb was getting more presents than I was.

After the gifts were opened, my parents asked me to come outside, and lo and behold there was a new bright gold Schwinn bike all decked out with a red bow! Back then a Schwinn was the bomb!

It had a very loud bell on it which I really enjoyed ringing and driving the neighbors crazy," he said, grinning.

As for me, Diane DeHamer, one of my favorite Christmas seasons was in the early 1970s when my daughter, Nicki, was three years old.

Everything about Christmas simply thrilled her.

My mother and I took her to the mall to see Santa who just happened to be out to lunch. So as we waited for Santa to return, Nicki noticed him walking down the mall. She just broke away from us running toward him calling, 'Santa Claus, Santa Claus,' threw her arms around his legs hugging him. Then, a few days later on Christmas day, everything she opened caused her to scream in delight. It was so heartwarming to see how much she enjoyed everything, and it's one Christmas I'll never forget."

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