Quantcast

Cherished Holiday Memories

12/23/2016, 6:24 p.m.
The holidays for many represent a season of light during the darkest time of the year. Whether you spend this ...

The holidays for many represent a season of light during the darkest time of the year. Whether you spend this season celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah or Kwanzaa, the memories we create with family, friends, loved ones — and even strangers — stick with us for a lifetime.

The generous spirit of love, compassion and humility gives us hope for our collective future.

It is with that spirit that four Richmond area residents shared with the Free Press their most cherished holiday memories. We hope their reflections will bring joyful recollections of your own during this holiday.

Photos by Sandra Sellars/Richmond Free Press

Soundtrack of the holiday

The holidays for many represent a season of light during the darkest time of the year. Whether you spend this season celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah or Kwanzaa, the memories we create with family, friends, loved ones — and even strangers — stick with us for a lifetime.

Tasha Chambers, director, Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia:

There is something about Donny Hathaway’s song, “This Christmas,” that takes me back to a place when things were simple and easy. The intro of the vinyl version has a distinct crackling sound that fills my heart with sadness and joy. If you’ve followed my career since I’ve been at the museum, you probably have read about my grandfather, Christopher Chambers Sr. He was an important person in my life. My grandfather was a simple man. He didn’t own much. But he was a good man. He was a family man. His beloved record collection included hits such as The Temptations’ “Silent Night,” Marvin Gaye’s “I Want to Come Home for Christmas” and my favorite, Otis Redding’s “Merry Christmas Baby.” I couldn’t wait until December when he would dust off those records with his breath and fuss about not bumping the record player. Because of him, I got to appreciate the holidays accented with those soulful sounds as the soundtrack to a black folks’ Christmas. My grandfather would decorate our small house in Central Gardens in Henrico County with those huge color bulbs that you see in the movie, “A Christmas Story.” He would be beyond angry detangling those lights. But each year, I would brave his temperament and hang lights with him. Our little holiday house made him proud! His creative way of explaining to me that Santa had a key for those children who didn’t have a fireplace reaffirmed my belief. “Santa” would use that key and surprise me. An Easy Bake Oven and a Cabbage Patch Kids doll were some of my favorites. My grandfather is gone now — a long three years. But I still look forward to that moment each year when I hear “This Christmas.” When I do, I just smile and think about my real “Santa” named Granddaddy.

A lesson in giving

Nancy Rodrigues, state secretary of administration:

On a December morning when I was in elementary school in Newark, N.J., my sister, Linda, and I asked my Dad for money to buy Christmas presents. After all, that was our normal course of action.